When a Nonprofit Founder Decides To not Transfer On

Not too way back, I learn on a social networking platform a couple of nonprofit candidate who would develop into the chief director of a corporation the place the founder would stay. I’ve written about this up to now, however this explicit state of affairs grabbed my curiosity due to what the board allowed to occur. I believed it was fascinating, and a recipe for hassle.


The candidate to develop into the brand new govt could be succeeding the founding govt who would transfer right into a part-time and paid place throughout the charity. There have been a few the crimson flags that I noticed within the put up being made.

  • The board informed the candidate that he would have authority, however was not permitted to let the founder go if didn’t work. I do not learn about you, however that does not sound to me like authority in case you are not permitted to fireplace somebody if the match is not proper.
  • The part-time paid function of the founder was but to be decided. That appeared like a big downside within the making due to the dearth of readability. I puzzled, who could be creating the job description for the brand new function of the founder? Would the brand new govt have any authority over it, or wouldn’t it merely be the duty with no energy?
  • The candidate was knowledgeable that though he would be capable of delegate obligations to the founder, as soon as the place was created, the board was undecided if the founder would execute. Nicely, there are a complete host of points with that truth. So, it appeared the board was telling the candidate that whereas he was chargeable for the correct administration of the group when it got here to the place (paid) of the founder, all bets have been off.
  • Lastly, the board knowledgeable the candidate that they anticipated him to be a pacesetter and determine tips on how to work successfully with the founder. That’s actually fascinating! In impact, the board creates a state of affairs the place the founder is paid to have a task throughout the organization–and not do the work, if he so chooses¬≠¬≠–but the duty all falls to the brand new govt to “make it work.”

Should you have been studying that put up as I did, what would you’ve suggested the candidate?

I’ll inform you what I’d say.


Go as quick as you’ll be able to, so far as you’ll be able to.

Similar Outdated

I’ve written up to now about Founder’s Syndrome, which is when the ability (implicit or express) revolves across the founder and his or her cult of character and affect. As I’ve famous up to now, “The surroundings turns into dysfunctional with the board not fulfilling its governance duty and the workers not permitted to object or debate. Concepts and initiatives stagnate if the founder doesn’t help them. Basically, the founder turns into the ruler of his or her fiefdom, and the curiosity of the group develop into secondary.”

What I need to inform you right here, nevertheless, is that the state of affairs as described above is a recipe for hassle, nevertheless it would not must be that method.


When the founder stays throughout the group, it makes the job of the successor infinitely tougher as a result of she or he is navigating a political landmine, and that is not truthful to the group. Within the state of affairs of the founder and govt now turning into a part-time worker, the possibilities of alliances by some board members and workers who’re nonetheless loyal to the founder improve exponentially. And, all that creates is confusion, and candidly, an issue for the group that’s not conducive to good governance and the operation of the nonprofit.

Should you’re a board member at a nonprofit and the time has come to maneuver to a brand new chief, do the group a favor, do not permit the founder to stay on workers. Contemplate giving the founder an emeritus function on the board, however do not create a state of affairs that may sap the collective power of the group due to political toxicity that would develop. And, for those who’re a founder, if I can do it, you are able to do it. When the occasions comes that you want to step apart, do it. It does not imply which you can’t create one thing else or determine different methods to do what you’re keen on. Take your power and what you have discovered and channel it positively.

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