Key points:

  • At a basic level, an induction pack should outline key information about a charity – its details (including registration and licence numbers, if appropriate), work, mission statement and aims, Responsible Persons, key staff, policies and procedures. Induction packs can also include a charity’s annual report and other relevant documentation.
  • A wider induction can include a tour of the charity’s space, an opportunity to meet key staff and the chance to take a first-hand look at the work the charity does.
  • Handovers and inductions go hand-in-hand. Both are vital in ensuring your small charity continues to function at its best.

Someone who is properly inducted into your charity is quickly productive, meaning that they can hit the ground running and quickly be at their best in their new role.

A charity which grinds to a halt whenever a key office bearer or board member moves on, or is replaced, is not one which has undertaken adequate succession planning or which has appropriate change management, induction or handover procedures.

Not being able to bring people quickly up to speed through induction can hurt charities of any size – but for small charities with fewer resources and less margin for error, it can be even more damaging.

Inductions and handovers

Often the terms ‘handover’ and ‘induction’ are often used interchangeably when we discuss how charities welcome and ‘onboard’ new members, officeholders or Responsible Persons.

And while using the terms interchangeably is fine, a slight distinction can be drawn between the two terms:

  • A charity inducts and welcomes someone into the organisation
  • A charity conducts a handover to enable a smooth transition when one person takes over a role from another

Your charity’s induction and handover processes should work hand-in-hand.

A structured induction allows a newcomer to learn the vital information they need to know about your charity and how it operates. A practical handover allows a newcomer to learn everything they need to know about the specific role they will have within the charity.

Our Small Charities Library resource on handovers is available here. Our webinar looking at small charities, staff and volunteers is available here.

Planning an induction

There are many possible components to an induction process. Depending on your charity – as well as the role of the person coming onboard – you might choose to include some or all of them.

Printed or electronic ‘welcome pack’:

This could include:

  • Your charity’s governing documents.
  • Important policies and procedures (for example, behavioural standards, conflict of interest policy, reimbursement and remuneration policies and practices).
  • charity legal documents.
  • Other relevant charity documents, including its mission statement or strategic plan, its annual report, financials and (if needed) passwords and access information.
  • Contact numbers and names.
  • Step-by-step procedures on important charity-related tasks.

‘In-person’ welcome and induction:

Your charity could arrange meetings with the incoming person to offer them a personal welcome and induction. This could include:

  • Shadowing someone to learn about their role, and about the charity’s work.
  • Tours of the charity office, projects or programs.

Any induction should be planned for a time very soon after your new person’s arrival. That way, they are inducted early and ready to hit the ground running.

Inductions and your governing body

Your charity’s governing body – its board or committee – plays a vital role in ensuring any induction processes are as smooth, and as useful, as possible.

Any charity, including smaller ones, can compile the bulk of any welcome pack well in advance of when it is needed. Similarly any in-person induction can be planned in advance. Responsible Persons should ensure their charity’s induction process is useful, practical and informative, and dovetails with any handover needs.

It can also be a good idea to ask any new arrivals to provide feedback on your charity’s induction efforts so that you can continue to improve and refine them.

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