It’s that time of year again. Time for the Arts & Business Council of Greater Nashville Board Matching program. This program combines training with a matching event where participants meet with representatives of local arts organizations who need board members. The training introduces the arts industry and covers topics such as governance, fundraising, financials, and strategy. I’ve covered the strategy part of that training in previous years and I love doing it.
First, let me correct a common misconception. Board members of non-profit arts organizations aren’t just people with money and connections and decades of experience. Some of them are. But most organizations aren’t ready for a board like that. Most organizations need things that you already have — a passion for the arts, a desire to make a difference, and an outside perspective.
In any other year, I would just remind you of that and be done with it. But this isn’t any other year. In the past few months, two significant but unrelated developments have shaken us.
Covid-19 has affected us as individuals and our economy and society in ways we couldn’t have thought of a year ago. We’ve seen the importance of art and culture in our lives at the same time as social distancing restrictions have limited our ability to take part. Organizations are struggling to reach their audiences and struggling to fund their programs. People who write big checks aren’t enough to help them weather this storm. They aren’t enough to help them transform into organizations that can deal with the new reality. They need smart, passionate people who can bring fresh ideas and roll up their sleeves and do the work.
We have also started an additional level of discussion about diversity and the importance of listening to unfamiliar voices. Arts organizations, like business and government, are actively seeking ways to include those voices in their plans and their decisions. They need people with those voices to join their boards and contribute to the discussions and shape the programs and policies they will offer.
It’s time to get on board and get on a board.
Not in Nashville? That’s okay. Arts advocacy organizations across the country have similar programs. Just search for ‘arts board training’ using your favorite search engine. Or reach out to me and I’ll share other programs I know about.