I know that this may sound silly, but I think it needs to be said for the record. Non-profit executive directors (e.g. CEOs) are not the undead. They do not live forever. They will leave your agency some day. And every board should be preparing for that eventuality.
Let me assure you that you are not “jinxing” yourself by being proactive.
Here are a few questions you should be able to answer well in advance of the day when you executive director submits their resignation:
- Will you bravely move forward into the future with an interim executive director or will your board form a management team?
- How do you intend on building a large, qualified applicant pool?
- How will you screen those resumes?
- How will the board determine which skill sets and competencies are necessary for the next executive director to possess in order to take the agency from Point B to C?
- How will you develop interview questions based on teasing out these competencies and skill sets?
- Who is responsible for recruiting the search committee? Who should be asked to sit on this committee?
- Have internal candidates been getting groomed? If so, how will those candidates be treated?
Many non-profit organizations start to address some of these issues through the creation of a succession plan.
Click here for additional resources pertaining to success planning provided by the National Council of Nonprofits.
Does your non-profit operate with a succession plan? If so, what is in it? Looking at the aforementioned list of bullet points, is your agency able to answer these questions today? If not, what steps can you take to start addressing these issues in the next six months?
Please scroll down and use the comment box below to share your thoughts and experiences. We can all learn from each other.
Here’s to your health!
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC