Finding Peer Connections as a Nonprofit Leader with Ellen Kehl

Do you ever feel alone as a nonprofit leader? You may feel like you don’t have anyone to talk to within your organization about the challenges you’re facing. Finding peer connections can sometimes feel impossible for nonprofit leaders. In today’s episode, I chat with Ellen Kehl about how she’s helping to foster connections within the nonprofit leadership community to help leaders overcome the many obstacles they’re experiencing. 

We talk about the different challenges nonprofit leaders are facing in the post-COVID world like staffing issues, a remote workforce, different funding priorities, and why it’s so important for them to find a sense of peer connection with their fellow nonprofit leaders. We also discuss different strategies thriving nonprofits use to stay ahead of these challenges. 

Ellen shares some of her favorite resources that support nonprofit leaders, especially those that create peer connections. Plus, we chat about common characteristics of thriving nonprofits and how leaders can start applying strategies like being more tolerant of risk in their organizations. This episode is full of practical tips you can start implementing today. 


About Ellen

Ellen Kehl is the Associate Director with The Nonprofit Partnership. Ellen has her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh and her Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Gannon University. She began with The Nonprofit Partnership as a student intern in January 2015 and secured full-time employment after receiving her MPA in June 2016.

Ellen enjoys acting as the bridge between The Nonprofit Partnership and its member organizations. She’s responsible for the organization’s brand management, member relations, programming, partnerships, and more.

Read the podcast transcript here.


Episode Summary

In today’s episode, you’ll learn

•The mission of The Nonprofit Partnership (5:00)

•The needs and challenges nonprofit organizations are facing right now (7:15)

•Why a sense of connection is so important for nonprofit leaders (9:55)

•Strategies nonprofits are using to keep up with constant changes (13:40)

•Resources to support nonprofit leaders (15:55)

•Characteristics of thriving nonprofits (22:20)

•Why risk tolerance is an important part of being a nonprofit leader (29:30)



“I like to think we’re the Google for nonprofits.”

“I think about my time in the nonprofit sector and I felt like I was all by myself. I didn’t have anybody. I didn’t have any peers that I could go to.”

“The way that these groups are keeping up is through different things, like embracing technology.”

“I think just being a human and being a good human, those have been the best qualities.”



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