Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Annual Refusal of the Gifts

Posted by Rachel Rossos:
As I go through my notes from yesterday's fantastic Annual Fund OLA in preparation for co-leading the Development Groups 3-8 meeting at 1:30pm today (Striking a Chord With Your Board), a particular phrase sticks out at me: "The annual refusal of the gifts."

During a discussion of how to choose an Annual Fund chair, Paul Hogle said that he has had great success when appointing someone who is brand new to the Board of Directors. He then suggested that a major trap that institutions fall into regularly is to court a member of the community for the Board of Directors, letting them know all the skills and leadership qualities that they will bring to the table, and then to not follow through on the promises in those discussions. The community member joins the Board and is under-utilized. In other words, we are refusing the gifts of his or her time, leadership, and skills.

By defining a brand new Board member's role as the chair of a campaign or committee, we can help ensure that we are taking full advantage of their skills and enthusiasm. Even if there is not an opening to chair a committee, we do have the responsibility to commit to a role for everyone on our Board of Directors. Otherwise, we are leaving valuable resources and talent untapped.

What is your orchestra's Board culture like? Do you have defined roles for most or all of your Board members?

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