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Succession Planning: 3 Essential Skills for Non-Profit Leaders
By Meghan Walsh, EdD

Non-profit organizations provide services that are fundamental to the success of our society. The loss of a non-profit or a hiccup in the providing of their essential services could be catastrophic to a community.  According to Board Source, however, only 27% of non-profit organizations have a documented plan for when the time comes to transition executive leadership. Being without a strong and capable executive director can damage the reputation, trust, and quality of a non-profit. Therefore, non-profit boards need to think about investing time and money into the development of their future leadership.

A crucial part of any plan needs to be building up the mid-level directors and managers to weather the storm of transition, or step into open executive roles with minimal disturbance. Finding permanent or temporary leadership from within the ranks of the non-profit makes sense, because you can be confident the individual is committed to the mission of the organization and has developed critical relationships. While they may be excited about the opportunity to lead, you also want to make sure they are ready. Investing in professional education for rising stars is one way to ensure competence throughout the organization.

When considering professional education for the purpose of succession planning in a non-profit, look for programs that focus on these specific skills:
  1. Delivering on Mission Through Strategy – Non-profit leaders need to love the mission, but they also need to know how to get things done.
  2. Financial Resources and Management – Non-profits are often responsible for stewarding the gifts of generous individuals. Competent leaders are good managers of funds, and have an understanding of the nuances of non-profit accounting.
  3. Growing Partnerships with Lasting Impact – No non-profit works in a vacuum. A strong non-profit leader knows how to find partners, develop meaningful collaboration, and leverage those relationships to serve those in need of the non-profit’s services.
Alverno’s Advance Your Skills: Non-Profit Management pathway prepares leaders at all levels of non -profit organizations. Consider investing in your non-profit’s staff today to ensure they are prepared to advance the mission of the organization well into the future. The Fall 2023 cohort is enrolling now!
 
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