Nonprofit CEO Transitions Resource Center

07/14/2016

Summary

Leadership transitions can be tricky and require that many people in the organization work together effectively. The board, executive team, and the departing CEO need to manage the exit process. At the same time, the search committee needs to find an internal candidate who’s ready to step up or begin to look for a qualified external candidate. Through it all, the organization should experience as little upheaval as possible, so it can continue to deliver on its mission. The articles in Bridgespan’s CEO Transition Resource Center can help your organization successfully survive—and even thrive during—a leadership transition.

The Nonprofit Leadership Development Deficit

Succession planning is the No. 1 organizational concern of America’s nonprofits, and they are making it harder by failing to develop their most promising pool of talent: homegrown leaders. Several practical steps by management, their boards, and funders could reverse the trend. Read more >>

The Nonprofit Board's Role in Onboarding and Supporting a New CEO

The number one responsibility of any board—for-profit or nonprofit—is effective management of the senior executive, especially a new one. Yet, nonprofit leaders often report to Bridgespan that their boards fall short of that goal. Here are five ways nonprofit boards can more effectively onboard and support their new CEOs. Read more >>

10 Things Departing Nonprofit CEOs Should Do to Manage Their Exits

When nonprofit CEOs move on, their organizations need to devote appropriate time and resources to managing the transition. The longer an executive has been in place, or the more significant his or her impact, the harder he or she will be to replace—and the more challenges a successor will likely face. An exit strategy can guide the transition process and help ensure that the departing CEO and the organization thrive in life’s next chapter. Read more >>

The New CEO's Challenge: The First Three Years

Many new CEOs don't survive the first year with their new organizations, and even more, the first three years. Fortunately, boards and CEOs can take actions during this critical period of time that will not only help new CEOs get up and running but also develop a great foundation on which they can build a lasting career at their nonprofits. Read more >>

Interim Executive Management: Seven Benefits to Consider

A nonprofit that loses a top leader faces an anxiety-producing situation even under the best circumstances. But losing an executive without a succession plan in place can be particularly agonizing. Nonprofits are increasingly engaging professional transition consultants as interim executives, which can help them fill the short-term gap to give them time to consider the organization’s longer-term future. Read more >>

How the Y Supports and Develops CEOs—and What Other Nonprofits Can Learn from It

How does a national network build leadership skills throughout its vast network? And how does it build a culture that embraces its cause and priorities? YMCA-USA’s answer to these questions was to create the Cause-Driven Leadership® Competency Model. The model encompasses the competencies the Y seeks in its leaders as well as processes and tools for developing them. This article highlights the model and offers takeaways for other nonprofits interested in bolstering their leadership development efforts. Read more >>

Three Key Roles Funders Can Play in a CEO Transition

Changes in a nonprofit’s leadership affect the organization's staff, its board, and potentially how it will achieve its goals. With so much at stake, it's important that a funder works with the nonprofit it supports to ensure a smooth transition—and help sustain the organization until it gets a new leader. Read more >>

When a Founder Moves On

Any leadership transition can be fraught with uncertainty and difficult decisions, but founder transitions can be particularly wrenching. Often, leaders find the transition more difficult than expected, even with the best-laid plans. This was the case for Laurel Dukehart, former CEO of Gateway to College. In this Q&A she shares how she helped her organization and board survive the transition and the lessons she learned along the way. Read more >>
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