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Nonprofit Series — The Importance of Succession Planning for Your Nonprofit Organization

By Eastern Insurance, Aug. 21, 2016
Nonprofit Series — The Importance of Succession Planning for Your Nonprofit Organization

Nonprofit Series — The Importance of Succession Planning for Your Nonprofit Organization

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Your nonprofit organization may be dependent on a team of volunteers on the Board and on the staff to run its operations. Even if a team member commits to long-term service, things happen in life that may cause a disruption to their commitment. Your nonprofit should be prepared for unexpected changes, such as the resignation of a key Board member or a dedicated staff member.

To preserve the organization in this event, your team should engage in succession planning. This is the process by which you determine specific critical roles within your nonprofit, identify and assess possible successors for these roles, and provide these successors with the necessary skills and training for future opportunities.

By creating a careful plan of succession, your nonprofit organization can make sure the least amount of disruption occurs in the event that a key board member or staff member leaves.

Needs for Succession Planning

Nonprofit organizations are similar to for-profit organizations because Board members or staff members can unexpectedly leave, move to a different position, or fail to fulfill their role. 

Recruitment and training of top talent can be difficult and time-consuming, particularly when trying to fill a vital position that was suddenly vacated. It is generally more effective to recruit from within to fill these roles, and succession planning can make this process more efficient.

Succession Planning Process

The following activities are typically part of the succession planning process:

  • Determine the roles and skills critical to your organization’s growth.
  • Guarantee that the Board and staff will manage succession transition smoothly.
  • Identify key Board or staff members who could fill other roles in the event of a vacancy and ensure they are highly engaged and satisfied with their roles and the organization itself.
  • Create a timeline for leadership successions that are planned.
  • Cross train staff members on various roles to prepare them for a possible unexpected role shift.
  • Identify and understand what team members filling those positions will need to effectively make the transition.
  • Support newly-placed staff members through a clear explanation of responsibilities, training, mentoring, and coaching.
  • Review, evaluate, and improve the succession planning process as role filling takes place.

Losing a key leader or staff member can be a big burden if you are not prepared. Succession planning can help ensure minimal interruption so that your nonprofit can focus on making a difference rather than disruptions. For more information on recruitment and retention strategies, please contact us at 800-333-7234.  

Provided by Eastern Insurance Group LLC | This HR Insight is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel or an insurance professional for appropriate advice. | © 2008, 2013 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.


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