Succession Planning – It’s Not Just About the Executive Director

Succession planning can be a challenging and emotional process; it can also be inspiring and enriching. It begins with a look at the values the organization wants to perpetuate and the things board, staff and supporters love and admire about the current leadership. Succession planning builds on the past and present and looks ahead to where the fresh energy and vision of a new leader might take your organization.

Hopefully every organization has some kind of emergency succession plan. This is ...

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Succession Planning – Transitioning Key Relationships

Stewarding relationships with major donors, board members, government contacts, and other significant stakeholders is one of the main responsibilities for any chief executive. Any change in leadership requires planning for how key relationships will be transferred to the new, incoming leadership, as well as managed during any transition period.

Consider three basic scenarios for Leadership Transitions:

  • Unplanned – a sudden situation where the organization unexpectedly learns the leader is departing, with little or no opportunity to prepare;
  • Planned – advance notice, with a ...
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The Changing Nature of Conferences

Technology has changed everything – including the purpose and format of meetings!

No one has to travel to get information anymore, all the information we need is at our finger tips at our desks or laptops. The real value in coming together is sharing in the collective wisdom and creativity of fellow attendees.

Rethinking conferences also means rethinking the roles of presenters and moderators. Abdale Consulting utilizes several new formats including:

Talk Show
Presenters are guests and the moderator is an interviewer. Questions ...

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Term Limits for Executive Directors

Lots of people talk about term limits for board members, and even the President of the United States is limited to eight years of service, but no one seems to consider term limits for Executive Directors of nonprofit organizations.

Let’s face it – once you have decided that this is the job from which you will retire, there is a natural tendency to make sure that the boat never rocks. Consciously or unconsciously, one tends to play it safe in ...

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Emotional Challenges of Leadership in a Tough Economy

Leadership in this economy poses more emotional challenges than at any other time in my experience. Executive Directors have to reduce or cut services to clients in desperate need, let good people go despite years of faithful service, conduct difficult conversations with donors who may be embarrassed or ashamed that they can no longer contribute, and be the emotional rock that everyone looks to for support and a positive attitude.

On top of this, they have to manage the fear and ...

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Old Dog / New Trick

I just finished the Interim Executive Leadership training at New York’s Support Center for Nonprofit Management. It was a great experience. There’s nothing like a new tool in the toolbox to reinvigorate your marketing efforts, stimulate your creativity and expand your horizons.

The session was incredibly informative, well run and reflective of the general level of excellence that defines all the Support Center’s work. The other trainees were a great group of people – all from disparate but nonetheless impressive backgrounds.

It ...

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Budget Cuts

“I’ve made many sacrifices, but I have never compromised.”Karl Lagerfeld

Budget cuts are everywhere and no matter how one approaches the process, it is a painful and challenging operation. A big temptation is to institute across-the-board cuts that require every department to cut the same percentage. This can be the easiest approach and appear to be the most democratic but it can also lead to decisions that are ultimately not in the organization’s best interests. For example, cutting development ...

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About the Abdale Consulting Logo

about_our_logoBased on a contemporary Buddhist symbol our logo represents the convergence of altruism and pragmatism and the unstoppable wave of positive energy that occurs when both these principles meet in equal measure.

This concept – the equal balance of altruism and pragmatism – is at the core of all our services.  Too much focus on the the altruistic can lead to decisions that ignore financial realities or other necessary components of a healthy ...

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Nonprofit Bankruptcies

There was an article in the New York Times on Friday, February 20, 2009 about an upturn in nonprofits using Chapter 11 and Chapter 7 of the bankruptcy laws.

It was interesting and somewhat depressing but my main reaction was “Why isn’t this article in the Business Section?” It would be if any other economic sector was being profiled.

Is anyone pushing policy makers and legislators to consider the nonprofit sector as a significant and integral part of the overall economy?  The nonprofit sector should ...

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Operating in Difficult Times

Running a successful organization is a challenge even in the best of economic times, but these days it can be considerably daunting. However, difficult times can offer tremendous opportunities for leadership, if we can remain forward looking, unafraid and generous despite the fear and paralysis around us. Difficult times distill us to our essence and test our determination and commitment. Without money to throw at a problem we are forced to confront challenges with a different perspective and become creative ...

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