It’s a fact of life: people leave their jobs. But times of transition shouldn’t mean a gap in leadership for organizations, or the end of a contribution to the nonprofit sector for individuals.
There are three primary types of succession/transition planning that can benefit nonprofits: 1) preparing talented staff to assume leadership roles as part of an organization’s overall strategic vision, 2) filling leadership roles in the face of an emergency departure by an exisiting leader, and 3) preparing for a leadership transition when a current leader has announced his or her intention to step down in the next year or two.
Many opportunities exist for investing in succession and transition via support for consultants or coaches to help individual nonprofits prepare new leaders and weather leadership changes. However, funders might also develop or support trainings for multiple nonprofit board or staff leaders to help them think about and plan for transition.
Read the case study: Crisis Averted: Supporting Leadership Transitions.
View links and resources.
Reengagement practices involve programs to reengage mid-life or retirement-age nonprofit leaders, either into an “encore career” or into critical roles to support nonprofit organizations and the sector more broadly. This is, perhaps, the least explored component of the nonprofit leadership pipeline, although research about reengaging nonprofit leaders is currently being conducted by the Building Movement Project, Civic Ventures and Clohesy Consulting.
While there are many individuals who have chosen their own paths for reengagement after temporarily leaving the sector, formal programs to encourage and support reengagement efforts are few and far between. Creating new programs that reengage nonprofit leaders is an area with huge potential for growth in terms of human capital for the nonprofit sector, one in which funders could take the lead.