Day 6: Find Your Successor

By Carol E. Weisman
From Build a Better Board in 30 Days, F.E. Robbins & Sons, 1998, pp. 33-4

You’ve joined the board of a nonprofit organization, not the bench of the United States Supreme Court. This is not a lifetime appointment.

Looking for a replacement early provides an escape route should you be unable to fulfill your duties for any reason and empowers other board members by succession planning.

When searching for a replacement do not promise that your choice will have your position when you vacate it. You may not have that authority, and if the person does a poor job, you will want the option to look elsewhere.

To groom a likely candidate, ask him or her to co-chair a committee or project with you. This is an opportunity to impart knowledge and to find out how the other person works. 

Your successor should have an understanding of the mission of your organization, an ability to adapt to or improve the culture of the organization, and finally, an ability to motivate and work with people. 

Finding a replacement will ensure the future of your nonprofit and promote your own mental health.

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