The first volume in a series on executive transition management, funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund. The series is a joint effort of TransitionGuides and CompassPoint Nonprofit Services.

A leadership change at a nonprofit presents two critical challenges to the organization.

It is a test of the nonprofit’s ability to not only maintain the services it provides, but actually use the leadership change as an opportunity to grow the capacity of the organization.

It is also an emotional intelligence experience that tests the ability of board members, staff, funders, and clients to let go of the way things were, work through a period of uncertainty, then adjust to a new leadership environment.

Managed well, a leadership change honors the nonprofit’s past, inspires creativity among board members and staff, lays the foundation for expanded organizational performance – and creates an environment in which the new leader is likely to thrive.

Managed poorly, a leadership change can be a stressful, anxious experience that causes an organization to lose momentum, compromise the services it provides to clients, jeopardize key relationships – and make it difficult for the new leader to succeed.

Leadership Transitions is dedicated to helping nonprofits take advantage of the opportunities that a leadership change presents, and finding new leaders that can take organizations to the next level of performance.
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