Getting to What’s Next: Nonprofit Leadership Transitions

As the pandemic wanes, leadership turnover at nonprofit organizations seems to be increasing. For an in-depth primer on Succession Planning, review this workshop, conducted for the ECCF Institute for Trustees and the National HBS Nonprofit Board Summit, then ask yourself: “Is your organization ready”? Here are 5 questions to consider: Is your organization stable and sustainable? Is the CEO job well-defined, streamlined and doable? Is the Board ready for the transition and is its vision clear? Is a strong executive team in place and well prepared? Is the outgoing leader ready to transition, professionally and personally? Professional interim leadership gets nonprofit organizations ready […]

Interim Leadership In Action

Here are some recent leadership transitions that Interim Executive Solutions team members have helped organizations navigate. As Rainbow Child Development Center contemplated its next Executive Director, the IES team advised the board as to how to manage the transition, which search firms to consider and how to onboard and support the new ED. An IES Associate then worked with the outgoing ED to ensure all policies and procedures would be maintained in this highly regulated environment before taking over as Interim ED. Subsequently he handled the delicate task of preparing the staff and parents for new leadership and reopening during […]

Ensuring your Nonprofit Mission Survives the Pandemic

Nonprofits are designed to have a mission or cause, the focus of what they doing. The day-to-day work, ideally, is in service of that mission. Sometimes, however, the focus becomes more about the organization itself than necessarily about the mission. The staff, the communities being served, and the funders are all important stakeholders that influence a nonprofit and its direction, so, particularly during the pandemic, it has been easy to lose focus on the purpose of the organization; the mission or cause. To ensure long term survival, and indeed the opportunity to thrive, thereby saving as many jobs as possible […]

ACES: A framework for managing through periods of change

In today’s world, change is a constant for nonprofits. This is especially so in crises such as the current Covid-19 pandemic. As staff leaders and nonprofit board members, your approach to change can be more consistent. The ACES framework, developed by Interim Executive Solutions, provides some guidance: Assess the situation – where are you now? Contain the crisis – shore up current operations Explore options – are there pathways to increase viability? Sustain the mission – develop and execute your plan. For more information on the ACES framework and how nonprofits are applying it, view the recent webinar, download the […]

Nonprofit 411: Using Board and Staff Surveys to Drive Continuous Improvement

Nonprofit 411: Using Board and Staff Surveys to Drive Continuous Improvement SEPTEMBER 4, 2020 BY ADMIN By Davis Harris, Interim Executive Solutions Representing all voices, and hearing from all voices, are not the same thing. Nonprofits have become acutely aware of the need to bring diversity to the staff and to the board, but that does not necessarily mean they are hearing diverse perspectives. Organizations function best when all perspectives are considered but there is often too little time or opportunity in board meetings, staff meetings or even 1-1 conversations to explore differences based on background, lived experiences, or vision for the future. […]

Board and Executive Leadership Collaboration in a Time of Crisis

Crisis situations, such as the current Covid-19 pandemic, demand that a nonprofit board and the executive leadership work together far more closely than would normally occur. This is because the circumstances can impact: Mission and vision (what you do), Funding and budgets (the resources available), Governance processes (decision-making authority and documentation), Stakeholders (impact on staff, clients, supporters and others), Management priorities (how the ED will be evaluated), and ultimately The core values of the organization (how your actions will be perceived). While the chief executive oversees day-to-day implementation of these issues, responsibility for approving and monitoring execution is actually the […]

Interim Executives: Providing Stability in Times of Uncertainty

By Brian Krehbiel Times of disruption and uncertainty are times in which organizations tend to seek help from interim executives. I’ve noticed this phenomenon over more than two decades of providing interim executives to hospitals and health systems. When the future is cloudy, organizations are often reluctant to fill open positions with permanent hires, and instead look to executives who can serve them capably for a finite period of time. Interim leadership buys the organization valuable time and generates a feeling of organizational stability. What many organizations may not realize is just how much benefit and return on investment they […]

Nonprofit Survival in the Era of Covid 19

Dateline 3-19-20: The next few weeks are going to test us all and will require very challenging decisions we would never dream of having to make under normal circumstances. For many nonprofits the initial instinct for survival may mean minimizing unnecessary costs, no matter how unpleasant such decisions may be. On the other hand, this may be a time to critically review programs, assess resilience and sustainability, and envision new ways to achieve your mission. As many people have time on their hands and are captive audiences as they wait out Covid 19, it may even be the time to test […]

Resiliency: A Diagnostic for Success by Steve Stanton (Part 2)

Part one of this blog attempted to make the case for nonprofit resiliency. Here Steve Stanton shares a diagnostic model for organizational resilience based on seven core elements. A Clear Organizational Identity: Are we aligned as to who we are? Do we have continuous and aligned focus and flexibility on core issues? Relevant Mission: Is it clear why we are here and what our core purpose is? Vision: Can we articulate what our eventual success will look like? Strategic Plan: Do we know what the organization’s critical goals, actions, and measures are? Is the plan continuously renewed? Do we know […]

A New Model for Nonprofit Resiliency by Steve Stanton (Part 1)

Some nonprofits need to improve their marketing, and others have to focus on building up their boards, but ALL nonprofits need to improve their resiliency. Resiliency means the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. This ability extends beyond flexibility and encompasses far more than “capacity building”. A resilient organization is able to find ways to succeed in all types of conditions and to bounce back whenever problems arise. To quote a cliché, resilience is the ability to “keep calm and carry on” in all types of situations, to extend success in good times and to recover quickly in troubled times. […]

The big misses that non-profits do not do well or could be more effective at

Every nonprofit we encounter has different strengths and weaknesses but there are a few common challenges and blind spots that many of them share. Here are just a few: The first rule of a nonprofit is that you actually have to make a profit or a surplus (what you call it doesn’t matter but you cannot run a nonprofit sustainably at a deficit). Mission achievement is often used to justify deficits and while they may be okay in the short term they cannot be allowed to last. Profit is not a dirty word. Objective program assessment: each program an organization […]

Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments – Gap Analysis

Prepared for the Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments by Interim Executive Solutions, LLC. Executive Summary This gap analysis brings together two “big data” sources— Connecticut Economic Resource Center (CERC) town profiles and United Way’s 211CT data—alongside interviews with municipal officials and nonprofits to identify gaps in service delivery in southeastern Connecticut. We use demographic and financial data by municipality and region to offer a socio-economic backdrop to the regional human services ecosystem. We then explore unmet human services needs by municipality and the region overall. Finally, we offer perspectives on patterns of unmet need, assessments of the information available, and […]

Capacity Building Tips for a Stronger Nonprofit

A Crowded Field The National Center for Charitable Statistics’ website reports that Massachusetts has 19,037 nonprofits who reported financial information to the IRS in 2008, 34.4 nonprofit organizations for every 10,000 residents. Rhode Island, surprisingly, had almost a quarter as many – 4349 or 47.4 per 10,000 population. Neither of these rates compares favorably with large conservative states like Texas (20.3) or even other, larger liberal states like New York (28.4) or California (22.6). New England seems to grow nonprofits almost twice as fast as everybody else.If there are too many organizations chasing too few donor dollars, then the nonprofit […]

News to Use

This list of readings on nonprofit management offers a range of articles, posts, stories, reports, data and more that we hope will be of interest to and useful for nonprofit organizations. New articles are posted in our “News to Use” monthly newsletter. Please subscribe here.