Plan and Prepare

Developing a Succession Plan document will ensure that the procedures you put in place remain consistent no matter who is running the club.

Succession Planning

  • Key steps to ensuring the smooth transition of key volunteers:
    • Discuss the benefits and the processes of succession planning with the committee and expect full commitment to it.
    • Embrace a positive approach to change, consider using change management techniques (see Attract Volunteers – Positive Club Culture).
    • Develop a club succession plan - keep it brief, manageable and transparent.
    • Action the succession plan, review it, improve it and keep it moving.
    • Establish a club culture where people want to volunteer for the club and are not scared of doing so (see Attract Volunteers – Positive Club Culture).
    • Look widely for potential volunteers, consider a range of people (see Attract Volunteers – Diversity of Volunteers).
    • Create positions for youth on the club committee, or establish a separate committee of youth only, who feed ideas to the main committee through a representative. This also helps young people to gain committee experience.
    • Determine who the key volunteers in the club currently are, the key positions in the club, and when the positions will / may become vacant.
    • Have clear role descriptions for these positions:
      • include preparing for one’s exit from a role, as part of every role description.
      • include a tenure in most role descriptions.
    • Ensure that at least one other person in the club has a good working knowledge of each role in case they need to step in.
    • Provide training for volunteers where appropriate.
    • Commit to good record keeping (position folders, policies, procedures, database of volunteers, etc).
    • Enlist the help of people to identify and suggest potential successors.
    • Establish a Volunteer Exit Checklist and Handover Report and possibly conduct an exit interview, so the volunteer does not just disappear and take all their valuable knowledge with them (see Succession Planning – Handover procedures).

Developing Potential Volunteers

Developing volunteers is an important aspect in succession planning. The question is when do you start a succession plan for each role? All organisations adopt different approaches and it will depend on many factors including the tenure of the position and the availability of personnel. Essentially it is never too early to start identifying and recruiting potential successors, exposing them to, and teaching them about the role.

  • To prepare potential successors, the club could:
    • develop a plan to prepare potential successor volunteers
    • identify potential successors
    • establish a future leaders program to prepare young or potential volunteers
    • establish a mentor program, where experienced people mentor new or young people into a role before they take it on, and in their first few months/year
    • have a person shadow an existing volunteer in their role, ie sit in on meetings or stand on the sidelines with a coach, which provides the opportunity to observe the role in a very non-threatening way
    • introduce potential volunteers to key people who could give them greater insights and put them at ease with the role
    • provide potential volunteers brief opportunities to take on part of a role, or a task associated with the role, or to act in the role when a position holder is on holidays or away
    • ask for their opinion about the role and its potential
    • determine small, short-term roles or tasks for youth.

Current Volunteers Preparing for their Own Exit

The Volunteer Coordinator and the committee could identify potential successors, but the volunteer in each role also has an important task.

  • Each current volunteer should be encouraged to:
    • keep up-to-date and accurate records of their role and the processes they follow
    • plan for someone to take their place one day
    • mentor potential successors
    • have open communication with club if they are planning to leave
    • complete a Handover Report (see Handover procedures).

Add to Action Plan  Action Plan Tips

Description: Create an Action Plan for your club:

• Click on suggested actions and send them directly to your Action Plan.
• Login in to modify/tailor your Action Plan.
• Save and revisit your plan.
• Share access with others.
• Keep track of completed tasks.
  • Address the 'Key Steps to Successful Succession Planning' template at a committee meeting
  • View your Action Plan
  • Click to view Templates for this Section
  • Handbook Tips View Handbook contents page to download templates & information
    Description: Create a Volunteer Management Handbook for your club:

    • Download information or templates.
    • Select the entire handbook or specific sections or pages.
    • Modify/tailor the handbook to suit your club.
    • Use the handbook to store records.
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