Successful Transitions for Foundations and Networks

The key to nonprofit leadership continuity

Planning for leadership change well in advance of the need would be an ideal situation for all nonprofit organizations. For many, though, succession planning never rises to the top of the priority list. They are unsure how to get started and worried about even discussing the topic.

The Successful Transitions cohort addresses this challenge by giving organizations the support and motivation they need to complete a comprehensive succession plan that fits their situation.

The focus of the program is on leadership continuity across the entire organization, not just preparing for an executive director transition. The program starts with an emphasis on making sure agencies are ready for an emergency, which is a core part of any succession plan. From there, organizations learn about how to build leadership continuity for the long term through leadership development planning, including expanding the diversity of their staff and board. In addition, topics such as navigating an executive transition and helping an executive director decide when to leave are also covered.

Program Structure

Successful Transitions is an interactive four-month program. The executive director and board chair attend a series of dynamic webinars to discuss the core issues around succession planning with a small group of their peers. In addition, I provide individualized coaching sessions for each organization to help them address their particular situations. Finally, a customized training session for the entire board of directors ensures that everyone is on the same page around succession planning.

All of the sessions are offered virtually or in-person using techniques that keep the attendees engaged. Cohorts of 6-8 organizations allow for maximum sharing and discussion within the group sessions. Foundations, state-wide, and national organizations can schedule cohorts for just their organizations. This allows for a strong connection among agencies that serve a similar mission or geographic area.

(Organizations can register individually as well.)

Lynne Lange, executive director at the Nebraska Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence, was a recent Successful Transitions participant. She shared, “the Successful Transitions program is an opportunity that every organization should embrace. It allows for planning that embraces our ever-changing times, including Executive Director transitions; shift in staff member roles, responsibilities and growth; and solidifying a path for the Board of Directors to be mindful regarding their tasks and future leadership plans.”

Cost for the full cohort varies based on a number of factors including customizations, whether it is virtual or in-person, and how many organizations participate. Pricing ranges from $8,000 to $12,000 per cohort. More information and testimonials are available here.


Ingrid Kirst is a nonprofit leadership consultant with over 20 years of experience in the nonprofit sector. After transitioning out of her executive director position, Ingrid began consulting with nonprofit organizations. Her focus has been on working with boards and executive directors, with an emphasis on succession planning. Ingrid is a Certified Succession Planner through Third Sector Company and has developed her expertise by working with many organizations on their succession plans.

Please contact me at or 402-730-2532 to discuss how can you set up a cohort for your organizations. I am happy to provide more information and references for the program.