Daring to Lead 2011 Research Methodology

National Survey

CompassPoint and the Meyer Foundation developed and tested an electronic survey containing 69 questions.  Eleven partner organizations distributed the survey electronically during the fall of 2010 to their constituents using email and website placement. We chose partner organizations that fund and support community-based nonprofits and that share with us an interest in nonprofit executive leadership. As such, this is a sample of convenience and as a result does not include as many very small organizations as the IRS master file; and hospitals, universities, and large national organizations are not represented in the sample. For the most part, our interest was not in exploring regional differences but in achieving a national sample with representation from key regions of the country.

The survey yielded a sample of 3,067 responses from executive directors. The data were collected and analyzed by CompassPoint in San Francisco, California making this the largest national study of executive directors in the United States.


Focus Groups

CompassPoint also conducted five focus groups as part of this research.  In total, 70 executive directors from the San Francisco Bay Area and Washington D.C. participated in a Daring to Lead focus group in the Winter of 2011. Their responses are critical to telling the full story of the data collected by survey and they are quoted throughout the reports. See the list of participating nonprofit organizations.


About the Sample

For information about the sample including executive director demographics and a profile of their organizations, see Executive Director Demographics and Sample Organizations.