Interim Leadership: New Directions in Nonprofit Leadership Succession

A new profession has emerged over the past 8 to 10 years – the interim executive leader and the Support Center and peer organizations across the country have worked to create easy access to interim executives. The typical interim executive has extensive experience in the nonprofit sector working at high levels in organizations and is skilled at quickly understanding the job at hand and leading the charge for a stable, thoughtful and successful succession process. Our friends at Third Sector New England list the possible reasons that organizations might opt for an interim executive including:

  • Efficient use of time. Hiring an interim Executive Director (ED) gives the organization the space it needs to reflect, organize a search process, and prepare for the new ED. It also prevents hiring the wrong candidate in a “rush” or “emergency” situation.
  • An interim ED can help to provide stability to an organization in turmoil.
  • Objectivity when most needed. The nonprofit wants a strong, clear, unbiased, internal operations analysis which the new interim ED can provide. An outside person may be able to better handle staff evaluations and dismissals than peer staff or board members.
  • Staff is already overworked. Hiring an interim ED balances the workload for staff in the time of crisis. This is especially true among small nonprofits where board volunteers may double as staff already. Oftentimes, one or more of the staff is applying for the position.

At the Support Center, we now have a core pool of trained interim executives – executive directors, chief operating officers, chief development professionals, and senior financial folks – available to stabilize operations and give organizations the time they need to identify their real needs going forward and the right candidate to fill those needs.

In conjunction with the Support Center’s Executive Search service, we have provided professional preparation to nearly 300 interim executive leaders for service to the nonprofit sector. Want to know more about our executive search or interim leadership programs? Please click here to find out more.


View Third Sector New England’s article here.

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