Organizational Change Management is an Essential Part of Any Nonprofit Governance Strategy

May. 11, 2018

Jordan Haberfield

Change is never easy. There is an emotional response that comes when people need to change their processes and you can always expect a certain degree of resistance. Whenever a change is on the horizon, a plan should already be in place to mitigate risk, placate fear and allow for a smooth and successful transition. Without a plan, resistance can build quickly and eventually lead to push-back and even rejection.

Doing a Google search on “Organizational Change Management” will throw several results, including many examples of 4 steps, 8 steps, 12 steps to managing change. All of these provide a well-organized methodology, but basically cover the same overall goals.

To provide a simplified view of the process. First, identify what is being changed and build a case to justify the need for the change. Enlist the required stakeholders and put together a team that will develop the program to ensure success. It is important to communicate effectively and continuously with organization, so they know what is happening and why, which will help to get executive buy-in. Once the change is implemented, follow through with training and continue to reinforce the reasons for change. It’s a multi-step process that shouldn’t be ignored.


In a nonprofit environment, managing for change is even more imperative as budgets are tight and any investment needs to have the best chance for success. This process must start at the executive levels in the organization and have buy-in from the Board as needed. There is no excuse for implementing any change in an organization without setting aside time and budget to ensure its effectiveness.

Nonprofit leaders are mission-driven by nature. When effecting change in their organization, they need to tie that change to the mission and be the driving force for success.