Who's Next?

Does your nonprofit have the plans and processes in place to navigate executive transition?  More than 70 nonprofit leaders gathered at the Woodruff Arts Center in April for our latest Member Expert Series Event to discuss the latest trends and best practices for succession planning.

There’s good news and bad news on the topic of nonprofit succession planning, says GCN Senior Consultant Mary Bear Hughes.  Let’s start with the bad news, through data compiled by The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta’s research on metro Atlanta succession planning practices.  73% of Atlanta nonprofits have no written succession plan in place.  69% have no emergency succession plan in place.  And nearly half indicate they lack the knowledge to create a plan.

Hughes believes that this puts an organization at peril for the lack of leadership during key periods of transition.  Succession planning can be a touchy topic with obstacles at every turn – ie: the board not feeling it is necessary, lack of skills to create one, capacity doesn’t allow for time or cost of planning.  But according to Hughes, it only takes a little knowledge to overcome these obstacles and ensure the long-term health of your nonprofit.

At April’s Member Expert Series event, Hughes presented the new data on Atlanta nonprofit succession planning, and went into more detail on the types of succession plans and best practices for beginning down that road.  View slides from that presentation and pictures from the event.

Panel included (from left): Atlanta Ballet Executive Director Arturo Jacobus, Atlanta Ballet Vice Chair Elizabeth Adams, MedShare CEO & President Meredith Rentz, MedShare Vice Chair Charlie Evans, and Woodruff Arts Center President & CEO Virginia Hepner.

After Hughes' presentation, CEOs and Board Members from a trio of GCN organizations discussed their own recent experiences with succession planning and transition.  Representatives from the Atlanta Ballet, MedShare and the Woodruff Arts Center’s Virginia Hepner took questions from Hughes and the audience to discuss what made their transition successful and what could have been done better. 

Succession Planning Resources

GCN offers a number of resources surrounding succession planning.  Explore these tools, tips and articles below. 

Who’s Next? Findings from The Community Foundation for Metro Atlanta and GCN

Succession Planning and the CEO-Board Disconnect: New Insight from GCN’s Nonprofit Consulting Group

Fear, Understanding and Time: The Three Obstacles to Succession Planning

Other succession planning tools for Boards and CEOs

GCN's Nonprofit Consulting Group

GCN's Nonprofit Consulting Group also offers expert consulting on succession planning.  Learn more about their team, work and areas of expertise.


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