Strategies for Board Transition Success
Elections have been held, new volunteer officers named, and current board members are looking forward to a retirement of sorts. What’s next? Another position? Participation in a non-leadership role? Sitting on a committee? A temporary break from leadership, then run for office again?
As your chapter’s leadership transitions, it is just as important to focus on the exiting leaders as it is to offer training and guidance to the newly elected officers. Take a look at 3 strategies that provide support to your volunteers at the end of their term and will go a long way to prevent board burnout.
1. Conduct Exit Interviews – Know Past and Future Impact.
Once elections have concluded, your chapter can begin this process to ensure a successful board transition and prevent burnout of outgoing board members. Ask volunteer leaders about what they learned through service, the impact on their personal and professional lives, what role, if any, they might want to play in the chapter moving forward, and to provide advice to the incoming board. This will go a long way to reminding leaders that even though they are moving on from a position, they are still an invaluable member of the chapter. Using the Survey Manager for example, you can gain access to a convenient method for conducting interviews, collecting the results, and distributing among the new leadership.
2. Keep Communication Channels Open – While Respecting Boundaries.
Former chapter leaders may still want to stay in the loop, remaining up-to-date on recent decisions while not having any obligation to participate in the decision making process. Let past leadership know that you are keeping them in the know by copying e-mails or with invitations to current board meetings. Respect any wishes they have in what information they wish to receive, they might only want the standard newsletter sent to all members.
3. Invite Past-Board Members to Participate – But Don’t Expect It.
Meeting the needs of the local chapter is of utmost importance. Past leaders may just have the necessary skills and experience to complete certain tasks. Review their exit survey to find their strengths and interests. Contact them periodically about their desire to take on a more active role once again, possibly with an invitation to fulfill some specific function. Give them the opportunity to say yes or no. Accept their answer, one way or another, making notations in the member database, sharable with the rest of the board. Be certain to be encouraging, inviting, and not expect participation in a leadership role.
There are times volunteers desire to actively participate as leaders and times they want to take a backseat, enjoying the activities from a member-only perspective. Letting past leaders to guide their own role in the chapter ensures that sometime in the future they may just step back into a leadership role once again.
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