Does your organization have a succession plan? If it’s only in your head, you don’t. A good succession plan must be in writing. What is a succession plan, you ask? It’s the guarantee that your vision, your passion, your life’s work will continue in the event of your untimely catastrophic injury or even worse, death.
You come a long way from the day when you decide to hand a homeless person a sandwich, to the day you serve thousands of people every year. Building that kind of ministry takes planning and the successful persistence of it is in the details. If the details die with you, the ministry dies with you.
Your volunteers may have your passion and commitment, but if they don’t know where you keep the bank accounts, credit cards, checkbook, website user IDs or the keys to the company vehicle, they can’t continue very long without you. And these are only a few of the details. They are too numerous to mention here, but if your ministry has existed for at least a year and you’ve gone to the trouble to get your 501(c)(3) (IRS nonprofit determination) you’ve got tons of details and only you know what they are until you share them in written form.
Putting everything into written form is tedious, but necessary. Your successor needs a road map to follow or the board meeting following your injury/death will be the last one, with the board voting to shut down the organization.
There are many ways to document the details, but no matter which way you choose, the final result must be electronic. Don’t just leave behind a dog eared notebook for someone to find in the detritus of your belongings. At the very least, put your documentation on a flash drive and give the President, Secretary and Treasurer of your board each a copy of their own. If you have an assistant, they should get one too. Don’t forget to back it up online, and don’t forget to tell someone where the backup is.
If you care enough about what you’re doing, take enough time to care about the continued life of your organization, after you’re gone.