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If your nonprofit is serious about long-term sustainability, succession planning needs to be part of the overall plan for the organization. The team has poured their hearts and souls into setting goals, developing strategies, and recruiting staff and volunteers, only to have all that work potentially go to waste when a leader leaves the organization. Disruption happens and the more prepared the organization is for change, the better for long-term success.
Write it down:
BoardSource reports that only 27 percent of all organizations have a written executive succession plan. That means nearly three quarters do not. In the event the executive director leaves, there will be a transition time to not only figure out an interim leader but a process to identify a new one. Without a written plan, assumptions may be made that aren’t aligned with the overall vision and resources spent to start a process that should have already been happening.
If there is not written succession plan, consider the following:
The more that is communicated and documented, the better for the organization moving forward.
Identify opportunities for change.
As you’re developing a succession plan, or working through a transition, ask the team, including leaders, Board of Directors, and volunteers, for their feedback.
Effective leaders understand not only how to lead but how to do it effectively. Succession planning for nonprofit organizations is vital to the people and communities being served. Taking time to find the right candidate will sustain the mission for the long-term, even if there are growing pains in the interim.
Jarrett started The Rayvan Group in 2009 and brings more than 15 years’ experience with international, national and local organizations, including Girls Golf of Phoenix, Habitat for Humanity, the Paraiso Project and St. Mary's Food Bank. She has successfully managed development and communications functions for more than 10 campaigns with a combined goal totaling $6 million. She is passionate about creating community, empowering others to see and exceed their full potential, and crafting compelling stories in support of mission-driven organizations. Jarrett holds an MBA in business from the University of Phoenix and Certificate of Grant Writing from The Grantsmanship Center Institute. Awards include 40 Under 40, AZ Central Who's Next Nominee, Greater Phoenix Athena Nominee, AmAZing Women of Arizona recipient and the Global Women's Summit Leadership Award.