Daily Buzz: Succession Planning 101

A solid succession plan can ease tension and confusion during a leadership transition. Also: Does social media affect SEO rankings?

When a key leader leaves an organization, the transition can stall business and create confusion about the future—and not just in the for-profit sector.

“Leadership changes at nonprofits can be problematic, especially with individuals who are the public face of the organization or drivers of successful fundraising,” says the team at The NonProfit Times (NPT). “It is vital for your organization to prepare for the loss of institutional knowledge, as well as a shortage of top talent who understand the complexities of your mission and business.”

To ensure that your organization is in good hands after a departure, start by identifying the roles that require a built-out succession plan—then assess the risk of retirement or voluntary turnover for these positions. “Asking a key executive about the person’s long-term employment and retirement plan is not an easy conversation,” NPT says. “Have the conversation in the proper context—referring to the framework of the succession-planning program—to ensure individual buy-in.”

From there, think about the core traits that make the person in that role successful. Is there anyone internally who fulfills these needs? If not, start working your organization’s network to cultivate the connections that can lead to the right candidate.

Employee cross-training can help ensure that institutional knowledge is shared and that staff members can keep the wheels turning during a transition. “Training can be via formalized job rotation through key positions or sharing of information and procedures among key employees,” NPT notes. “An additional benefit of cross-training via job rotation is seeing employees perform in a different capacity and identifying potential internal candidates as future replacements for retirements and turnovers.”

Optimize Social for SEO

Does social media affect SEO rankings? It’s a million-dollar question—and Google has been vague about the answer. Though the search engine’s algorithms are constantly changing, it’s hard to say that they don’t play a role.

“Social media engagement essentially provides Google with external validation of a page’s value,” says John Jantsch in a post on Convince & Convert. “This means that social media marketing and search engine optimization work in tandem; what works well for one works for the other.”

To ensure that your posts bolster your rankings, Jantsch recommends expanding your SEO strategy to cover your social channels. “Do your keyword research, plan out your content accordingly, and include the right keywords in your headings, posts, and hashtags,” he says. “And don’t forget to optimize your profiles the same way you’ve optimized your website—with SEO keywords in summaries, links, biographies, captions, and in the text itself.”

Other Links of Note

Keep members happy with these four rules, from the Web Scribble blog.

Use Instagram to spread your nonprofit’s mission. The VolunteerMatch blog explains how to leverage the platform to your full advantage.

Ditch these habits for a more productive association career, says the MemberClicks blog.

(kycstudio/E+/Getty Images Plus)

Jeff Hsin

By Jeff Hsin


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