Best Practices

BestPracitces?

There is a concept that has become extremely popular in management circles over the last decade or so: best practices. By that people mean the set of structures or programs that are most effective in achieving a particular desired end. Generally, these will be approaches that have resulted in success in numerous different situations in a number of different places. It is a popular concept because it prevents people from having to "reinvent the … [Read more...]

Public Charity

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Wonkiness Alert This post is only (or mostly) for those interested in nonprofit minutiae. There are two basic types of 501(c)(3) organizations: public charities and private foundations. Private foundations are limited in the deductions available to contributors, are subject to excise taxes, and have a different and more complicated Form 990 (990PF) to fill out. (In addition, they are required to distribute a minimum percentage of their assets … [Read more...]

“Community”

BirdsInCommunity

In April, Nina Simon furthered the conversation about the nature of community and the means of engagement. Her posts, How Do You Define "Community"? and Building Community: Who/How/Why? were invaluable additions to the field. As is often the case, I could be perfectly happy with providing those links and ending this post. However, I don't want to feel like a total slacker, so let me add a word or two regardless of whether or not there is a need … [Read more...]

Creative

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I recently returned from participating in a Colorado Creative Industries gathering in Ft. Collins. There were three separate events presented (a fact which dawned on me only shortly before I got on the plane to attend)–a Change Leaders Conference, a Colorado Creative Districts convening, and CCI’s annual Summit–and I was part of all three. A significant insight for me was the use of the word “creative” in much of the work in Colorado. CCI is one … [Read more...]

Parsing “Engage”

EngagementRing

The local arts agency in a small U.S. city is sponsoring a program to encourage community members to learn about and then volunteer to work with area arts organizations. An early public program functioned a bit like a speed dating mixer. It's an interesting idea and is valuable for those who would like to be more involved with the arts but don't know much about the various organizations or about the volunteer opportunities available. For … [Read more...]

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...]

Self-Made Barriers

BerlinWall

In my last post I reflected on the potential damage to relationships (or damage to the capacity to form relationships) with those outside the inner world of the arts that the word "outreach" can inflict. (Outreach) I mentioned that there were other such words or concepts that have the effect of creating or supporting distance between our organizations and those with whom we would like to build meaningful relationships. There are, in our field, … [Read more...]

Outreach

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I've just returned from speaking at the first ever Central Oregon Arts Summit in Bend, OR. It was a great (and quick) trip to a place that appears to be reaping the benefits of over twenty years of active work cultivating a public policy climate favorable to the arts. As one demonstration, the voters of Bend recently approved a hotel tax dedicated to supporting the arts and culture. Travel and speaking with peers from around the country always … [Read more...]

Community Engagement ≠ Charity

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A couple of weeks ago my blogging buddy Trevor O'Donnell posted one of his parting essays, "Community Engagement is a Lousy Way to Sell Tickets." [Disclosure: we had been corresponding on the subject in the days ahead of that post.] In it he highlights the fact that community engagement does not generate much in the way of immediate ticket sales and to expect it to do so demonstrates a lack of understanding of the nature of the work. He also … [Read more...]

Go to the Gemba

Gemba

Show of hands. Who knows what the title of this post means? As I've mentioned before, my son is a higher ed IT management consultant. From him I learn many fascinating things about what's going on in the world of management theory and practice. Recently he told me that one of his favorite approaches–Lean, derived from Toyota's management style in the 1980's (which was the heart of Japan's conquering the automobile industry)–incorporates the … [Read more...]