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Showing posts from August, 2008

Board Recruitment: More About the Future than the Now

I taught the first webinar in NYSArts’ board development series last week.   (There are two more webinars left in the series and you can sign up for them by going to .)   The focus of the conversation was on board recruitment and training.   The lesson I hope I successfully transmitted was that bringing great talent to the boardroom is much more than that – it takes planning, skill identification, networking for the right person, lots of communication once that person is identified, followed by a support system that enables that person to do their best job should they agree to join the board. Far too often, especially for smaller boards or boards that are simply disorganized, the new board member recruitment process is an afterthought, hurriedly undertaken just before elections are held.   This method may fill board seats, but does it facilitate the matching of talent to the changing needs of an organization? It strikes me that board recruitment should be more a

Ethics: Easy to Grasp -- Difficult to Interpret

I have had the good fortune to think about ethical questions from different standpoints and in a variety of contexts, as well as to grapple with actual situations that have arisen from time to time.  I certainly don't have all the answers, but what I do know is that standards of ethics sometimes differ among types of cultural institutions and are almost always evolutionary -- in other words, it's rare for a new institution to start out at square one with a full-blown understanding of its ethical responsibilities and a written policy to underscore them. My career has allowed me to develop an awareness of ethical issues as I have developed as a museum professional.  I suppose that may sound obvious, but I do think that the longer you remain in a field, the more opportunities you'll have to discuss and ponder ethical issues - perhaps even act on one or two of them -- and they will all add to your body of knowledge and your understanding. I think the topic of museum ethics is,

The Donor-Worthy Nonprofit

Non-profit organizations  are only as donor-worthy as the strength of their missions and the focus of their programs -- both have to be compelling, of high quality, serving a defined need, and measurable in their outcomes.  This requires an organizational commitment to building and enhancing internal capacity as well as to being responsive to members and other stakeholders, as well as to the community (including oversight/regulatory agencies and funders).  The competition for dollars and audience is great, and getting greater.  There are more than 2000 arts organizations in New York State.  Think of all the nonprofits in your community or region -- schools, hospitals, religious organizations, museums, libraries, social service organizations. Each one has a mission, a need, and to greater or lesser degrees, each is seeking funding.  Now think of all the fundraising material you personally receive each week or month.  What appeals came in the mail or over the telephone last week?