So many small NPOs are driven by one person who serves as founder, director, fundraiser, and CEO. But how does such an organisation plan for the day when that leader is no longer around?
Is the leader of your organisation one of those impassioned, dedicated people who saw a problem in her community and started an NGO to address that need? Likely, it’s a small organisation, one held together by the force of its leader’s personality. Likely too, the organisation’s direction, strategy, even day-to-day operations are held almost entirely in her head.
What happens, though, when your leader leaves? Would the work continue? This is not merely an academic question for your funders, board members, stakeholders and constituency.
Perhaps the simplest way to assure that the work will continue is to develop leadership skills within the organisation. This can be done by:
- staff and development training;
- senior staff having ample opportunity to engage partners, supporters, and board members;
- including senior staff in strategy discussions and decision making;
- providing chances for others to act as leader, maybe during holiday or leave time.
Even if your next leader is brought in from outside, having staffers on hand who understand all facets of the organisation will greatly ease the transition.
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