Prepare, Pivot & Thrive - Succession, Strategy, Sustainability & Search

Executive Search & Succession Planning for Nonprofits

National leaders on executive search, succession and sustainability planning for nonprofits 

Helping nonprofit leaders leverage turning points to build organizations that are stronger, more vibrant, and of greater service.

  • Succession Planning - We help clients anticipate and address changes in leadership that can make or break an organization. Read more.
  • Executive Search for CEOs and Sr. Managers - With deep expertise and a wealth of contacts in the nonprofit world, we find diverse, exceptional leaders who invigorate organizations. Read more.
  • Transition Management - Ensuring a smooth transition is just as important as hiring the right person. Our decades of experience will help you do both. Read more.
  • Organizational Sustainability - Leadership development is ongoing.  We help leaders identify and address challenges and build leadership teams for long-term bench strength. Read more.

Helping nonprofit leaders make the most of their turning points since 1993.


Chief Executive Search & Transition Services

Finding Exceptional Leaders for Nonprofits and Helping Nonprofits Make the Most of Leadership Change

Here’s what we offer to help you make a better choice:

  • Pre-search assessment and planning to help you calibrate the job to where your nonprofit is headed, not where it has been.
  • A national candidate database to build the strongest possible candidate pool and ensure diversity.
  • A nationwide and deep network of referral sources to target the best leadership in the nonprofit sector.
  • A rigorous and time-tested multi-stage interview process that brings the power and wisdom of our hundreds of searches to your selection process.
  • Unique executive transition management services that spot legacy issues that might otherwise undermine the new executive’s performance.
  • Post-hire services that help your new executive get off to a fast start by ensuing clarity about roles, goals and responsibilities.
  • Comprehensive Services and flat-rate pricing based on the actual work provides you with better, more comprehensive services than firms that provide “just search” and who charge an arbitrary percentage of salary.


Nonprofit Succession Planning

Helping Nonprofit Boards & CEOs Build Leaderful Organizations

Here's how we can help you build a leaderful team and ensure leadership continuity:

  • Reduced risk through Succession Basics - create a backup plan for unplanned absences of the chief executive (and the senior executive leadership if appropriate), and impliment a board-adpoted succession policy to address planned transitions. Minimize the risks of traumatic transitions and disruption to mission work when a planned or unplanned transition occurs.
  • Build a leaderful team through Leader Development and Talent Management Planning/Consulting - develop a plan that advances leader development in your organization and links leadership development to strategic goals and the business plan.  The plan also identifies training/developmental opportunities, provides guidance on senior management structure and identifies key hires to round out a team or skill sets. For larger organizations, more advanced planning results in a Talent Management Plan. Broaden and deepen your leadership team, help them grow and step up in new ways; deepen your "bench strength" around mission-critical competencies. Develop a develop a blueprint for growing the leadership team needed for long-term success; make senior management jobs more manageable.
  • Ensure continuity through Departure-Defined Succession Planning - assistance for chief executives and boards where the executive plans to leave in one to four years. A combination of coaching and planning focused on preparing the executive for his/her transition, strengthening the board, preparing the organization, and increasing leadership capacity in preparation for the transition. Provides executives with a clear exit and handoff while increasing the Board's and management team's fluency on leadership and leadership needs, and the link to strategic priorities.

Departure-Defined Succession Planning

Preparing Executives and Organizations for CEO Transitions Occurring in 1 to 4 Years 

Here's how we can guide the organizational and personal preparation that ensures a well-planned chief executive handoff:
  • Departure Coaching for the CEO – provide coaching to ensure that the CEO is ready – personally and professionally – for the transition.
  • Organizational Sustainability Review or Audit – conduct an in-depth review of the vital factors that most influence organizational sustainability; provides the information that will be key to transition planning and pre-transition capacity building work.
  • Succession Policy – craft a board-approved succession policy; guides the succession process and ensures that the board is versed on best practices in CEO succession/transition.
  • Emergency Backup Plan – draft a plan to cover short-term and permanent CEO absences; a critical risk management tool, the planning process illuminates bench depth issues and cross-training needs.
  • Transition Planning – develop the plan that clarifies the organization’s capacity-building needs and provides guidance to prepare the board and staff for the transition.
  • CEO Job Review & Planning – “unpack” the CEO’s job to determine critical accountabilities as well as responsibilities that are better delegated or reassigned; calibrates the job to future leadership needs.
  • Compensation Research – provide compensation comparisons; ensures that board has factual information regarding its competitiveness as an employer and time to make adjustments prior to the transition.

Senior Management Search Services

Helping Nonprofit Executives Build Strong, Talented Teams

Here's how we can help you find exceptional people to join your team:
  • Recruit for vacancies resulting from both planned and unplanned departures.
  • Help fill newly created senior management positions, including working with the client to define the position.
  • Plan the succession and handoff for senior management positions, especially those involving long-term incumbents.
  • Help organizations assess their management team bench depth and structure.
  • Develop emergency backup plans for senior management teams.
  • Senior management of nonprofits is our exclusive focus - chief executives, chief operating officers, program heads and chief development officers.


Sustainability Reviews & Planning Services

Helping Nonprofit Executives Build Organizational Strength & Capacity

  • Sustainability Review - a quick, affordable review of the organization’s strategies, leadership and resources. This brief review clarifies “the big questions” about strategy, leadership and resources resulting in a three to five page overview report.
  • Sustainability Audit - building off of the Sustainability Review, the Sustainability Audit takes a deeper look at the organization’s strategies, leadership and resources. Going beyond the “big questions” identified in the Review, we work with leaders to look at underlying issues and drivers. The Sustainability Audit includes an in-depth look at financial conditions and trends, a review of fund development performance and outlook, a thorough review of the organizational/business strategy, the program strategy and the operational strategy. The product is a comprehensive sustainability audit report with agreed on actions and alignment among the leadership about implementation.
  • Sustainability/Capacity Planning - building off of the Sustainability Review or the Sustainability Audit and using our time-tested Strategy Review and Leadership Planning model, we work with leaders to develop the roadmap to renew the organization’s strategies and business model, build leadership capacity and address identified resource challenges. The product is a comprehensive sustainability plan.
  • Change Management Support - sometimes the changes are so large that they require a wholesale rethinking of the organization and how it carries out its mission. This may mean a major shift in services, consolidation of existing programs, consideration of new collaborations or even a merger. Completing the Sustainability Audit clarifies the situation and the options. Change Management Support service provides a sounding board, thinking partner and experienced advisor on the implementation of the changes needed to successfully sustain the organization and mission work.



We Wrote the Books on Nonprofit Leadership Transition



The Nonprofit Leadership Transition and Development Guide: Proven Paths for Leaders and Organizations      
by Tom Adams

Chief Executive Transitions: How to Hire and Support a Nonprofit CEO        
by Don Tebbe
Click Here for More Information
Chief Executive Transitions:
How to Hire and Support a Nonprofit CEO
by Don Tebbe


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