Since 2013, the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta has been on a learning journey about the relationship between succession planning and long term sustainability in nonprofit organizations. As a sector, we have been anticipating a wave of executive transitions for 15 years. Executives wrestle with a number of personal and organizational readiness questions – as well as environmental factors from the economy – in determining when the successful handoff to a new leader can happen. Though slowed by the recession, projected rates of executive turnover remain high, and research shows many boards of directors are under-prepared to select and support new leaders. These combined factors have the potential to cripple even the strongest nonprofit organizations during these critical transitions.
As part of the Foundation’s focus on Nonprofit Effectiveness, the Foundation offered a free webinar on executive transitions and succession planning on Tuesday, June 14. The webinar was presented by BoardSource, a national organization that supports, trains and educates more than 60,000 nonprofit board leaders from across the country each year.
Robin Hindsman Stacia, a BoardSource senior governance consultant, led the webinar. In addition to defining succession planning and discussing why it is essential to maintaining strong leadership, Robin highlighted key differences between an Executive Director/CEO succession plan and an executive search process. Participants learned about the different types of succession plans, with the discussion focusing specifically on details related to a defined-departure succession plan. The webinar was recorded and is available here, and the webinar presentation can be found here.
At the conclusion of the webinar, Community Foundation Senior Program Officer Lita Pardi announced the Embrace the Future: Succession Planning for Nonprofit Organizations 2016 program. This will be the second year the Foundation will offer the six-month program for a cohort of 15 nonprofit executives and board leaders designed to guide them as they develop robust succession plans. The 2015 program was very successful, with each of the participating nonprofits developing a Succession Plan Policy, an Emergency Succession Plan and a Departure-defined Succession Plan. The deadline to apply for the 2016 program is noon on Monday, July 11. Click here for the guidelines which include information about how to apply.
Please direct questions to Lita Pardi, senior program officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org.