Tag Archives: Full-time

Feedback from You (yes, you): 9 Words That Describe the Nonprofit Arts Issues That Are Placing You at the End of Your Rope

rope

This blog, as most are, is pretty much one-way.  I share experiences, advice, consultation, and observations; you read ’em.  I can discuss 1,000 issues that affect nonprofit arts organizations.

But that’s me.

What keeps you up at night?

What concrete issue (not just “there’s no funding for…”) is fraying your rope?  Or better, what issues are figuratively tying a noose around the end of your rope?

Here’s your assignment.  In 9 words (no more, no less), write that issue and send it to info@137words.com.  That’s it.  Beginning in August, we’ll periodically take each issue and I’ll give my take.  Then we’ll open up the discussion to everyone who reads 137 Words.  Let me know if you’d like your name in or if you’d like to be anonymous.  And if you’d like my help privately, let me know that, too.

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Life on the Unraveling Nonprofit Arts Fringe: Why Hiring Experience and Guile Trumps Everything Else

Actor Hugh O’Brian is said to have coined “The 5 Stages of an Actor’s Career;”

  1. Who is Hugh O’Brian?
  2. Get me Hugh O’Brian.
  3. Get me a Hugh O’Brian type.
  4. Get me a young Hugh O’Brian.
  5. Who is Hugh O’Brian?

We’re in contact with hundreds of highly-experienced, resilient people who have made a career in the arts – and they’re having difficulties getting back into the field.

Some of it is ageism. Boards use headhunters to find smart young guns to lead departments or organizations — only to find that instead, they’ve hired brilliant 2-year placeholders with few people skills, entitlement issues, little flexibility, and quick parachutes.

Studies show those >50 stay longer than those under <40, are more productive, have better improvisational skills and flexibility, and are likelier to bring success.

Forget headhunters.  Do your own search.  Hire someone better than you.

If You’re _____________, Then Your Nonprofit Arts Organization is Probably Unsustainable (with apologies to Jeff Foxworthy)

Single woman sitting lonely in an empty cinema or theatre

  • not paying your executive director because s/he is independently wealthy and actually donates 6 figures to the company;
  • working 70 hours/week every week and see nothing wrong with that;
  • hiring part-time employees and expecting them to work full-time free of charge;
  • of the belief that your employees are less important than your equipment or your building;
  • insisting that anyone besides your marketing director is the final word on your marketing;
  • keeping your artistic director away from donors because s/he doesn’t know how to interact with them;
  • in the mindset that any of your people are more important than any other of your people;
  • playing “Dialing for Dollars” to meet your payroll;
  • arguing that “keeping the base” is more important than expanding the audience, while…
  • thinking that you can do both;
  • sweating a little right now after reading this post.

$14.50

On July 24, 2009, the national minimum wage was $7.25/hour.

A year has a capacity for 2,080 hours (40 hours x 52 weeks). 2,080 hours provides an annual gross income of $15,080 (if the employer pays for holidays, sick days, insurance, parking, etc.).  Income tax lowers the figure down to $12,516.

The 2009 official poverty line for the US (family of four) was $22,050.

4½ years later, minimum wage is still $12,516/year.

If the minimum wage were doubled for businesses with 50+ employees, the gross annual minimum wage would be $30,160.  After federal tax, those employees would take home $25,033. 2013’s official four-person-family poverty line is estimated to be $25,000.

Sounds about right. Unless the economy is built on maintaining a working poor. If that’s the case, we should reduce the minimum wage and build workhouses.

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