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Emergency Executive Director Succession

by the Non-Profit Sector Leadership Program

Given the importance of continuity of operations to clients and staff of the organization, the Executive Director will develop and implement a plan, to be approved by the board, to insure that the organization can effectively operate in the event that an emergency, such as illness, injury or death, makes it impossible for her to effectively provide executive leadership.

Such a plan will include:

  • The appointment, training and designation of one person or a small team of persons who will can and will serve as “Acting Executive Director” for a period of not less than 20 working days and up to 60 working days(2), to take effect within 24 hours following the occurrence of the emergency situation.

    The name(s) of persons so designated shall be known to the Board.

  • The ability to effect the immediate transfer of signing authority for financial operations where the Executive Director’s signature is required.

  • Immediate access, by designated staff, to passwords and other security codes required for the Executive Director’s computer files, e-mail accounts, telephone message systems, office, cabinets and work-related security boxes.

  • The maintenance of an accessible and understandable calendar of Executive Director appointments and other work related activities.

  • Access to a current 3-month Executive Director work plan.

  • Approval Date

(2) Assumption here is that the Board would formally appoint, within this time frame, an Acting Executive Director or, from within or through external recruitment, find a new Executive Director.

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About the Author:

The Non-Profit Sector Leadership Program is a continuing education program for persons currently working in the voluntary sector. It serves sector organizations, principally those throughout Nova Scotia and in Eastern Canada.

The program is based at Dalhousie University's College of Continuing Education.

copyright © 2005 Non-Profit Sector Leadership Program, Dalhousie University, reprinted with permission

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