“A leadership Transition can be a time of high vulnerability for a nonprofit organization. On the other hand, an executive turnover offers unique opportunities for renewal and fresh thinking.” – Tim Wolfred, Author Managing Executive Transitions, Advisory Board of NAAIED (National Alliance of Accredited Interim Executive Directors

Interim Executive Directors have served successfully as Executive Directors or CEOs of nonprofit organizations. They have chosen Interim work to allow them to support an extended number of nonprofits for short periods of time. This gives them more experience than most CEOs or Executive Directors. They have had training in the roles and responsibilities of interim leadership and are specifically prepared to work with a Board of Directors, a diverse staff, volunteers and clients during a leadership transition.

An Interim Executive Director allows staff to stay focused, realize that the organization is in good hands with exemplary leadership, and is secure. The IED’s role is to support staff in seeing that the changes are beneficial for the organization’s clients, and themselves.  The Interim is a model for welcoming the new leader and providing a solid platform to launch the organization into its next stages.

CEO/ED Placements’ Comments:

“I trusted the organization more because the Board of Directors provided that added support of an IED with her boots on the ground and an insider’s eye to what I was really walking into.”

“The IED had been a CEO.  The staff liked her and she gave the staff a thumbs up about me and gave me information about the staff.” Annie Crowder, CEO Oaks Children’s Center

“The board, the staff and I had a level of confidence that catapulted us into action and we have been strong ever since.” Dave Green, Board Chair Buckelew Programs

Interim Executive Directors meet the following criteria:

  • Previous Executive Director/CEO experience
  • More than one successful Interim position
  • Completion of IED training or equivalent
  • Five references of merit from former clients
  • Completion of an application form and submission of a resume
  • Sign and adhere to the NAAIED principals and Code of Conduct

A brief overview of the tasks of an Interim Executive Director (Also refer to job description)

  • The obvious includes tasks such as:
    • Working with the Board of Directors on goals for the interim placement; assessing organizational risks and needs; assuring that deliverables are attended to; meeting with key staff; communicating with stakeholders, etc.
  • The not-so-obvious include:
    • Dealing with anxieties – at all levels of the organization – about change; facilitating a healthy separation process with the outgoing CEO; building trust with staff, board and key community members;  injecting, and maintaining, a sense within the organization that everything is under control; etc.

“If I had to identify one overarching task that a successful IED must accomplish, no matter what the mission of the organization may be, it is: Developing a sense of trust and confidence from all levels of the organization.” Jay Zlotnick, Former Interim Executive Director