Succession Planning for Your Non-Profit

I am lucky enough to be on the leadership committee of a group called the Harvard 100. It is a high faulting name of a group that is the opposite of high faulting. The group is made up of Non-Profit leaders, both executive directors and Board chairs from the Research Triangle. We were started by a great Philanthropist Chuck ReCorr who asserted that investing in leadership makes non-profits better. We all have been to non-profit leadership training at Harvard and Chuck has been nurturing this group for the last ten years so that non-profits in the Triangle can work together collaboratively. Today there are over 130 Harvard Grads who are part of our group.

Tonight we had a virtual meeting about Succession Planning for non-profits. We focused on succession for the Executive directors tonight since this a big topic. Bert Armstrong gave a presentation and then we had a case study from one of our members who had a robust succession plan.

The idea of succession planning is important to all organizations. Succession of leaders happens whether you like it, or are prepared or not. There is emergency and/or interim succession if someone gets hit by a bus and there are long planned for retirements and all kinds of things in between.

To me one of the unforgotten reasons for a succession plan is so you can fire a poor leader if you have to. I was on a board where the executive director turned out to be a liar. When I brought this to the attention of the board chair she said she didn’t have time to find a new Executive Director so she wasn’t going to fire her. The truth was we didn’t have a succession plan and the board chair was lazy. I quit that board that day.

Tonight the Harvard 100 announced a grant opportunity for all Non-profits in the triangle to compete for. We have five $5,000 grants to give to organizations that create or update their succession plans. You can go to to read about how to apply to win one of these grants. Your organization does not have to be part of the Harvard 100. The slides from today’s presentation, as well as a recording of the meeting should be up on the website if you missed the meeting. If you have questions feel free to contact me.

2 Comments on “Succession Planning for Your Non-Profit”

  1. debi says:

    High faulting?
    or highfalutin 😉

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