RFL Training Plan: Succession Planning

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How did we get from this man there to this cute grandma here? A SUCCESSION PLAN!!!

A solid succession plan works to make sure that the work you’re doing this year lasts for hundreds of years (okay, maybe a little less than that) after this one event. One problem a lot of campuses face is tied to the nature of being a campus event: graduation.

At some point on campus, you and your primary supporters and leaders will graduate. And there are lots of super cool ways for people to stay involved in our movement after graduation (link yp website and blog if already released AND campus Relay map for HS grads), but for your event - they’re gone!

Some of these people are your top fundraisers, your best organizers, and your most well-connected people in school - and they’re great at fundraising, recruiting, innovating, talking to the administration, and hosting the event. The campus event has to keep going after losing someone like this (just like the UK has to continue with one of these guys when they likely take over after their great-grandma Queen Elizabeth one day.)

The elements of a good succession plan involve getting the plan set up, individuals identified, and mentoring those individuals so that they can continue growing your Relay and raising even more money for the American Cancer Society.

Setting the plan up can be a pretty simple conversation, just have a conversation each year with the chairs (or directors/leaders) of each committee, your faculty advisor, and your American Cancer Society Staff Partner each year. Some questions you can ask to guide your discussion might include:

  • Who’s graduating?

  • Who needs to step down/take a new position (accountability issues)?

  • What needs will your Relay have in the future?

  • How will this plan change from year-to-year? (Thinking both short-term and long-term)

  • How do we keep fundraising even if one of our top fundraisers leaves?

Depending on your needs, you could have more questions or different questions, but the important question is:

  • How do we make sure Relay keeps going at our school?

The finding the people and mentoring them is just as important (basically just finding the “next generation” - think Prince George and Princess Charlotte).

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Allow these younger, new leaders genuine opportunities to lead and to gain experience doing Relay. One great way to do this is to allow the newer leader to serve as the Chair the year before they actually serve. This way, they still have the previous Chair with them to mentor them, but are gaining the opportunity to practice and to lead. 

The key word here is genuine. Give the new leaders real opportunities to plan, choose, and make decisions without “veto authority” from the previous chairs. This way they learn (in action) how the fundraising works, how to grow your event goal, and the best way to engage students in this movement on your campus.

For more tips on succession planning visit the Campus Relay website at www.campus.relayforlife.org and connect with the National Campus Leadership Team on Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat with the username campusrelay. Join the community of Campus Relayers on Facebook in the group Campus Relay For Life and CAC to share ideas and ask questions.