Year after year, one topic in family philanthropy rises to the top: inspiring, engaging, and preparing the next generation for leadership. Sooner or later, unless the board decides to spend down the endowment, board succession in family foundations is a matter of when, not if.
Since its founding in September 1997, the National Center for Family Philanthropy has published dozens of issue papers, articles, guides and checklists related to this topic, and has participated in hundreds of seminars and meetings with family foundation boards and staff on best practices in accomplishing this goal. To celebrate the National Center’s 15th birthday, this month’s edition of Family Giving News shares 15 Timeless Tips for Training New Family Foundation Trustees, featuring best practices highlighted in past National Center publications.
TIP 1: Answer the question: why do we want the next generation involved?
TIP 2: Engage all family members in the process.
TIP 3: Discuss your shared perspectives about what being part of the family philanthropy means to current board members.
TIP 4: Learn from the field of family business about the different types of family leaders, and how each approach succession.
TIP 5: Find ways to cultivate a strong sense of donor and family history and tradition, while welcoming the fresh perspectives and ideas of new participants.
TIP 6: Consider establishing a next gen advisory board (sometimes called an adjunct or junior board), and invite potential new trustees to serve.
TIP 7: Consider establishing an emeritus title or senior council, to ease the difficulty of transition for those who may be ready to move on from the foundation board.
TIP 8: Review the nuts and bolts, and provide hands-on grantmaking experience.
TIP 9: Find mentors, and identify other outside learning opportunities.
TIP 10: Establish eligibility guidelines – both for next gen family members, and for the family at large.
TIP 11: Support next gen family members to explore and create their own personal giving identities.
TIP 12: Provide opportunities for next gen family and board members to connect and learn from their peers.
TIP 13: Create a discretionary grants program to train new or future trustees in the work of the foundation and the grantmaking process.
TIP 14: Be flexible about time constraints and personal priorities.
TIP 15: Be patient – be prepared to step back before moving forward.
Read the full article about tips for trustee training and succession by Jason C. Born at the National Center for Family Philanthropy.