Succession Planning: Preparing for Smooth Transitions

March 6, 2018

Organizations rarely have playbooks for how employees execute their jobs. The recipe for success is mixed: one part job description, one part best practices, one part professional development, and one part personality. In an ideal world, every nonprofit position would have an overlap between predecessor and successor. Yet, that rarely happens. 

The Standards for Excellence®: An Ethics and Accountability Code for the Nonprofit Sector states: The board, in partnership with the executive, should engage in coordinated succession planning and leadership development to ensure a thorough process for recruiting and developing

board, executive, staff, and volunteer leaders. 

Succession planning is an intentional, prepared plan that answers two questions:

  • Who is prepared to take over the position of Chief Executive in case of an emergency?
  • What are the specific actions required when a future departure is on the horizon?

    The first tip is to organize a board committee to begin the process of answering these questions in an effort to increase clarity regarding leadership transition. 

    Your membership with Maryland Nonprofits can help your board be ready for a planned or unplanned departure of the Chief Executive by reviewing the Standards for Excellence Succession Planning Education Packet (login to the Member Portal and use the search bar) and calling Wendy Wolff at 443-438-2341. We can provide a highly qualified consultant to develop your organization’s personalized succession plan.