Keep Your Plans Moving (Even During Leadership Change)
We are working with a client who is undergoing a CEO transition. Over the past two years, this organization had invested in a master planning process and also an extensive strategic planning process.
When asked if it should pause while searching for a new CEO, our response was an emphatic "No!"
Yes, it will be important to have the new CEO in place before the organization embarks on a major campaign. Donors will want to have confidence that the new CEO can lead the nonprofit to fulfill its strategic plan and facility master plan.
A major point of any valid planning process—from strategic planning to, in this case, master planning—is that the vision, mission and goals are about the institution, not one person.
Years ago, a client hired a new CEO, who came in and literally within a month rewrote the organization’s strategic plan. The plan had not been developed through a sound process. The board didn’t push back on the new vision. The CEO had been hired to slow growth and put the organization in a better financial position. The new CEO wanted growth, in large part, unfortunately, for his ego and compensation (tied to budget size). The eventual result was an organization in a cultural and financial downfall.
We’ve talked about this before. Build systems that outlast you. Build a vision that carries on. It is not about one person in an organization—the CEO or chief development officer or anyone. No one is indispensable. Change is not bad—it can reinvigorate an organization.
Have systems and plans in place so that your fundraising and your organization continues to move ahead, regardless of who might be providing leadership in a staff function. Keep moving and focused on your mission!
Looking for Jeff? You'll find him either on the lake, laughing with good friends, or helping nonprofits develop to their full potential.
Jeff believes that successful fundraising is built on a bedrock of relevant, consistent messaging; sound practices; the nurturing of relationships; and impeccable stewardship. And that organizations that adhere to those standards serve as beacons to others that aspire to them. The Bedrocks & Beacons blog will provide strategic information to help nonprofits be both.
Jeff has more than 25 years of nonprofit leadership experience and is a member of the NonProfit PRO Editorial Advisory Board.