Nonprofit Digital Communications

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For those doing digital strategy work, including written or multimedia content for nonprofit websites, social media, and e-newsletters. This group is for those digital communications folks who create written or multimedia content for websites, social media, and e-newsletters for nonprofits. Members will discuss topics such as social media trends, digital analytics, developing content, storytelling, planning and resources, content strategy, and more.

CEO transition communications plan?

  • 1.  CEO transition communications plan?

    Posted Aug 30, 2017 13:11

    We are in the process of a CEO search, our current CEO is retiring at the end of the year. For those that have been through a CEO transition, can you share any resources, sample plans, good blogs or articles for communications around the switch? Beyond just a letter to stakeholders from the new CEO, but a more comprehensive approach?

    Thank you!!

    Lisa



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    Lisa Rupple
    Communications Officer
    Community Foundation of Lorain County
    Elyria, OH
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  • 2.  RE: CEO transition communications plan?

    Posted Sep 01, 2017 10:44
      |   view attached
    I don't have a plan to share but I did just get an example of this kind of email yesterday. I'm pasting it in as well as attaching it.



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    Bethany Lister
    Community Engagement Manager
    Nonprofit Technology Network
    bethany@nten.org
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  • 3.  RE: CEO transition communications plan?

    Posted Sep 01, 2017 13:01
    Not sure I have the example I'm thinking of (will do some digging), but this is definitely a place where a short video from the new CEO (and perhaps one from the outgoing CEO as well) would be really effective - give some more insight/humanity. Wouldn't have to be anything fancy, could easily be paired with a short letter, then share the video on YouTube, Facebook, etc. Maybe host a short Q&A over Facebook Live? Use it as an opportunity to engage the community beforehand by collecting questions, share highlights/quotes afterwards, tie it all back to how you're creating the community you envision, etc.





  • 4.  RE: CEO transition communications plan?

    Posted Feb 09, 2018 15:15
    Thank you both! Is there a place in the NTEN Community interface that alerts me when people reply to my posts? I didn't see this until now :/

    @Miriam Brosseau  we did end up doing a short video

    Cindy Andrews president and CEO special message
    YouTube remove preview
    Cindy Andrews president and CEO special message
    Cindy Andrews shares a special welcome message with you.
    View this on YouTube >


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    Lisa Rupple
    Communications Officer
    Community Foundation of Lorain County
    Elyria, OH
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  • 5.  RE: CEO transition communications plan?

    Posted Feb 16, 2018 08:36
    Hi, Lisa,
    I think both Joan Garry and Kivi Leroux-Miller have information on this on their websites.  I haven't had this issue myself at this time, but I have noticed transition strategies in the past.  I'm sure you will find a way to create the right positioning on the statements.  Best of luck!

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    Tricia Maddrey Baker
    Social Media/Communications Manager
    Aplastic Anemia & MDS International Foundation
    Bethesda, MD
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  • 6.  RE: CEO transition communications plan?

    Posted Feb 20, 2018 09:36
    we just found out our CEO will be leaving, so this is timely for me! when she came on board, we really just did a press release. This time we are working on that, but other ideas are very welcome!

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    Jean Gazis
    Communications Specialist
    Legal Momentum
    New York, NY
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  • 7.  RE: CEO transition communications plan?

    Posted Feb 20, 2018 09:36
    Note - our PR hasn't gone out yet so this is somewhat confidential for now.

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    Jean Gazis
    Communications Specialist
    Legal Momentum
    New York, NY
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  • 8.  RE: CEO transition communications plan?

    Posted Feb 21, 2018 15:31
    This past summer, our founding Executive Director announced her retirement a full year in advance, after 32 years in the role.

    Our situation is unique because she's a founder, so we were quite thorough in our planning. Happy to talk offline, but to summarize - we began with 1-on-1 conversations with internal stakeholders and then external stakeholders, sharing the information and inviting input about the search, the job, the organization and the transition, and understanding that many people would have strong emotional responses.Then, we moved into the more public phase, with a retirement letter in an eBlast, on our website and on social media, and talking points to help staff and board field questions from their contacts. Next, we included a quick reminder to people in our email newsletter when the search committee was formed... and ... Now we're doing outreach to hire a new E.D.

    Give a shout if you want detail on any of it.

    Good luck!
    RoiAnn

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    RoiAnn Phillips
    Communications Director
    HealthConnect One
    www.healthconnectone.org
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  • 9.  RE: CEO transition communications plan?

    Posted Feb 21, 2018 16:49

    Jean,

     

    One organization that I think did a great job with CEO transition was the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance. New CEO Maud Lyons was introduced along with a platform/agenda/message/focus called Future Forward. I don't know if it was her idea or if it was something they all worked on to develop together. Her coming launched a year of truly unique events and dialogue all focused on that topic that was really interesting. It felt like something exciting and dynamic was shifting and they were leading it. And it gave the press an angle on a story so much bigger than "new CEO at Philly Arts org".

     

    Beth

     

     

    Beth Brodovsky | President

    Iris Creative Group, Inc.

    451 S. Bethlehem Pike | Fort Washington, PA 19034

    P: 267-468-7949 | www.iriscreative.com

    Focus Your Vision

     






  • 10.  RE: CEO transition communications plan?

    Posted Feb 21, 2018 11:01
    Hi Lisa,

    I've been through this many times with clients - under a variety of circumstances, but have to say my most recent experience with the organization where I volunteer (yeah, my day job is with a digital agency focused on nonprofits - and I volunteer on the Marketing committee for a nonprofit - a "busman's holiday" LOL) - was one of the best I've seen in planned transitions ("unplanned" or forced transitions have their own set of issues).

    For the planned, the one I just mention was in the last year, Women Employed transitioned to new leadership - the former CEO was retiring after 40+ years in various roles - last 15+ as ED/CEO.  This was planned well in advance - and a "friendly takeover" - and part of a succession plan. They planned out the approach to be in steps and be rolled out across multiple  months and many platforms in an integrated fashion - digital (email; many flavors of social media - YouTube; Facebook; Twitter; etc.; the site); snail mail; physical events.

    What made it work was the strategy behind it:

    * Let the folks know that a transition is planned - and it is planned and not a hostile takeover (to borrow from the biz world)
    * Start the "saying goodbye and saying hello" process early and often - acknowledging and recognizing the outgoing CEO's contributions and her excitement about the next phase for the organization and the opportunity it presents.
    * Having outgoing CEO introduce the incoming - not always possible, but it added extra smoothness to an organizational shift that could have been rocky with older supporters who universally admired/loved her and might have been inclined to distrust or not accept incoming otherwise.
    * Let the supporters and public know the incoming as both a professional and as a person - and how one informed and inspired the other. Her commitment to the organization and cause were inherent in the messaging across all platforms.
    * Have an official "handing over of the reigns" after a transition period - incoming was introduced by outgoing; there was a 3-month overlap of training/onboarding - and then an official switch-over date when outgoing left.
    * New CEO hits ground running on first official day of flying solo - was out with communications on site/social media - email, video, blog, tweets, posts, etc - with a suite of communications that were of a flavor - her as a professional on the issues that she also feels connected to and how that tied into what is going on in the world - but also with her flavor that, of course, is new and different.
    * And if the outgoing is going to stay involved somehow, a distance period - the outgoing person was a founding member of the organization 45 years ago - so she is planning to continue to volunteer, but is taking a few months to a year where she is not engaged for some personal time - and this gives more time for supporters to connect with new CEO.

    Hope this helps! Good luck!

    All the best,

    Cassie



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    Cassie Dennis
    Director
    Monday Loves You
    cassie@mondaylovesyou.com
    312.973.1112
    Chicago IL
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  • 11.  RE: CEO transition communications plan?

    Posted Mar 06, 2018 16:31
    What a great example of applying sound organizational change practices to a specific transition. Thanks, Cassie, for being so generous with what you have learned.

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    BJ Wishinsky
    Mountain View, CA
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