Onboarding a New Nonprofit CEO – Tools and Activities

You have just hired a new senior executive. Congratulations! Now what?

When the search activities conclude, the transition continues and a well-planned onboarding process is critical. In the best scenario, a transition task force (which might be the search committee) will have contact with the new executive in the period from offer acceptance to first day on the job. Having a plan for this “in-between” time will make onboarding go more smoothly. It will also permit the transition task force to discuss onboarding with the new executive to learn what she/he would like included.

Onboarding a new nonprofit executive may seem daunting. Depending on the size and complexity of an organization, it may be. A nonprofit organization should always have a plan for orienting new staff. For a senior position, it would likely need to be enhanced to match the magnitude of the role. Thinking through the high-level expectations for the new executive leads to a sharp focus on the goals for onboarding and thus, the related tools and activities that are part of it.

Thanksgiving Edition: Sharing the Bounty

At this time of year, I’m especially grateful to my clients, colleagues, and friends for the privilege of working and growing together. I’d like to share a few things that I’ve learned along the way – from you!

One of the great things about working with nonprofit leaders is the opportunity to learn new practices that are working for their organizations. These learnings are worth sharing with others across the nonprofit sector. Yet when nonprofit leaders gather with colleagues, it is usually with others in their field. It is not necessarily routine, for example, for a leader of a social service agency to meet with one from an arts organization. In my work with nonprofits of all kinds – arts, education, human services, community development, housing, and foundations – I often find myself as a conduit for this cross-pollination.