First Slide

Put your people first

to improve your impact.

Social change organizations make the most of limited resources, but often overlook developing the talent they already have. This book gives readers a plan for finding and nurturing their internal talent to reduce turnover and improve organizational efficiency. Buy your copy now!

What’s Inside

Organizational Learning Assessment

Assess your organization's learning culture and capacity to create and administer a professional development program.

Core Social Change Competencies

Developed through extensive research and tested with both nonprofit and foundation professionals, these competencies set the foundation for the skills your team needs.

Individual Professional Development Assessment

Provides your employees and volunteers with a list of the essential duties needed for their roles, and allows them to rate their proficiency level in each role and for each social change competencies.

Talent Mapping

Tools for assessing the competencies needed to achieve your strategic goals, create effective job descriptions, and align your staff and volunteers with the right roles.

Learning Styles Assessment

A questionnaire for employees and volunteers to assess their learning styles and learning format preferences.

Organizational and Individual Goal Setting

Set organizational and individual goals and objectives based on results from the assessments and talent mapping.

Tools for Implementation

Ideas for implementing on-the-job learning, mentoring and peer-to-peer opportunities, and integrating learning from training in your day-to-day work. Included are sample timelines and budgets for developing your Platform.

Return on Investment and Evaluation

Frameworks for determining your return on investment for implementing the Talent Development Platform, as well as assessments for evaluating progress and assessing individual performance.

Chapter Overviews

Chapter 1, Why Talent Development? provides a foundation of what talent and professional development are and a snapshot of the social change sector today. In this chapter we walk through the Talent Development Platform extensively and provide you with the information you need to set a baseline for the return on investment for talent. Subsequent chapters provide tools and frameworks for developing your own Talent Development Platform.

Chapter 2

The Organizational Learning Assessment guides your organization through determining whether you are ready to establish your own Talent Development Platform and assessing your organizational capacity to create and administer a professional development program. Staff and volunteers will take the Organizational Learning Assessment to provide a readiness score for implementing the Platform and a view of the organization’s learning culture.

Chapter 3

Social Change Competencies summarizes the key social change competencies established by the authors. The competencies were tested through a national professional development survey, organizations piloting the Talent Development Platform, and interviews with experts and practitioners in the social change sector.

Chapter 4

Creating Job Descriptions examines the main components of job descriptions and the process of creating and revising them so that staff and volunteers understand their organizational roles. The chapter also provides sample job responsibilities based on social change competencies.

Chapter 5

Mapping Competencies and Proficiency Levels to Job Descriptions explains how social change organizations can create and then map job descriptions to proficiency levels within each of the ten competencies and organizational sub-competencies.

Chapter 6

The Individual Professional Development Assessment describes a tool that assesses employee and volunteer professional development needs based on the social change competencies. The questionnaire provides employees and volunteers with a list of competencies that are essential behaviors and duties within their jobs. Employees and volunteers then rate their proficiency level in each competency.

Chapter 7

The Learning Styles Assessment provides a questionnaire for employees and volunteers to assess learning styles and learning format preferences. The authors developed the questionnaire based on Riechmann and Grasha’s (1974) learning styles assessment and general classroom preferences of collaborative, participant, independent, competitive, avoidant, and dependent learners.

Chapter 8

Developing Organizational Goals and Setting Objectives, guides organizations through creating organizational professional development goals. The professional development goals should be connected to the organization’s strategic plan, annual plan, individual job descriptions, and competency mapping. Also, this chapter guides you through the process of identifying your professional development objectives through on-the-job learning, mentors, and training. The objectives connect to the professional development needs, learning styles, and goals of the employees and the organization.

Chapter 9

Setting Individual Goals and Objectives guides organizations through setting goals and objectives for their employees and volunteers. The chapter provides a process for connecting goals and objectives to performance assessment and developing a process for assessing employee and volunteer progress toward their goals.

Chapter 10

Implementing the Plan discusses how your organization can implement the Talent Development Platform. There are sample budgets and timelines as well as strategies to overcome barriers of implementation.

Chapter 11

Organizational Evaluation and Performance Assessment explains how to use the Individual Professional Development Assessment to evaluate employee performance. Employees and managers work together to set objectives for further years based on the employees’ and volunteers’ performance. The chapter also explains how you can develop processes to evaluate professional development exercises and delivery method

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Messages from readers

Robert Egger, president, L.A. Kitchen

Robert Egger, president, L.A. Kitchen

For decades, work in our sector was often viewed as "a calling". That is now giving way the notion that ours is a critical profession, with a deep well of talent that needs to be nurtured, guided and strengthened. Carpenter and Qualls offer a wonderful blueprint for merging peoples innate desire to be part of the solution, with concrete ideas about how to build a rock solid team.

Laura Gassner Otting, president, Nonprofit Professionals Advisory Group

Laura Gassner Otting, president, Nonprofit Professionals Advisory Group

Staff turnover costs nonprofits and their leaders precious time, energy, and resources. This book provides not just the inspiration or justification, but also the concrete plan — laid our in clear steps — for leaders to retain and develop their staff.

Beth Kanter, author, blogger, and master trainer at

Beth Kanter, author, blogger, and master trainer at

This book is a must read for everyone in the nonprofit sector who is concerned about developing the next generation of leaders who can tackle some the world's most difficult social change issues. As long time leaders in the field look towards retirement and Millennials working in nonprofits come of age, this book provides strategic and practical information about nonprofits can ensure that their talent pipeline is full.

Michael Watson, former senior vp human resources, Girl Scouts USA

Michael Watson, former senior vp human resources, Girl Scouts USA

In their book, Heather Carpenter and Tera Qualls address the importance of developing nonprofit employees, who are on the front lines of dealing with record levels of need in society. By following their guidance, nonprofits will be able to better motivate and retain their most critical resource: people. Motivated and engaged nonprofit employees will provide better service, develop more creative solutions and help society meet the needs of the most vulnerable.

Supplemental Materials

The Talent Development Platform includes supplemental guides, including a directory of Third-Party Professional Development Options, Talent Investing: Raising and Granting Funds to Develop Social Change Leadership (written by Rusty Stahl, founder of the Talent Philanthropy Initiative), and A Practical Guide on Intercultural Competence for Nonprofit Managers (written by Alexis S. Terry). Readers will also receive access to free download worksheets and assessments found in the book.

About the Authors


Heather L. Carpenter

Dr. Heather Carpenter is Assistant Professor in the School of Public, Nonprofit, and Health Administration at Grand Valley State University. She is an experienced and highly networked nonprofit manager, researcher, trainer and blogger. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from San Diego State University with a certificate in nonprofit management from the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance, her Master’s in Nonprofit Administration from North Park University (Chicago, Illinois) and her Ph.D. in Leadership with a specialization in Nonprofit Leadership and Management from the University of San Diego. Previously, Heather was a nonprofit manager for ten years in California and Illinois. Find out more about Heather at


Tera Wozniak Qualls

Tera Wozniak Qualls, M.P.A. is founder of Momentum, a nonprofit consulting firm focusing on plan and program implementation, and talent development. Most recently Tera served as the Director of Communications and Advancement for the College of Community and Public Service at Grand Valley State University and Communications Manager for the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University, where she implemented a variety of social media and brand management strategies for the organization. Tera serves as an adjunct professor of nonprofit administration in the School of Public, Nonprofit and Health Administration at Grand Valley, where she teaches introduction to nonprofits and volunteerism for undergraduate students. Find out more about Tera at

Buy The Talent Development Platform

The Talent Development Platform is available in both paperback and e-book directly from Wiley or on all purchases come with downloadable premium content and scoring sheets for each of the assessments.



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