Category

Organizational + Personal Development

Director of Development Opportunities with JB+A Client Covenant Retirement Communities

By | All Posts, Current Events/News, News You Can Use, Organizational + Personal Development | No Comments

JB+A Client Covenant Retirement Communities is a faith-based organization providing retirement housing and senior care. From the establishment of its first community – Covenant Home of Chicago in 1886 – to becoming the fifth-largest not-for-profit Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) sponsor in the LeadingAge Ziegler Top 150, its goal has been to provide outstanding care and services to senior adults.

A ministry of the Evangelical Covenant Church, Covenant Retirement Communities is headquartered in suburban Chicago and operates 12 Continuing Care Retirement Communities across the U.S. Each community offers a comfortably independent and active lifestyle, creating joy and peace of mind for residents and their families by providing a better way of life.

Covenant Retirement Communities’ 12 CCRC communities are:

  • Covenant Shores (Mercer Island, WA)
  • Covenant Village of Colorado (Westminster, CO)
  • Covenant Village of Cromwell (Cromwell, CT)
  • Covenant Village of Florida (Plantation, FL)
  • Covenant Village of Golden Valley (Golden Valley, MN)
  • Covenant Village of the Great Lakes (Grand Rapids, MI)
  • Covenant Village of Northbrook (Northbrook, Ill)
  • Covenant Village of Turlock (Turlock, CA)
  • The Holmstad (Batavia, Ill)
  • Mount Miguel Covenant Village (Spring Valley, CA)
  • The Samarkand (Santa Barbara, CA)
  • Windsor Park (Carol Stream, Ill)

Strengthening the Mission of Covenant Retirement Communities through Enhanced Fundraising

Covenant Retirement Communities is taking steps to ensure it is prepared to meet the needs of a growing senior population.  It is currently developing a plan to grow its resources to support a significantly larger Benevolent Care endowment fund, programs and special capital projects. A historic fundraising effort seeking contributions from a variety of donors will help provide the reassurance current and future residents need to live in an environment of grace and peace.

Covenant Retirement Communities is searching for qualified fundraising professionals to serve as Directors of Development in three of its communities:

Background

The Director of Development (DOD) works with the Executive Director to develop and manage a comprehensive fundraising program on the campus. This position has the responsibility to secure philanthropic support through annual gifts, major gifts and legacy gifts with an aggressive focus on outright major gifts from non-resident sources to support the campus benevolent care program needs. The DOD is responsible for the planning, administration and implementation of development goals, objectives and initiatives of the community.

Responsibilities

This position respectfully interacts with and maintains positive relationships, with residents, resident family members, visitors and employees, practicing honesty and integrity in all aspects of job performance. In performance of duties, the Director of Development is entrusted with the following responsibilities:

  • Develop and execute an annual campus fundraising plan (including specific metrics for funds raised and other goals to be achieved).
  • Secure financial support from a portfolio of residents, families, and other individuals as well as vendors, churches and other organizations.
  • Develop, maintain, and track ongoing relationships with major donors.
  • Create and execute the strategy for growing a sustained base of annual fund individual donors (residents, families and other individuals).
  • Monitor and evaluate all fundraising activities to ensure that the fundraising goals are being achieved (including: total dollars raised, total dollars solicited, number of asks made, and number of gifts received).
  • Develop and manage timelines for various fundraising activities to ensure strategic plans and critical fundraising processes are carried out in a timely manner.
  • Develop and manage the donor recognition program including events, the donor recognition wall and donor lists.
  • Oversee the campus fundraising database coordinator to make sure gift entry and acknowledgment is done on a timely basis and ensure that donor/prospect profile information is current and accurate.
  • Perform other related responsibilities as assigned.

Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s Degree.
  • 5-7 years of relationship-building fundraising experience with an emphasis on personal solicitation of annual, major and planned gifts.
  • Demonstrated comfort and experience with identifying, cultivating, closing, and stewarding significant gifts ($20,000+).
  • Demonstrated experience collaborating with site leadership in developing fundraising strategies and plans/metrics to meet fundraising goals.
  • Strong relationship management.
  • A commitment to the mission and values of Covenant Retirement Communities as a faith-based organization.

Application Instructions

For consideration, candidates should submit a cover letter, resume and three professional references. Your cover letter should articulate your experience and qualifications for the position. Please send materials to: CRCExecSearch@FundraisingJBA.com and put the name of the community in which you are interested in the subject line.

Covenant Retirement Communities believes it is a great place to work. Covenant Retirement Communities believes its employees are inspired to serve. Covenant Retirement Communities believes in making a difference in other’s lives. Covenant Retirement Communities has approximately 3,200 employees serving more than 5,000 residents in its nationwide family of continuing care retirement communities and home health. Construction and development continue on several of its campuses, ensuring ever more exciting opportunities for employees to serve residents.

For full time employees, CRC offers a generous benefits package that includes medical, dental and vision insurance; employer paid group term life and disability, Paid Time Off (PTO) and six paid holidays; a 403(b) with a 3% employer match and other various voluntary benefits such as Life, AD&D; tuition assistance and scholarships; employee assistance program; legal services, home/auto insurance, discount purchasing program; pet insurance and fitness center use at most facilities.

Covenant Retirement Communities is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, religion, national origin or ancestry, age, disability, marital status, pregnancy, protected veteran status, protected genetic information, or any other characteristics protected by local laws, regulations, or ordinances.

Join JB+A and Nonprofit Connect for Anne Wallestad and 501(c)Success on April 26

By | All Posts, Events, News You Can Use, Organizational + Personal Development | No Comments

Anne Wallestad
President and CEO BoardSource

Recognizing the critical partnership between boards and executives, and the impact of that partnership on overall organizational success, BoardSource helps nonprofit leaders invest in their leadership partnership by providing research, thought leadership and practical supports that help transform board structures, dynamics and perspectives.

Check out Anne’s thoughts on the power of boards in “Don’t Just Sit on a Board: Stand for Your Mission” from Huffington Post.

Anne was appointed to her position in 2013, after having served on BoardSource’s leadership team for nearly five years. She has overseen a period of remarkable growth and change, helping BoardSource expand its leadership voice and build a scalable model of program delivery that has resulted in a more than 200 percent growth in the number of leaders served. She has played an instrumental role in the launch of several new leadership initiatives including the Stand for Your Mission campaign, which challenges board leaders to play a stronger role in advocacy and public policy.

With 20 years of executive leadership experience in the nonprofit sector, Anne has worked closely with boards of directors and volunteers in a number of national and local organizations and has cultivated deep expertise in fundraising strategy and leveraging the board’s fundraising role. She has served on a number of advisory committees and panels, including the Commission on Accountability and Policy for Religious Organizations Panel on the Nonprofit Sector and Independent Sector’s 2014 Ethics & Accountability Advisory Committee. Under her leadership, BoardSource has been recognized as a finalist for the prestigious Drucker Prize for innovation and named a Best Nonprofit to Work For in 2016 and 2017. Anne herself has been honored as one of The Nonprofit Times’ “Power & Influence Top 50.”

Anne graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Drake University, with degrees in both sociology and English. She is also a graduate of Stanford University Graduate School of Business’ Executive Program for Nonprofit Leaders.

Be sure to register for the first 501(c) Success Series program of 2018 featuring Anne Wallestad, President & CEO of BoardSource, a globally recognized organization focused on strengthening nonprofit board and executive leadership.

Thursday, April 26, 2018
7:30 – 9:00 AM
7:30 AM – Continental breakfast served
7:55 AM – Program starts

Kauffman Foundation Conference Center
4801 Rockhill Road
Kansas City, MO 64110

Fees/Admission
$25 – Nonprofit Connect members
$50 – Nonmembers
(A light breakfast will be served.)

501 (c) Success National Speaker Series 2018

By | All Posts, Current Events/News, News You Can Use, Organizational + Personal Development | No Comments

Mark Your Calendars

JB+A is a proud sponsor of the 501(c)Success National Speaker Series, a program of Nonprofit Connect. Committed to ensuring you have access to solid, informative and thought-provoking discussions on topics that affect your daily work in the nonprofit sector, this Speaker Series brings the brightest national thought leaders to Kansas City, to discuss progressive topics that are relevant and timely in our industry.

You won’t want to miss the fantastic presenters lined up for 2018:

Anne Wallestad – April 26

Anne Wallestad serves as president and CEO of BoardSource, a globally-recognized nonprofit focused on strengthening nonprofit leadership at the highest level — the Board of directors.

Reserve your spot and register now.

Dr. Patrick Rooney – June 15 – Giving USA 2018: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2017

Dr. Rooney is Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Research and Professor of Economics and Philanthropic Studies at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, and annually presents Giving USA, the longest-running and most comprehensive evaluation of philanthropic trends in the United States, here in Kansas City.

Erik Daubert – September 11

Erik is regarded as a leader in the areas of financial development and nonprofit management. In addition to a broad based career in nonprofits, he has also served as a consultant and founding partner in multiple nonprofit and for-profit organizations.

All 2018 programs will be held at the Kauffman Foundation Conference Center.  Stay tuned for more updates and information about our presenters.

Philanthropy is Business…and That’s OK

By | All Posts, Boards + Leadership, Capacity Building, Commentary, Fiscal Management, News You Can Use, Organizational + Personal Development, Strategic Planning, Uncategorized | No Comments

As we close out another year with the turn of the calendar to January, many of us spend some time reflecting on the lessons learned over the past 12 months while setting organizational goals for the year ahead.  We need to take the time, not only to do this on a personal and organizational basis, but as a profession.  I think it is important that as a sector we take stock of where we have been, where we are and where we need to go in order to stay nimble – while continuing to increase our meaningful societal significance.  We can all agree that the times they are a changing.

As we continue to march our way through the second decade of the new millennium, the nonprofit sector looks much different than it did even two years ago, let alone in 2000.   Technological tools, data analytics, interpersonal communication options, physical work environments and service delivery are just a few of the ways our work world is rapidly changing. Corporations are now focused on social enterprise; the conversations and perceptions of how they make social impact are changing.  Are we as a sector ready for this?

Unfortunately, the nonprofit sector is not always known for its adaptability or quick response to change.  Misguidedly, we often reject the idea of “running a nonprofit like a business” which causes our sector to be perceived as accepting a “status quo” or “this is the way we have always done it” mentality.  This also reinforces the expectations of “minimal overhead ratios,” “outputs vs. outcomes” and the proverbial misperception that we need to be “saved” by the for-profit sector.  Not surprisingly, this continues to cause tension and maintain an undercurrent of lack of respect and frustration felt by us as the practitioners of social good.

“Failure” is still a bad word among our sector and is not celebrated as a learning experience, as it is with our corporate counterparts, due to how funding for such projects is obtained.  With few dollars available for venture philanthropy, the competition is fierce, limiting the ability for innovative solutions to be discovered and rapidly implemented across subsectors.

My hope for 2018 is that we as a sector begin to be as recognized for our specialties, expertise and impact as our for-profit counterparts. I hope we embrace the fact that at the end of the day, we too are in business – the business of doing good for our community, country and world.  Our work is vital to the economic and social success of our county.  We are the second largest employer behind manufacturing. Our products are safe housing options, research to find cures for disease and hot meals for the homeless.  Our services include removing barriers to education and job skills training, mentorship, mental health programs and youth interventions.

How can this mentality be implemented in our nonprofit organizations this year? Let’s walk before we run.  Invest in team training on business skills, contribute to cross sector conversations, attend networking events, read traditional “best business practices books” and implement key ideas, have a Board focus group to discuss and update strategic plans.  Set one, three- and five-year program and fundraising goals. Seemingly small steps can make big results for our stakeholders and those we serve. Let’s seize the opportunity to do business in 2018, but not as business as usual!

Leadership is Fundraising, Says the Philanthropy Professor

By | Commentary, Fundraising, Organizational + Personal Development, Uncategorized | No Comments

JB+A is pleased to share this blog from Dr. Amir Pasic, our friend and colleague.  Dr. Pasic, the Eugene R. Tempel Dean and Professor of Philanthropic Studies at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, joined us in Kansas City on September 14 for a special presentation on the value of research and how it informs leadership and fundraising success.

I like to praise the virtues of excellent fundraising in pursuit of a great mission conducted ethically by leaders of exemplary integrity. Seasoned fundraisers, wherever they sit within an organization or in its supporting environment, understand the virtuous cycle that appears with a successful fundraising program. There is focus on strategic priorities, buy-in from inside the organization and throughout the community of supporters, clear plans for interacting with donors and friends across all segments and phases of engagement, and there is celebration of the people who provide the resources that enable progress in pursuit of the organization’s vital vision.

I often wonder if leadership that does not emulate the process of fundraising even makes sense. When does a leader not ask others to do things differently, or to stop doing certain things, or to let go of possessions or practices, which they then do willingly and happily? And not only do I like to think of leadership and fundraising as synonyms in many ways, but as fundraising practitioners well know, your title or your position does not necessarily reflect your ability to succeed. Indeed, virtuosos of leadership and fundraising manage to make a difference regardless of their official position.

In such challenging and often ambiguous situations how does one grasp what to focus on and decide where to direct one’s activity? One key resource that any leader needs is research. How do we know what works, and just as importantly, what does not? How can we understand the complexity of what motivates a donor? How can we assess the impact of our efforts? And, in the bigger picture, how can we hope to address societal problems or develop effective strategies unless we have reliable insight into new developments in our field and into the patterns and trends that help us understand the ever-changing context within which we work. Rigorous, high quality research is an important component in virtually all aspects of the work of philanthropy, and it is through better research that we will achieve even better results.

Check out a recap of Dr. Pasic’s presentation in Kansas City.

Dr. Amir Pasic, the Eugene R. Tempel Dean and Professor of Philanthropic Studies at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy Joined us in Kansas City

By | All Posts, Commentary, Events, Fundraising, News You Can Use, Organizational + Personal Development | No Comments

Dr. Pasic spoke to a captive audience at the Kauffman Foundation Conference Center on September 14 as part of Nonprofit Connect’s 501(c)Success National Speaker Series.  Dr. Pasic, the Eugene R. Tempel Dean and Professor of Philanthropic Studies at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, shared his expertise and experience in the value of research, and how we can use this valuable tool to improve fundraising and philanthropy.

Dr. Pasic reminded us that essentially, leadership is fundraising, and asked the poignant question, “If a leader isn’t fundraising, is he really a leader?” Dr. Pasic pointed out leadership and fundraising both involve 1) building relationships, 2) engaging, asking and recognizing and 3) creating vision and buy-in. Check out Dr. Pasic’s blog on this very topic.

Key highlights from Dr. Pasic’s presentation included some great examples of people putting research into action:

  • Jane Chu, PhD, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts (Rockhurst grad, Lilly Family School of Philanthropy alum and previous director of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts Center) and how she used research to illustrate the impact of the arts and cultural industries on the nation’s gross domestic product.
  • Giving USA: The Annual Report on Philanthropy, measures the financial scope of philanthropy in the U.S. and is fundamental to fundraising. The seminal report on charitable giving, Giving USA is the longest-running and most comprehensive evaluation of philanthropic trends in the United States. Giving USA is published by the Giving USA Foundation and is researched and written by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

Dr. Pasic also pointed out that in addition to utilizing research for evaluation or benchmarking purposes, we can also use research to help identify impact, areas needing funding and other issues in our sector, such as recruiting and retaining talent.

Jeffrey Byrne (JB+A), Dr. Amir Pasic and Lewis Gregory (US Trust)

Dr. Pasic also address some of the “hot topics” in fundraising research now, such as Crowdfunding, Donor-Advised Funds and disaster giving. Crowdfunding is on the rise, and in 2015, $34.44 billion was generated in Crowdfunding, with $2.8 billion of that total raised for formal charitable purposes.

The prevalence of Donor-Advised Funds is increasing as well, both in the number of funds and the total assets held within them:  in 2006, there were 140,000 DAFs holding assets of $33.6 billion.  By 2016, those figures had grown to 269,000 and $78.6 billion respectively.  And in 2015, Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund unseated United Way Worldwide as the largest fundraising charity, having collected $4.6 billion. And three of the Top 10 largest fundraising charities on the list are commercial DAFs: Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund, Schwab Charitable Fund and National Christian Foundation. More than half of all DAFs are held in commercial funds and this hot topic is raising questions about their usage: what are the benefits versus the costs to society and the nonprofit sector?  What is the overall impact?  Are DAFS displacing other forms of giving?

The Lilly Family School of Philanthropy has been tracking disaster giving since the attacks of 9/11.  Typically following a disaster, we see a sharp uptick in donations in the first six weeks, with continued moderate growth through six months then finally leveling out.  Celebrities are very prominent in disaster giving (J.J. Watt raised more than $30 million for Hurricane Harvey relief) and the key element in disaster giving is mass participation.  And in times of disaster, we overcome our differences and unite as one force to help those in need.

Dr. Pasic discussed the different types of research:

  • quantitative studies (such as Giving USA, Million Dollar List and The Salvation Army Human Needs Index)
  • experiments (take us away from our “rules of thumb” and comfort zones, but help us discover more effective ways of doing things)
  • humanities (qualitative exploration – such as the Smithsonian Exhibit on Philanthropy (Giving in America is a permanent exhibit that looks at the historical role of philanthropy in shaping the United States)
  • studies of the profession (gender composition of the field, diversity in the field and other issues like compensation and tenure
  • public policy (tax reform, regulations, ethical guidelines for dealing with grateful patients and better educating legislators about our field)

Research asks the questions, in a variety of ways, “Why do things fail? Why do things succeed?”  Bottom line, research helps us cultivate judgement, create communities of discovery and develop leaders – all of which will help us strengthen philanthropy and our world.

Join JB+A, U.S. Trust and Nonprofit Connect for Dr. Amir Pasic on Thursday, September 14

By | All Posts, Boards + Leadership, Current Events/News, Events, Fundraising, Organizational + Personal Development | No Comments

Dr. Amir Pasic is the Eugene R. Tempel Dean and Professor of Philanthropic Studies at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Pasic leads the world’s first school devoted to the study and teaching of philanthropy.

The school is an internationally recognized leader in philanthropy education, research and training and is dedicated to improving philanthropy to benefit the world by training and empowering students and professionals to be innovators and leaders who create positive and lasting change.

Dr. Pasic will address how an organization’s leadership and fundraising staff must be focused on the same things to make fundraising efforts successful. How do leaders and fundraising practitioners grasp what to focus on and decide where to direct their activity? One key resource that any leader needs is research:

  • How do we know what works, and just as importantly, what does not?
  • How can we understand the complexity of what motivates a donor?
  • How can we assess the impact of our efforts?
  • How can we hope to address societal problems or develop effective strategies unless we have reliable insight into new developments in our field?

Rigorous, high-quality research is an important component in virtually all aspects of the work of philanthropy, and it is through better research that we will achieve even better results.  Join us to meet Dr. Pasic and discuss how research can inform success.

Reserve your spot and register here.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

7:30 – 9:00 a.m.
7:30 a.m. – Breakfast | 7:55 a.m. – Program
Kauffman Foundation Conference Center
4801 Rockhill Road
Kansas City, MO 64110
JB+A is a proud sponsor of the 2017 501(c)Success National Speaker Series,
a program of Nonprofit Connect
501(c) Success National Speaker Series

Do Your Homework, Sit Still and LISTEN

By | All Posts, Donor Cultivation, Fundraising, Major Gift Solicitation, News You Can Use, Organizational + Personal Development, Prospect Research, Volunteers | No Comments

Jeffrey D. Byrne, President + CEO

We know to do our homework on prospective donors. You’ve heard me say time and again “Don’t commit fundraising malpractice!” (See my blog piece on the benefits of prospect research here.)That means do your research – because it reveals information about the wealth and capacity of prospects as well as information about philanthropic giving history, community involvement, natural partners and connections. And your donor database should contain important notes about your prospects and interactions with them. Prepare for your visit.

Sitting still tells your audience you really care about what they should say. Don’t shuffle your papers. Don’t check your phone. Don’t fidget. Sitting still lets you hear what your prospective donor should tell you about their life story and experiences – maybe even how a single instance changed their life. You can learn why they are passionate about your organization and its mission.

I believe in order to be a great fundraiser, you have to be a good – if not great – listener. Human nature might urge you to fill quiet moments with a remark or an anecdote. Of course you are nervous, and anxious to impress. You certainly want to make a connection you can build upon later. But it is in those quiet moments that you, as a volunteer or professional, can learn the most.  Waiting for the prospective donor to share might result in hearing firsthand how your healthcare institution saved their life. You might learn a relative was a long-time volunteer. You might learn how an agency similar to yours provided their mother with safety and refuge from domestic violence.  Resist the urge to talk about yourself.  Ask prospective donors about themselves…and then listen to what they say. Some good lead-ins might include:

  • “Tell me more about that …”
  • “What did she/he say about that…?”
  • “What happened next …?”
  • “What made you decide to …?”

You get the idea. You can think up your own list of “conversation engagers” that will help you get to know your prospective donor and involve them in the meeting. The bottom line is this: regardless of with whom you are meeting, when you get your prospective donors talking about themselves – when you ask about them – your prospective donor will come away from the visit feeling much more satisfied and positive about you and your organization than if you had used the time trying to tell them the 50 wonderful things you are doing to make a difference.

However, all of this doesn’t mean you should not educate your listeners about your organization and your mission. I’d suggest you use the 80/20 rule. Inform 20 percent of the time and LISTEN the other 80 percent.

In training staff and volunteers to make major gift solicitations, we place considerable emphasis on setting the appointment, sharing the vision and asking for the gift. Think about all the times we practice the script for the call or role-play the visit.  But how often do we practice listening? If you have volunteers who are reluctant to go on solicitation calls, think about how can coaching them on listening style can help them overcome their jitters about making the “ask.”

And finally, care about what’s being said and commit it to memory. Make notes when you leave if you need to capture details. This kind of active listening and remembering stems from truly caring about the donor. Don’t let the lure of a gift keep you from truly caring and listening to the prospective donor’s words. If you are listening and caring (and, of course, remembering to ask for the gift,) the gift will come.

Women in Philanthropy: Where Are We Headed?

By | All Posts, Commentary, Events, News You Can Use, Organizational + Personal Development | One Comment

By Katie Lord, Vice President

What are some of the complexities, challenges and contradictions you see in women’s philanthropy today? What do you want this narrative in the 21st century to include?

On March 14th and 15th more than 300 women congregated in Chicago to address these very issues, and I was one of them.  My participation in the 2017 “Dream. Dare. Do. Women, Philanthropy and Civil Society” Symposium made me very aware of the diverse array of women participating in philanthropy, and even more committed to strengthening our role in the sector.  This event is hosted by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute of Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, and sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  Dr. Deborah Mesch was the chair of this year’s event. Dr. Mesch presented “Women in Philanthropy” last year at the JB+A-sponsored Nonprofit Connect 501 (c) Success National Speaker Series.

Held every three years, this two-day symposium brings women philanthropists, fundraisers, funders and organizations together to discuss advancing women-related fundraising causes, women working in the field of philanthropy and raising the profile of women donors and philanthropists.  As part of this year’s focus, attendees were exposed to ways women can dream, dare and do more to advance women at all levels of the field through specific channels of change.

As part of the “dream” section, discussions centered around organizational flexibility to change, including addressing gender and generational differences head on with our donors and constituents, embracing risk-taking in our organizations through venture philanthropy, innovative programming and collaborations with other nonprofits as well as public organizations.

Next, participants were asked to “dare” to think outside the box of traditional philanthropy through emerging nontraditional verticals, including pursuing social entrepreneurship partnerships in business and startup communities, social impact investing partnerships within the financial sector, and the rise of giving circles and collaborations through community foundations and special interest/affinity groups.

Finally, we were challenged to go back home and “do more.” This includes bringing women philanthropists and organizations to larger audiences and making sure we are having a seat at the table at all levels of organizational involvement.  Women still are underrepresented on nonprofit boards, in executive positions within foundations and nonprofit organizations and are often left out of the donor cultivation process, even though most are the key decision makers for financial and philanthropic decisions within their households.

This conversation is timely. With access to more wealth than ever before—some say as much as $13.2 trillion in North America alone—women’s voices, leadership and resources are needed more than ever to address the pressing challenges in our country and around the world.  I know the conversation will continue with this Symposium attendee.  I am grateful for the support of the Women in Philanthropy Institute and the research it provides to help cultivate women donors and to help move the needle.  If you would like additional information on the topics discussed at the Symposium, or are interested in moving the needle, please contact me at klord@fundraisingjba.com or at 816-237-1999.

“Interim CEO”: Frequently an Integral Element to a Successful Transition

By | All Posts, Boards + Leadership, Capacity Building, Commentary, News You Can Use, Organizational + Personal Development, Strategic Planning | No Comments

susan_cropped-267x300Susan Spaulding, Founder & Lead Consultant, Recalibrate Strategies

Editor’s Note:  We are pleased to introduce Susan Spaulding as a guest contributor. Susan is the Founder and Lead Consultant of Recalibrate Strategies, helping companies grow their business.  Susan applies proven marketing systems to recalibrate businesses and their brands by collaboratively creating a success blueprint and facilitating a process that harnesses insights, generates new ideas and provides a strategic roadmap.  Susan has more than 30 years of experience as a CEO, entrepreneur and marketing expert with exceptional leadership and facilitation skills.

Optimally, a CEO departure announcement includes naming the new CEO. This is often the case when the current CEO gives the board ample notice of retirement plans, or if the current CEO is being promoted or re-assigned within the parent company. And, if the CEO departure is the result of an ongoing performance issue, the board should be prepared to announce the new CEO immediately.

However, in practice naming an interim CEO is frequent. Reasons are varied (1), and include:

  1. A succession plan is lacking or not up-to-date. The board isn’t prepared to name a successor CEO.
  2. The CEO needs to step away from his/her role for a period of time – often for a personal or family health issue – but expects to resume the CEO position.
  3. The board believes it’s in the best interest of the company to appoint an interim CEO. Perhaps the desired CEO is not available immediately, or the board decides to deviate from the succession plan for whatever reason.

Roles of Interim CEOs
While interim CEO roles can be as varied as reasons for needing interim CEOs, below are primary roles interim CEOs fill.

  1. Keep the company on course and on strategy until a permanent CEO is selected.
  2. Execute a company turn around – usually following CEO and/or company performance issues. The interim CEO is more likely to be selected from outside the company, and have turnaround experience.
  3. “Trying out” a potential permanent replacement can indicate the board is leaning toward selecting this individual as CEO, but need to see how the individual handles the position temporarily.

What’s critical for any interim CEO appointment is clarity between the individual and the board on responsibilities and primary objectives. It’s critical for the interim CEO to have ready access to board members. Consistent support from the board is critical for the interim CEO, for company employees and for external shareholders/stakeholders watching closely to assess company leadership and overall stability.

Importance of Acting Swiftly
In general, an interim CEO is needed due to a former CEO’s sudden departure. However, in some cases the need for a new CEO – interim or otherwise – was clear much earlier than the decision was made.

Sometimes when a CEO becomes ill, they and the board choose to believe – sometimes with diagnoses and inability to carry out responsibilities indicating otherwise – the CEO’s illness will not prevent him/her from maintaining a reasonable productivity level. The fear of negative impact, internally and externally, from announcing this “weakness” sometimes prevents timely disclosure of reality.

Example (2, 4): Apple’s Steve Jobs both refused to accept appropriate cancer treatment and board recommendations to disclose his illness. Rather, he elected (allowed by the board) to keep his illness secret. He later took a leave of absence. Tim Cook took on the role of interim CEO three times (2004, 2009 and 2011) before actually being named CEO.

Similarly, given performance issues, the board should be particularly well prepared to name a new CEO.

Often the reluctance to disclose the situation, and move forward with a new CEO is based more on emotional responses than on objective assessment of what is best for the company.

Looking Forward
Several sudden CEO departures have been in the news within the past year. Each situation varies. However, what appears consistent is a board ill-prepared for the CEO’s sudden departure. Given the acknowledged importance of succession planning, it’s concerning to witness multiple situations where succession plans are not simply implemented.

Per The Conference Board (3), boards spend an average of two hours annually discussing succession planning. Clearly the topic deserves more attention.

Recalibrating Actions:

  1. What is the status of your company’s succession plan? Is it up-to-date? Does it include contingency plans? Does it encompass roles below that of the CEO? Does it include replacement plans for those who step up to fill an open role?
  2. Ensure there is a written agreement in place between the board and the CEO that addresses unexpected situations like a personal or family illness. Then, if such a situation arises, it is the board’s responsibility to follow through on the agreement.
  3. Succession planning – certainly inclusive of, but not limited to the CEO – is a primary responsibility of the board, and should be treated as such. This will require considerable time on the board’s part to understand the status, skill sets, experience, gaps, and aspirations of leaders lower than the CEO – in some cases multiple levels below.
  4. Ensure you are having discussions with your board frequently to provide status updates on various leaders, new hires, etc. As well, discuss openly how and when announcements of changes will be handled by the board to maintain the greatest company stability and lessen negative external impact.

You can reach Susan Spaulding and Recalibrate Strategies at www.recalibratestrategies.com.

Sources:

  1. Saporito, Dr. Thomas J., Succeeding as an Interim CEO: How boards and temporary chiefs can work together., Chief Executive, March 11, 2016
  2. Stevens, Laurie, M.D., Rolfe, Steven, S., M.D., A Healthy Approach to CEO Illness: How should companies cope with a leader’s health crisis?, Chief Executive, March 4, 2016
  3. Semadeni, Matthew, Mooney, Christine H., and Kesner, Idalene F., Interim CEO: Reasonable Choice or Failed Selection?, The Conference Board, June 2014
  4. Friedman, Lex, Apple Turns to Tim Cook to Replace Steve Jobs, Macworld, August 24, 2011