Succession Planning

Overseeing a club/group is a big job, and developing a team to assist with all of the “to-dos” makes this more manageable (and less stressful!). Finding and engaging a team of committed volunteers is a top challenge voiced by many of you. As a result, we wanted to provide you with some of the best ideas and recommendations to make it easier for you in your role as club/group leader.

Succession planning is the process of identifying and developing prospective volunteers/board members to fill leadership and/or board positions.

While larger clubs/groups have more formal leadership structures, smaller and more informal clubs/groups need to continuously be on the lookout for potential new volunteers to source future leadership.

To help you with succession planning, consider these questions and answers:

My club/group leadership needs revitalization. How do I begin?

First, determine which positions you need to fill based on your club/group’s needs. A club/group with a board structure should ideally have between three to six board members and include a Young Alumnae Representative (someone who graduated within the last ten years), if possible. For a list of common board positions, visit the “Roles & Responsibilities” section of the Club and Group Volunteers webpage on the Alumnae Association website to see what positions your club/group may need. Informal clubs/groups do not have a board structure and often times have one or two volunteers in leadership positions.

Once my club has identified open positions, how do I find candidates?

One common way to identify candidates is to send a blast email to everyone in your club to survey their interest in getting involved. Your regional representative listed below can help coordinate with you and the Alumnae Association to create a letter and survey to be sent out. We have lots of examples of this material to help you, so no need to reinvent the wheel!

What are some additional steps our leadership can take to identify candidates?

  • Take a look at recent lists of event attendees to see who has been attending regularly. Use the Alumnae Directory to locate contact info and reach out to see if they’re interested in getting involved with your club either to plan an event or to play a leadership role.
  • Take advantage of the Alumnae Association’s address change report sent to club/group contacts. It lists newcomers to the area. Welcome them to the club/group with an email and invitation to upcoming events. Host an event to meet new people and encourage them to volunteer for a small project.
  • Request a volunteer list from the Alumnae Association to see who has a volunteer profile that might lend itself to a position you are looking for.

What are some ongoing steps our club/group can take to grow our leadership and plan for succession?

  • Include (at the bottom of club/group communications) an invitation to get involved, and let them know how to get in touch if they’re interested.
  • Present volunteer positions as an opportunity to gain valuable skills, meet new people, and support the College and the Alumnae Association.
  • Informally identify prospects and engage them in small jobs or short activities (like staffing a registration table, helping at an event, serving on a committee, etc.) that can then lead to more involved leadership positions.
  • Thank club/group members for their efforts in your newsletter and on social media.
  • Present Certificates of Appreciation to deserving volunteers at club events.
  • Hold an open board meeting and invite club/group members to attend.
  • Appoint a two or three-member nominating committee, or simply a nominating chair to help find volunteers for open and anticipated board positions.

If you have questions or concerns, start by contacting your regional representative listed below. The director of clubs and groups is also available to help.

Regional representatives and the regions they support:

Beth McInerny McHugh ’87, Chair, Clubs Committee
Lyon’s Pride and the New England Region: CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT

Desiree Bruggeman ’88, Member, Clubs Committee
Midwestern Region: IL, IN, KS, MI, MN, MO, NE, OH, WI, and Toronto, Canada

Lisa N. Dell’Angelo ’81, Member, Clubs Committee
Southwestern Region: AZ, CO, TX, UT, NM, WY, and OK

Kerri Bianchi ’88, Member, Clubs Committee
Southeastern Region: AL, FL, GA, KY, LA, NC, SC, TN

Shauna K. O’Boyle ’87, Member, Clubs Committee
Western Region: CA, ID, MT, OR, WA, NV, HI, and Alberta, Canada

Hilary M. Salmon ’03, Member, Clubs Committee
Mid-Atlantic Region: DC, MD, NJ, NY, PA, and VA

Katherine (Kim) Hunter ’75, Director-at-Large for Global Initiatives, Board of Directors of the Alumnae Association
All regional international clubs and groups outside the US and Canada