Develop and Prepare Potential Successors

Although sometimes you may be able to find perfect volunteers with exactly the right skills to fill your critical positions, chances are most people will not possess all the skills or all the knowledge required of them. As a result it is crucial to continually invest in the development of your volunteers and take time to prepare them for roles in the future. By doing this, your club will be creating a greater depth of capability in your volunteer base, making it much easier to find suitable successors in the future. Sometimes providing training and development options is expensive or time consuming. Each club will have different limitations on what they can and can’t afford. However, before you decide you cannot afford it or you do not have the time, think about the outcome of having highly qualified volunteers for your club. You must try to do everything to get the best out of your people and to educate them so they can contribute to club success in the long term.

While all volunteers should have access to training and development, it is especially important for those volunteers whom you have identified as your potential successors. Training and development should aim to arm volunteers with the expertise required to take on critical roles when the positions become vacant. It should also contribute to creating a clear path of progression for volunteers. That is, they know exactly what is required to move in to a position and what training/experience they need to gain to take on the role.

Training and development practices could include:

    • Formal training courses; 
    • Informal training provided by club members;
    • Shadowing (the successor would follow the volunteer currently in the role to get an idea of what is involved and to familiarise themselves with the work);
    • Special assignments or projects (for example, planning a fundraising event );
    • Committee or job rotation;
    • Systematic knowledge-sharing among board or committee members so volunteers are familiar with what each committee member is responsible for;
    • Team building or leadership exercises; and/or
    • Mentoring and coaching.

View the Training and Development Table (38 KB) for more specific details about these training practices. Also, for more information about investing in your volunteers’ development, check out the Training Staff page.

The best way to ensure your potential successors are prepared and have carried out the necessary training and development activities is by devising individual development plans. That is, each successor has a plan that outlines the training, coaching, mentoring or work experience activities that they will engage in over a certain time period. This document does not need to be lengthy and complicated. See the Sample Volunteer Development Targets (41 KB) form as an example. Your club can customise this as you wish.

Once you have viewed the Training and Development Table (38 KB) and the Sample Volunteer Development Targets (41 KB) form, you are ready to complete the Development of Successors section of your Template – Succession Plan (133 KB).

 Step 5 >