Who’s up next?

What happens if the Executive Director of your organization unexpectedly quits, get seriously ill, or, worse, dies? Who would be in charge? How would your organization go about finding its next leader?

passing the batonThe Edyth Bush Institute of Nonprofit Management and Leadership at Rollins College recently rolled out the 2017 Central Florida Nonprofit Benefits and Compensation Report. This report summarizes information gleaned from surveys of 161 local nonprofit organizations from 7 Central Florida counties. While 33 (20%) organization self reported an expected turnover in the CEO/ED position in the next three years, only 42% of organizations have an updated emergency succession plan.

Start succession planning now before there is a problem!

Executive leadership succession is one of key functions of a board of directors. Do this planning before an emergency happens. Proper planning can help elevate the emotional component to what might otherwise be a potentially volatile time. The departure of long-time leaders, especially founder/CEOS, is particularly challenging in the nonprofit sector. Planning can also be an excellent opportunity to examine and evaluate the current leadership structure and job responsibilities. This is not simply about ED, there may be other key staff positions that could benefit from succession/ emergency planning.

Check out this article, Five Steps to Stronger Succession Plans in Nonprofits, by Charles Ingersoll and Divina Gamble for some great tipns.. Charles Ingersoll Jr is senior client partner and co-leader of nonprofit practice at Korn Ferry. Divina Gamble is co-leader of Korn Ferry’s nonprofit, philanthropy and social enterprise practice.

Schedule time at your board meetings, with your current ED’s involvement, to begin conversation about succession planning and emergency planning. The average time to fill a leadership role can be far more than 6 months. Can your organization survive that gap?

Struggling with this issue? Call me, I can help. I can facilitate the conversation. Are you experiencing that gap right now? I can help. I offer interim leadership services. Contact me for a free consultation.

The Dating Game

The_Dating_GameFact: Fundraising is about building relationships. This fact got me thinking about how dating is building a relationship. A basic logic sequence goes like this; since A is B, and B is C, then A is C. So therefore, fundraising is like dating. Here’s the analogy:

Blind Date – This donor donated because a friend pressured them and probably won’t make another one.

The One Night Stand – This donor got drunk at a gala, bought an auction item, and hopes the organization doesn’t call them again.

First Date – This donor made an initial donation because they have an interest in the mission of the organization.

Going Steady – This donor donates monthly through your organization’s online portal.

Marriage –This is a donor who is invested in your organization to have and to hold, through sickness and in health.

Separation – This donor is on your Last Year But Not This Year (LYBNTY) list that you would love to have them come back.

Divorce – This donor is on your lapsed donor list, that leaves you shaking your head wondering what went wrong.

As a small shop nonprofit, you need your Board of Directors to play matchmaker and help you to build relationships. Still need help? Contact me at 407.460.5292 or marylee@nonprofitgladiator.org. I can help.

Who’s on your board?

Most small nonprofits that I know have difficulty recruiting for their board of directors. When the founder is still the executive leader and/or the organization is in the startup phase, often board members are friends. That’s a great way to start, of course. How do you get beyond that start up phase? Who do you recruit?

boardsource logo

Every board is different. There is no set formula. Board Source has a good resource for putting together a board matrix. A good board mix would have a variety of skill set, age, ethnicity. A good mixture of board members makes for better over governance. Diversity of members makes for unique perspectives. Recruitment-Matrix

Who do you want on your board? Here are some suggestions on who to look for:

  • A lawyer can give you advice on contracts, employee or other legal issues.
  • An accountant can be useful to serve as treasurer.
  • A wealth manager or banker can steer you in the right director for investment purposes and contacts in the community.
  • A marketer or public relations professional is very valuable for putting together a communication and marketing plan.
  • A person who has expertise in your program. For example, if you are a health based nonprofit, look for a doctor. If you are education focused, recruit a teacher.

What you don’t want are boards members who:

  • Join to pad their resume. They will flame out.
  • Join just because you throw a good party and are in it for the social life. Once the parties gone, they will be too.
  • Are talked into joining, or worst coerced. Again, expect flame out syndrome.
  • Are members of many other boards. Their time, attention and financial support will be spread too thin.

If you need figuring out who you should be recruiting, call me for a free consultation.