This paper has two primary goals. First, it seeks to continue detoxifying the topic of nonprofit succession planning so that executives, boards, staff, and funders can take up these activities without unnecessary fear or concern. Second, it hopes to provide nonprofit boards and executive directors a framework for their own succession planning activities.

This publication presents alternative models of succession planning designed particularly for nonprofits. The ends in mind:

  1. Pursuing the agency’s mission and service goals as effectively as possible.
  2. Ensuring agency stability by developing bench strength behind its executive and key managers.
  3. Creating the possibility that successors for your executive director and top managers will emerge from your talent pool.

January 1, 2008

Executive Transitions Series

In This Report, You’ll Learn

  1. 1

    The benefits of and reasons to embrace succession planning.

  2. 2

    The three different ways to approach succession planning (e.g., strategic leader development, emergency succession, departure-defined succession).

  3. 3

    How to effectively plan for and execute a succession in all three of the approaches.

  4. 4

    Case studies showing the benefits of succession planning.

  1. 5

    "Tough Issues" and other difficulties associated with the topic of succession planning.

  2. 6

    Resources to help your agency formulate succession plans including checklists, questions for self-reflection, and guides with key concepts.

Key Takeaway

Key Takeaways

Managing successions proactively will do more than calm the churning associated with present transitions; it will make the nonprofit sector stronger than ever. 

Succession planning creates more nimble and flexible organizations through shared leadership. It also energizes and reassures a board by providing high-level strategy and demonstrating that staff leadership is broadly shared and backed up.

Findings & Stats

Statements & Quotations