Succession Planning

Nonprofit organizations have all sorts of challenges to address as they move through their life cycle. Some are more urgent than others, and those usually get the lion’s share of the attention of the board and management. But organizations do themselves a disservice if they neglect to address succession planning.

Often the presence of a strong founder can inhibit the organization’s willingness or ability to effectively plan for succession. Dealing with this situation requires open discussion and planning in order to transition to a mature organization without damage to the nonprofit and its stakeholders.

Organizations looking to the future will examine their boards and management to see where gaps in talent lie, both currently and in the future. Is there a pool of available talent to fill in the gaps? What is the organization doing to attract that talent, both in the board room and in the office? What strategies might the organization employ in the future and what human capital will be necessary to achieve them?

Fortunately, there is a strong desire among many young people to “do good” and this is often reflected in the choices they make regarding careers and community engagement. Strong nonprofits with a view to the future are creating and communicating strong visions that engage and attract people to help them weather the inevitable turnover of staff and board and lead them into the next phase of their life cycle.

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