In this video, I cover all of the basics of succession planning. It’s an important tool for long term sustainability for nonprofit organizations. Contact me and I’ll be happy to help you develop your own organization’s succession plan/
Change is Hard! How to Make It Easier for Everyone
Being an interim executive director is a challenging role, and one that not many people have the training and experience to complete successfully. I have had two interim director roles, but I knew I had much more to learn. In late January, 2019, I attended the Interim Executives Academy developed by the Third Sector Company.
The training gave me a solid foundation to use to grow my skills as an interim. It was also helpful to meet other interim directors and talk about our challenges and our successes.
There were three fundamental aspects that I learned during the training:
Starting from scratch with a new nonprofit organization is your chance to do it right. Doing things correctly from the beginning will save you a ton of headaches down the road. On the other hand, if this seems overwhelming, you might want to reconsider starting an organization. A nonprofit has a lot of responsibilities beyond just helping people.
As an executive director, your departure brings about a huge change for an organization. It is challenging to know when it is time to leave, both for yourself, and for the sake of the organization. How do you decide when it is time to go?
As an executive director, I had a board that I enjoyed working with, but there were friction points. I now realize that the answer to these was simple, I needed a contract.
The truth is that boards aren’t great employers. The board-ED relationship is always a somewhat awkward one. An ED has 9 or 12 or 15 bosses, who are technically supposed to act together, but in reality they don’t always manage to do that. Plus the board composition changes regularly, so the ED’s relationship with them changes as well.
Whether you’ve been awarded a federal grant, or are considering whether you’re ready for one, there is a lot to do. I have managed many federal grants, and found they have a lot of similarities, no matter which department they are from. Here are some important tips on how to manage the funds correctly.
All nonprofit organizations need to think about succession planning. Anything can happen. The current leader’s spouse can get a job offer in another state. Their elderly parent can suddenly need around-the-clock care. The board finds out about an incident outside work, forcing the resignation of the current leader. Sometimes, though, it is much less drastic. Maybe the current leader decides to take a vacation and realizes how much they need to record and delegate before they go.
In any of these situations, a plan provides guidance to the board and staff on how to keep the organization running smoothly. In addition, the plan helps the organization focus on its mission long-term by encouraging open and honest conversations about the future of the organization.
After three months of interim executive director work, I have learned a lot, been surprised by a few things, and generally enjoyed the work and felt like I was contributing. Below are the details of both positions.
Starting a nonprofit organization sounds like fun, but the reality is that it takes quite a bit of work. There are legitimate reasons to start a new organization, but your very first step should be extensive research to make sure the need isn’t being filled already by someone with more experience. All too often, I hear about someone starting an organization to help a village in Africa, or to raise money to fight a disease, and I wonder if the time and money could be better spent by joining efforts with an existing group.