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What is an Interim Executive Director?

Ti m Plant arms cross croppedThe interim executive director (ED) for a non-profit organization fulfills the role of CEO during the leadership transition to a new long-term ED. Ideally, he or she is only interested in the interim role, thereby able to focus on maintaining continuity of mission, programs and services, administrative, financial, fund raising and community relations as well as day-to-day leadership and support for all staff and volunteers. The interim ED is selected by and is accountable to the Board of Directors, serving as the voice of the staff to the Board similar to the permanent ED. Length of the interim ED’s assignment typically lasts 3-12 months. The interim ED role is most beneficial to the nonprofit when a thorough plan for a seamless transition and handoff to the new executive is developed and followed by the Board and its Recruitment or Leadership Transition Committee. The most effective interim ED is not a candidate for the long-term position so they can keep their objective focus on best interests of the organization and shining the light on issues that must be addressed rather than campaigning for the appointment.

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