Social Impact Multipliers: Leadership development for Indian Social sector

A Research Study

The Indian development sector has witnessed unprecedented evolution and growth in the last decade. While people have always been at the centre of this growth, nurturing of organisational talent and leadership development continue to remain a significant need across the sector. Investing in nurturing exceptional leaders for the sector is critical to drive transformative impact. However, there is not much evidence captured around leadership needs in the social sector, success measures or challenges in the Indian context. The Bridgespan Report (2017) was probably the first attempt towards studying leadership development among Indian SPOs. Taking this thought further, the Indian School of Development Management (ISDM) partnered with Sattva Consulting to carry out a rigorous qualitative empirical study to gather a deep understanding of the trends and current experiences of leaders in India’s social purpose organisations.

This report brings together perspectives on Leadership Development from senior leaders and middle management of Social Purpose Organisations (SPOs), CEOs of SPOs, funders and ‘enabling organisations' in the ecosystem. The report provides an analysis of competencies, skills, and knowledge areas that leaders deem important and those they actively seek to develop in order to lead effectively for the present and future. The study dives into the current landscape of experiences and challenges SPOs face in designing and implementing a learning culture in their organisation, investment and resources for leadership development, and triangulates the study findings at the ecosystem level through detailed analysis of perspectives from leaders, funders and ‘enabling organisations’. The report brings together these insights to provide recommendations for funders, leaders of SPOs and key stakeholders in the social sector space on leadership development for transformative impact.

We hope this report serves as an actionable guide to understanding leadership practice in India’s social sector and helps make informed decisions on areas of investment, design, support and resources required to nurture reflective development professionals and social impact leaders in the country.


Pandey, A. & Diwakar, S. (Eds.). (2018). Social Impact Multipliers: Leadership Development for Indian Social Sector. Noida. ISDM and Sattva.


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