Executive Transitions and Succession Planning…Oh, My!

One board member of one of the larger nonprofits said that his organization had had 3 executive transitions in the last 10 years and expected more in the next couple. A foundation board member who was part of the discussion pointed out that when they see this kind of transition in a nonprofit that his foundation doesn’t want to fund that organization. In addition, they directly ask if the nonprofit has a succession plan. And if they don’t? That is a thumbs down for giving them a grant. So, in addition to being bad board oversight and negligent management, not having an executive transition and succession plan may be costing the nonprofit important funding dollars.

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The Importance of Management

Better management contributes to improved fundraising and more dollars being raised, which is my area of expertise. I see many executive directors who are so bogged down in the basic tasks of running their nonprofit organizations that they don’t have time to fundraise. For example, one director was always fixing the computers in his organization. If he had delegated this task to someone else, and provided training for them, it would have freed up his time to visit donors who could give $1,000 or more. Just the first hour he spent in soliciting a gift would have paid for the training for someone else to fix the computers. Another example is the director who trains his volunteers in delivering groceries to low-income families.

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