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The Importance of Succession Planning for Any Nonprofit

Crystallee Crain, PhD.
Capacity Builder

The Importance of Succession Planning for Any Nonprofit

Succession planning has become a crucial topic for nonprofit organizations as they navigate the challenges of today's ever-changing landscape. With many baby-boom generation leaders retiring or leaving the workforce during the pandemic, nonprofits are facing a critical need to prepare for the future. However, a recent study found that only 27% of nonprofit leaders have a succession plan in place for their leadership positions (Plante Moran's 2023 Nonprofit Summit).

In addition to the challenges posed by an aging workforce, nonprofits must also consider competition in the job market and budget constraints that can hinder their ability to hire replacements in a timely manner. This can lead to a loss of institutional knowledge and a gap in leadership that can be detrimental to the organization. The evolving needs for staffing have forced nonprofits to rethink their traditional hiring approach. As they emerge from the pandemic and hiring challenges, many are seeking leaders with different qualities and skill sets.

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Navigating Leadership: Exploring Nonprofit Network's ED Academy


Navigating Leadership: Exploring Our Executive Director Academy

Are you an Executive Director, CEO, Managing Director, or Direct Report yearning for profound professional development to enhance your leadership skills?
If so, the Nonprofit Network ED Academy is tailor-made for you. Delving into the history of the ED Academy reveals its roots in a partnership with a foundation in 2017, which identified a need for customized training for new Executive Directors.
This initial collaboration laid the foundation for the now-annual ED Academy, consisting of 8 sessions focused on practical skills and practices.

Sessions Overview: The ED Academy comprises eight sessions, including an introductory and wrap-up session. Throughout these online sessions, participants will intentionally implement learned skills, sharing their challenges and successes with both fellow participants and facilitators. The cohort model emphasizes interactivity and reflection to maximize the value of the learning experience. The sessions cover a diverse range of topics, reflecting the multifaceted role of an Executive Director and some of these are:

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They Why Behind Peer Coaching

Sharon Castle

Capacity Builder

“This has been the single most impactful Professional Development I have ever been a part of. This process of utilizing empowering questions to guide coaching, along with reiterating thoughts, and not going straight to advice- this has all been a game changer for me and how I communicate.”

“Peer coaching is BY FAR one of the best continuing education courses I've ever taken. I use the skills in my personal and professional life, and they have gotten me unstuck from many challenging conversations and relationships.”                       ~ Peer Coaching Cohort Participants – March 2023

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A Great Nonprofit Leader Drives the Mission

Katena Cain, PhD.

Nonprofit Management Consultant

A great nonprofit leader drives the mission down through the organization, upward through the board, and outward through the community.  They are also the organization’s chief storyteller, brand advocate, brand guardian, crisis spokesperson, chief marketing officer, and chief fundraiser. To be effective in many of these roles, they must be authentic and be able to connect, collaborate, persuade, mediate, and negotiate with the best.

A great leader is also the ambassador for the health of the organization, both structurally and financially. This means they are responsible for building and maintaining relationships that enable the organization to flourish. They must recruit and retain the talent and supply the tools necessary to develop a strong infrastructure and a culture that builds morale.

A great leader is "tapped-in" to her board, staff, and the people they serve.  They are in tune with the social and economic conditions that affect the organization’s mission. 

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Staff Satisfaction

headshot of Sharon Castle in a black blouseSharon Castle
Capacity Builder

Much has been written about the Great Resignation of 2022 or, as McKinsey & Company recently described it as, “the Great Attrition has become the Great Negotiation.”  

In fact, according to McKinsey, 40% of employees globally are planning to leave their jobs in the next three to six months. The Great Attrition is making hiring harder. Are you searching the right talent pools?

So, what does that mean for the nonprofit sector; a sector historically known for paying low wages for demanding positions?  At Nonprofit Network, we’ve been getting many questions from stressed-out Executive Directors trying to figure out how to hire and then retain talented staff. 

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