Successful Transitions

Seamless Succession: Mastering Nonprofit Leadership Continuity

Unlock the secret to uninterrupted nonprofit leadership and secure a thriving future for your organization!

In the dynamic world of nonprofits, nurturing the next generation of visionary leaders is a mission-critical task. Yet, all too often, it’s left to chance, leaving organizations vulnerable to crises when a key leader departs. We understand that the daily demands of nonprofit work can be overwhelming, but here’s the game-changer: you don’t have to leave your leadership continuity to fate.

Whether you’re planning to pass the torch in a few years or envision a lifelong commitment, the time to craft a robust succession plan is now. By doing so, you not only safeguard your own legacy but also empower your organization to flourish well into the future.

Introducing the Successful Transitions Program: Your Path to Uninterrupted Leadership

Customized Succession Planning – Tailored for Your Organization

Our program merges nationally recognized best practices with personalized coaching, offering your organization the freedom to design a plan tailored precisely to your needs. We’re not just helping you plan; we’re helping you thrive.

We offer customized succession planning programs designed exclusively for your organization. In this program, Ingrid will work closely with a select group of your nonprofit’s leaders to pinpoint and address the areas most critical to your organization’s success.

  • Three to four engaging and interactive virtual group sessions with the executive director and succession planning committee. These will be tailored to you and include time to ask questions to ensure you are putting together the plan you need.
  • A comprehensive leadership continuity checklist, featuring ready-to-use templates for succession planning, crisis communication strategies, executive transition blueprints, and much more.
  • A customized training session curated specifically for your full board of directors, empowering them to champion the cause of leadership continuity.

Are You Ready to Secure Your Nonprofit’s Tomorrow? Enroll in the Next Successful Transitions Program Today!

The path to nonprofit leadership excellence starts here. Don’t leave your organization’s future to chance; take the reins and join us for the Successful Transitions Program. Together, we’ll craft a legacy that endures and thrives.

Secure Your Nonprofit's Future: Enroll in Successful Transitions Today!

Successful Transitions – Additional Options

Are you a Lincoln, Nebraska-based organization? Details on the Lincoln-specific course.

Information for foundations, state-wide, and nationwide organizations wanting to set up their own cohort.

Program Overview

Testimonials from Successful Transitions in 2020:

“Our organization had never had a succession plan in place.  For me, as an incoming Board President, this course has made it apparent how vitally important a plan is. Ingrid Kirst provided excellent materials that gave overviews of the process on both local and national levels. Doing this work in a cohort with other nonprofits has the added value of sharing ideas with the other organizations’ leaders and seeing how something that works for their culture might be applicable to your own.”  — Rob McMaster, Abendmusik at First Plymouth Board Member

“Participating in the Successful Transitions program for the past few months has been a rewarding experience. It is well worth the time to not only attend the sessions and gain insight into other organization’s transition plans but receiving so much information on how to begin/continue with staff leadership transition plans was really helpful” — Karen Wobig, Lancaster County Extension

Ingrid Kirst is a seasoned nonprofit leadership consultant with over 25 years of experience in the nonprofit sector. After transitioning out of her own executive director position at a thriving nonprofit, Ingrid began consulting with nonprofit organizations. Her primary focus centers on cultivating the synergy between boards and executive directors, with a special emphasis on the intricate art of succession planning. Ingrid’s dedication to her craft led her to become a Certified Succession Planner through Third Sector Company.

In 2020, Ingrid adapted her teaching to the virtual environment and developed a program that was just as effective as in-person classes. This innovative approach ensured that organizations could continue to thrive, even in challenging times. With Ingrid by your side, you’re not just gaining a consultant; you’re securing a trusted partner in shaping a robust future for your organization. Her guidance has already benefited three dynamic cohorts and multiple individual organizations, totaling over 20 nonprofits that have successfully embarked on the journey to excellence.

The virtual format got rave reviews including this one: “I have used Zoom for years, but never got “fancy”. I was impressed with your planful use of time and activities. Good use of visuals, information sharing (succinct) and discussion Qs. Small group and large group invites to Q/A were timely and sincere and welcomed. Easy to participate and stay engaged. Nice job.”

Course Content

Succession planning isn’t just about who the next ED will be. Successful Transitions covers much more:

Preparing Your Organization
A successful transition starts with a strong organization in all areas. We will discuss how to build the capacity of staff and board to lead at all levels, and the parts of a full succession plan including a succession policy, leadership development plan, and communication plan.

Leading the Organization into the Future
After preparing the organization, the board should prepare for an actual change in leadership, even if it is years away. All organizations need a plan for an emergency transition but this takes it to the next step. We will discuss best practices for a transition of the executive director from beginning to end, including how to find a diverse candidate pool. More importantly, we will discuss how to grow leadership at all levels.

Preparing Yourself 
It is challenging to decide to leave your position as an executive director after many years of hard work. We will focus on how to make that decision and how to know when the right time is, as well as what you are going to do after leaving your position. In addition to discussing how to prepare yourself for this transition mentally, we will discuss what you need to put into place to make it possible.

The cost for Successful Transitions starts at just $1795 per organization. (Funders love to cover the cost as a part of building capacity for your organization-ask me for details.)

The program includes group learning sessions with the executive director and board succession committee, plenty of time to get your questions answered, and an overview of succession planning for your full board.

Register for Successful Transitions

Target Audience

Which organizations will benefit most from Successful Transitions? Two groups have found this to be helpful for them. The first is organizations with long-time executive directors who are planning to retire in the next two to four years. Successful Transitions provides a way to organize all the work that needs to be done to carry out a transfer to a new executive director without the time pressure of doing it at the last minute.

The second group is those organizations with an executive director who wants to proactively plan for the future. They recognize that leadership continuity planning will benefit them now, and make for a more seamless transfer later. They may have had a bumpy transition when they came into the position or they have heard about transitions that didn’t go well at other organizations.

Which organizations shouldn’t participate? Organizations that are currently going through the strategic planning process or a large capital campaign likely won’t have the bandwidth for this program. Succession planning is a good complement to strategic planning so it could be done shortly before or after that process.

More Testimonials

“The succession planning seminar with Ingrid Kirst was productive, successful, and informative. Across each of the sessions, Ingrid’s facilitation style kept everyone engaged and supported. Ancillary reading/reference materials were always provided and Ingrid ensured every unique learning style was considered. In my role as executive director of Abendmusik at First-Plymouth, there’s no way I could have developed a succession plan alone that would have been sustainable and impacting.” — Trey Lusk, Abendmusik at First Plymouth Executive Director

Melissa Filipi, executive director for Community Services Fund, has no plans to leave her organization but saw succession planning as important. She said, “While we are not facing a transition in the foreseeable future, I felt that having a solid plan in place that captured best practices and common steps would be valuable for Community Services Fund. I want to ensure that when I leave, we have set a solid framework for a smooth transition and future success. We approached this as more than a plan for the Executive Director’s departure by incorporating sustainability and strategic planning into the discussions. Any transition whether staff or board will involve clear discussions about the skills and attributes needed to move CSF’s strategic plan forward.”

“The Successful Transitions program was an exceptionally valuable experience that helped Dimensions Foundation begin thoughtful planning toward a future transition for a long-time executive director. As we learned, it’s so helpful to begin this process years in advance of the actual transition. Ingrid Kirst is an excellent facilitator who ran the program well and shared a wealth of valuable resources. We very much appreciated the opportunity.”  –  Nancy Rosenow, Executive Director at Dimensions Educational Resource Foundation

Building Nonprofit Resilience: Enroll in Successful Transitions Today