Saturday, November 11, 2006

CHANGING OF THE GUARD: NONPROFIT TRANSITION

Changing of the Guard: Nonprofit Transition
by Pam Ashlund

My head is spinning tonight. At the CA Association of Nonprofits conference last month I heard the news: founder, Flo Green, is retiring. It came as a shock to me because Flo and CAN are synonymous to me. We don't know each other at all, and therefore are not on a first name basis, but I think of her as Flo. That says something about her charisma. Upon hearing her talk, people leave thinking of her as a friend. And she has been a friend, to the nonprofit community and to me by way of inspiration.

At that same conference I was introduced to the ideas of Fundraising speaker Kim Klein. She delivered a keynote I covered in NonProfit Confidence Problem. And, as with Flo, I was inspired and I left feeling like I had another friend.

And now I hear (thru the Chronical of Philanthropy's article) that Kim is also retiring.

Just yesterday I was talking to a friend over lunch about the whole changing of the guard phenomena. People I've worked for, looked up to, learned from, etc. are either retiring or dying or both. And I've had to face that I'm only two generations away from them. So even though I'm still sharpening my skills and expanding my mind...I can see the change coming. A whole new crop of 25 year olds are coming to work at nonprofit's and they will be taking over.

Some think the focus should be on retaining our Executive Directors (because some large percent say they will leave the profession in the next 10 years), but I think we should be using those years to mentor and teach and inspire the new comers, because (among other things) it is our responsibility.

I'm overwhelmed because I don't feel up to it, but I'm resolved because it's a whole lot better than the alternative!


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