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The importance of having a board succession plan

The Importance of Having a Board Succession Plan

Strong leadership is vital to the success of any nonprofit, and that strength begins with management. The core of a nonprofit’s team should constantly be planning for the organization’s future– this means a board succession plan is integral to a continued, thriving nonprofit.

What Is Succession Planning?

This type of planning typically falls under the fiduciary “duty of care.” Board directors should think ahead to long-term care of the nonprofit, which includes recruitment strategies and leadership planning. Organization leaders should have a board of succession plan to:

– Recruit top talent

– Maintain a diverse team and idea pool

– Continue a balance of power

– Ensure smooth transitions between leadership

As members grow more tenured, it’s always possible to have them leave the organization or pursue other opportunities. Having a detailed, strategic plan in place will guarantee your nonprofit does not suffer as your team fluctuates in members.

Creating an Effective Board Succession Plan

The most successful plans come from strategic thought and execution. Taking the time to understand the best methods for planning will help you handle the changes better in the long run. It might appear to be a tedious and daunting task, but there are straightforward steps that will lead you to success.

1. Begin a discussion with your current board members.

Gather your organization’s current leadership team and exchange ideas regarding future leadership goals. Everyone should be present to provide input; it’s extremely important for everyone to be on the same page, no questions asked. You can form an ad hoc nomination committee for more organized processing, or you can assign the task to your usual governance team.

Whomever the choice, this taskforce should design a criteria for board composition, ideal candidate profiles, and head the recruitment process for new candidates that match the standards. They should develop training processes for these new recruits to ensure the most structured environment during transitions.

2. Plan for any future vacancies.

Once the process for finding and onboarding new talent is established, the team should evaluate any anticipated vacancies within the organization. The best way to keep track of member intentions is by conducting semi-annual or annual reviews. Circumstances to consider include retirements, planned removals, and resignations. The team should have a good idea of how the organization will function without certain roles being filled. They

should have plans in place for who will take over which responsibilities and for how long that will be sustainable. This will provide the best idea of a timeline for finding a new member to take over.

3. Bring in new, talented recruits.

You have the profiles created and potential vacancies identified. Now it’s time to focus on recruiting. This process should be straightforward due to prior planning, so all that’s left is to execute your detailed plans and find the best fits.

4. Hire a nonprofit consultant.

At the end of the day, if you’re still struggling to come up with the best plan of action, create profiles, or find new talent…reach out to a professional consultant. A nonprofit consultation, like KM Clark Consulting Group can go a long way in regards to offering organization and structure to your process. These consultants are trained in what to look for. They know what steps to take, no matter where you’re at in your board succession plan. It doesn’t hurt to have some extra, specialized help.

Creating a board succession plan may not have been on the top of your to-do list, but it’s crucial to the longevity of your organization. Staying strategic and planning will help you find the most success for years to come.