Succession Planning

The Number One Need of Nonprofits, According to Bridgespan

Nonprofit organizational succession planning consultation facilitated by Leading Transitions will usually include one or more of the following three primary phases:

Phase I: Assessment & Creation
Phase II: Executive Level Emergency Succession Planning
Phase III: Ongoing Succession Planning / Leadership Development

In order for me to make some concrete and sustainable recommendations, we offer the following steps within each of the three phases.

Please also read our steps for Setting the Stage for Leadership Transition.

Assessment & Culture creation

Assessment & Culture Creation

In this first phase of our consultation we will establish a baseline for succession planning practices that are already in place at your organization. From there, we will work with you and your staff on the importance of everyone in the organization talking about changes in leadership, even when these changes are not imminent. We will be working with you to determine what practices are already in place that fall under the succession planning umbrella.

Oftentimes, we conduct structured interviews with various key constituents. We will work with you on how you may

bring succession planning issues into the conversations with your Board of Directors.

If you wish, we enjoy talking with your Board President and / or members of your governance committee of the Board of Directors about their own (volunteer) succession planning responsibilities and opportunities. The intention is for volunteers and and paid staff to discuss the importance of securing your organization’s mission into the future.


Executive Level Emergency Succession Planning

Emergency succession planning is a best practice for every organization, since it strives to ensure ongoing programming and operations in the event of an unplanned and extended executive absence. When emergency circumstances occur, there is an enormous level of stress experienced by an organization's staff, board, funders, volunteers and, ultimately, by service recipients.

Our preference is to work with a team of staff that you select to identify key leadership functions carried out by the executive director, identify senior organizational leaders best qualified to assume the role of executive

director in an emergency situation, and recommend the cross-training necessary so the team can fulfill the leadership functions until an (interim) executive director is appointed.

In addition to being better prepared, a major and immediate benefit of this work is staff can enhance leadership skills and perhaps improve their knowledge of each other's roles and responsibilities. They will also gain confidence in their own ability to assume executive functions once cross- training begins. We will outline policies and procedures for the temporary appointment of an acting executive director.

ongoing succession planning / leadership development

Ongoing Succession Planning / Leadership Development

We will work with your organizational leaders to create succession planning practices that can be sustainable into the future. Together, we will look at the up-and-coming pipeline of leadership within your organization to determine if these young and/or newer professionals are receiving what they need to be successful in their work.

When applicable, we can work with your fund development staff on the essential task of including all of

your past, current and future succession planning efforts into proposal procurement and composition.

This phase is the time to address what needs to be done to implement new ideas and ensure that there are mechanisms in place to facilitate these ideas being maintained on into the future.

Explore a relationship with Leading Transitions today: 414.228.9860  |


"Although still early in our re-org process, it appears clear I owe you.

I’m certainly feeling much more optimistic regarding the opportunities that might be possible during this challenging time of transition. Thank you for your insights, connections, and support."
"Mindy, thank you so much. It has been such a pleasure to work with you. Thank you for your flexibility. I have so enjoyed working with the staff and our boards since I took the interim role. We are in a better place today and I am very appreciative of all of the work our staff has done to get us here. It is a wonderful job. I look forward to our future. Thanks again for everything."
"Thank you so much for your time and inspiration today. Knowing how many calls you get like mine, I truly appreciate the time you took to network and to provide me with a road map on how to start transitioning my career. Thank you for making the world a better place."
"Mindy is a life changing human
who is incredible in this community."
"I genuinely appreciated the time you gave me and the candid information you provided. It was very helpful and will hopefully help me make a more informed decision.
I will be in touch."
"I saw the person you referred me to yesterday and was reflecting on how much I value knowing her and learning from her. Without your introduction, I don’t know if that would have happened. Thank you for being a connector, such a strong judge of character, and for adding to the joy in my own life."
"I could not be more grateful for your encouragement and coaching. You're THE BEST. I can't say it loudly enough. I couldn't be more grateful for your how selflessly you've supported and guided me."
"Thank you for spending some of your valuable time with me yesterday. I enjoyed my conversation with you and learning more about your organization and the direction you provide nonprofits to navigate transition."
"Thank you so much for your support today – and every day, for that matter. Your smile, positive attitude, and passion for our organization is so inspiring. I appreciate having you in my life!"
"Getting to know you personally, and prevailing upon your insight into the non-profit world of Milwaukee has been one of the greatest gifts of this summer and fall. Your generosity has allowed me opportunities for participation and service that are immeasurable as a result of your guidance. I am really excited about this new chapter, and especially the chances you have given me to impact the issues and organizations I care most about. I am deeply grateful for everything."
"We were so fortunate to have you speak to our members, and I appreciate your time and effort in preparing for us. You excel at speaking and taking the time to know your audience - THANK YOU. I look forward to our paths crossing again soon."


"Many thanks for sharing your wealth of knowledge and experience at today's executive transitions program. You did a terrific job leading the discussion and keeping the conversation flowing and focused."