Interim Executive Solutions: Leadership Capacity for Nonprofit Transitions

What Does Your Non Profit Organization Need?

About every 7.6 years Organizations may need an interim Executive Director.

According to a recent study out of Temple University and University of Missouri, focusing on small and medium size businesses, the average Executive Director holds office for 7.6 years, but the optimal tenure length is 4.8 years. Many Executive Directors lose their effectiveness too soon. Whether the Board intervenes at the earlier interval or the Executive Director exits for another opportunity, the change can be jolting to an organization. In many situations a transition can be easier with an interim Executive Director who can move the organization forward while helping the Board and staff to identify issues, assess future needs and work with the non-profit’s executive search firm to determine the qualifications needed in a new Executive Director. Interim Executive Solutions offers Boards, Foundations and Executive Search firms an opportunity to bring in seasoned Executive Directors to manage the non profit during this transition.

The interim executive director may just keep the wheels turning until a new executive director arrives.  But more typically, the interim works with the Board and staff to identify and fix internal operational problems so a new, permanent executive director can hit the ground with a running start.

Some nonprofits opt to coast through this period by asking a board member to sign paychecks and designating a current staff person to act as the executive director in the interim.  This option may work but the organization runs the risk of alienating the internal interim when that person is "demoted" on the arrival of a new interim.  It can also be a challenge for a current staffer to take on the task of fixing internal problems, while a professional IED can take the risk of being unpopular with the staff in or to move the organization forward.

What type of Interim Executive Director would make your organization's transition go more smoothly?

  • Placeholder?
  • Operating Procedures Reformer?
  • Problem Solver?

Situation: Building A Strong Executive Team?

Every nonprofit should have a "succession plan" and work on building a strong leadership team.

One or more of the members of the organization's leadership team may benefit from coaching to strengthen their management, operations and leadership skills.  Interim Executive Solutions' team members are trained to work closely, embedded in operations, with nonprofit organizations, to help them strengthen their internal capacity.  We can provide personal, one on one coaching for senior executive and board leaders on understanding the challenges of the role and on improving their capabilities.

Situation: Non Profit Needs Time to Plan for the Future?

Board and Staff need extra time to clarify their vision for the next stage in the non profit's life. 

While sometimes the Board may decide that a good IED, hired when the executive director position is vacated, is just what is needed to "turn around" the organization.

Perhaps the organization has some specific, difficult challenges that can be addressed by an interim manager creating a healthy environment for the arrival of a new, permanent Executive Director.   The Board may look for an IED with some of these attributes:   Operating Procedures Reformer,  Team Builder,  Problem Solver.

Don't wait.  IES  can assist with risk assessment, analysis and strategic planning for the organization, as the organization anticipates  a need for growth, a turn around or future challenges.  Our team members are trained to work as part of the nonprofit organization, not as external consultants, to help envision the risks and opportunities that lay ahead.

In some situations the organization may require additional specialized short term assistance.  IES, through it's NonProfit Transitions office, can provide the following additional short term special services to our client organizations:

  • Strategic Planning
  • Fundraising and Development Planning
  • Software Review, Assessment and Recommendations
  • Human Resources Guidelines Review, Assessment and Recommendations