Tag Archives: Washington DC

Nonprofit Arts Organizations Without Flexibility Present a Disconnect When It Really Matters

Orlando

On September 12, 2001, we issued an internal memo at our nonprofit arts organization.  We proffered the notion that standing by our programming and “moving forward” was the best way to fight back.

We were wrong.  Putting on blinkers never helps.

On June 12, 2016, after one attack in Orlando and a foiled one in Santa Monica – key nonprofit arts organizations are right now readying memos rationalizing the same advice.

Move forward.  That’ll show ‘em.

At what tipping point do we scrap activities to reflect the damage inflicted on people?  Why must we wait for a year to see the first artistic responses?  Why not now?  Why worry about the production quality of said response?  As nonprofits, when do we sacrifice our comfort zone to provide leadership to our communities for some resolution?

Or should we just move forward?  Yet again?

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Aphorisms for the Modern Arts Charity Leader

Fortune Cookie

If it ain’t broke, break it. Then fix it.

You only read books in one direction.

Your legacy ends when you leave.

Institutional survival is not the goal.

Missions are gods; mission statements are bibles.

The best leaders are the best assistants.

Learn why before you continue.

Success is measured by impact, not excellence.

“Fiscal responsibility” is a business practice, not a mission statement.

Volunteers are employees who work for $0.

If your people are averaging 50+ hours a week, you’re failing.

Always use transitive verbs in your mission statements.

The cool kids are back in high school.

Sharpen your point of view; that’s why it’s a point.

Be completely, spectacularly wrong.

Treat candidates like employees.

Treat employees like human beings.

Treat human beings as though you are one.

Fire yourself regularly; interview yourself for your job.

Be funnier.

Just putting it out there…

ALAN HARRISON 790PT

I’ve been working with nonprofit arts organizations (mostly theaters) for most of the last twenty-six years. Executive/Managing Director for ten. Marketing and Development Director, too.  Consultant for nineteen, the last two full-time.

Raised several million dollars (not by myself, of course!). Increased attendance by hundreds of thousands, mostly by engaging young people.

I’m now looking to regroup. Enhance one brilliant mission.  Make life better.

I’m currently based in Seattle, so the I-5 corridor from greater Portland-BC would be optimal.  Additionally, I’m very interested in relocating – but to the right place: Chicago, San Diego, Eastern Michigan, NY/NJ/PA, or DC would be fantastic (personal networks in those regions).

I don’t come cheap. But I’ve proven that I’m worth it.

All I need is a company looking for greatness; more than the sum of its programming.

Interested?  Click here.

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