How To Plan For What Comes Next

Nonprofit Succession Plan | Ohio CPA Firm
Nonprofits that fail to consider the organization’s future are at an increased risk for financial and organizational hardship. This fact has resulted in some nonprofit leaders finally tackling the topic of succession planning in their own organizations. But time is of the essence. After all – nobody’s getting any younger. Read on to find out why your should have a succession plan in place.

As a leader in your nonprofit organization, you have a responsibility to ensure that the necessary framework is put in place to secure continued success of the organization well after you’ve retired from your role. Unfortunately, the topic of succession planning isn’t always top-of-mind for those in the not for profit industry. Nonprofit leaders and board members take notice – if you want to leave the organization better off than when you arrived on the scene, it’s time to focus on succession planning within your own nonprofit.

Starting The Conversation

We’ve heard a lot about the impending retirement of baby-boomers, many of whom hold leadership roles in notable businesses. To avoid the hit that many of these businesses would likely be susceptible to when these key leaders leave, succession planning has become a required business practice. That being said, the succession planning conversation should span all industries – including nonprofit.

Nonprofits that fail to consider the organization’s future are at an increased risk for financial and organizational hardship. This fact has resulted in some nonprofit leaders finally tackling the topic of succession planning in their own organizations. But time is of the essence. After all – nobody’s getting any younger.

As a leader in your nonprofit, you can help ensure your organization’s longevity by pushing for the creation of individualized succession plans for key members – regardless of their age or role in the organization. This plan should not only help map out the individual’s planned succession, but should also outline an emergency transition plan, which would go into effect in the event of an unexpected change. Read on to discover other characteristics of effective succession plans.

How To Build A Solid Succession Plan                                                

  1. Be intentional – With so many other important matters vying for our attention, it’s easy to push the responsibility of building a succession plan to the side. Make a hard commitment. Block off some time on your calendar to sit down and work on your plan and stick to it.
  2. Be thoughtful – Take the time to determine the qualities and skills needed to fulfill the responsibilities of your position. Consider your “job description” as the starting point for this exercise.
  3. Be realistic – You may have a great talent pool within your organization, but their talents might not necessarily align with the requirements of your particular job responsibilities. First you need to consider whether your successor should be chosen from within your organization or not. Then you should outline any training and development needed to successfully acclimate to your role. If your organization needs to bring on someone from outside of your organization, consider developing a list of key places one could go to recruit appropriate talent to fill the position, including whether a strategic merger would be the best option.
  4. Be time-bound – How long should it take to recruit for your successor? How long before they should be acclimated? There are a lot of time considerations associated with succession planning. Put together a few points to ensure the process moves forward in your absence.
  5. Be humble – You’re probably not a succession planning guru. So, why not bring on somebody who is? Reach out to your professional advisors for help.
  6. Be a good communicator – I can’t stress this point enough. Succession planning is a collaborative decision process that requires the input of others. Even if you are the one developing the plan, others will be responsible for implementing it. So they need to be aware of your thought process.
  7. Be proactive – The truth is that we don’t know what tomorrow holds so the best thing you can do is to do your part to ensure the longevity of your organization.

Email the nonprofit team at Rea & Associates for help with your succession and emergency transition plan. The future of your organization could depend on it.

By Mark Beebe, CPA (Dublin office)

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