To transition a nonprofit organization from a volunteer-led model to a staff-run model, follow these steps:
Recognize the need for change: Volunteers may be reluctant to give up control, but they should be aware of the necessity for change as the organization grows and its activities expand.
Bring in diverse expertise: Recruit board members with diverse and professional expertise, such as legal, financial, and marketing backgrounds, to support the organization’s development.
Invest in staff: An effective board should accept the responsibility of investing in staff as it makes critical choices about control, operations, money, and mission impact.
Focus on governance: With staff leadership more formally in place, strong boards should concentrate on their governing role while continuing to engage in both tactical and strategic decision-making activities.
Keep the dream alive: Nonprofit staff leaders should ensure that the organization’s vision remains at the forefront, inspiring both volunteers and staff to work towards the mission.
Embrace a participatory system: Educate yourself thoroughly before embarking on this type of change effort, articulate the guiding principles of the new management model, and seize learning opportunities for yourself and your staff.
Develop a leadership transition plan: Engage board and staff in a commitment to manage transition intentionally, identify current and future challenges, and draft a timeline for leadership successions that are planned.
Remember that transitioning from a volunteer-led model to a staff-run model takes time and patience. It’s essential to maintain open communication and collaboration throughout the process to ensure a smooth transition.