Engage Now!

It has been some time since I first hinted that another book was coming out. And I am happy, nay ecstatic, to say, it's here. Engage Now! A Guide to Making the Arts Indispensable is now available in paperback. The ebook version will be out very soon. It's wonderful to have this completed. Two years in the making is a pretty long gestation period. Regular readers of Engaging Matters have seen a good deal of it in draft form in this location. I'm … [Read more...]

Can’t Buy Me Love


In my last post I ended part-way through a rant about the widely perceived incompatibility of a "fundraising board" with true commitment to community engagement or, more broadly, diversity in general. Without repeating that post, the principal concern was the assumption that money was the only or by far the most important resource that board members can bring to an organization. If that is the conscious or even unconscious view of the board, … [Read more...]

Give or Get


I was recently asked, yet again, how an organization can reconcile a fundraising board with the need for greater community representation. Rather than immediately entering "rant mode," I thought about it for a couple of days and realized that there was much more to rant about than I have acknowledged in the past. While this is not a question exclusive to the practice of community engagement, because nearly all arts organizations need to do major … [Read more...]

The Ethics of Engagement

Last week I had the privilege of participating in a conference presentation at TCG’s (Theatre Communications Group) Audience (R)Evolution Convening addressing the Ethics of Engagement. I was one member of a panel of four including Martha Lavey, Artistic Director, Steppenwolf Theatre Company; Seema Sueko, Associate Artistic Director, Pasadena Playhouse; and Shay Wafer, Executive Director, 651 Arts. Facilitator Michael Rohd, Founding Artistic … [Read more...]

A Board of Engagers

Previously (The Board as Engagers), I discussed considering one role of the board to be that of relationship engine. That would lead recruitment processes to include relationship capital as one criteria for membership. I also acknowledged, at the end, that that might not be immediately possible, practical, or even advisable in all situations and promised an alternative. That's what we're about here. (NB: In posts on mainstreaming engagement, I … [Read more...]

The Board as Engagers


Today we consider nonprofit governance from a community engagement perspective, specifically the make-up and function of the nonprofit board of directors. Most arts administrators understand boards as resource engines. We have a history (understandably) of populating our boards with moneyed people or people who know moneyed people. They clearly represent financial resources. In Governance as Leadership authors Richard P. Chait, William P. Ryan … [Read more...]