4 years

by Jini Stolk

It’s been four years since I began writing this blog. Four whole years? Only four years? It’s hard to say which is the more accurate expression of how I feel about this engrossing labour of love, which has so far resulted in over 250 posts on the art of managing the arts.

I continue to feel grateful to the Toronto Arts Foundation for allowing me to make such a smooth transition from Creative Trust - a project that still lives and grows through the blog. I’ve based many of my posts on what I experienced, observed and learned during those ten exhilarating years. Unexpectedly, this work has also allowed me to feel at ease as the Toronto Arts Foundation’s “research fellow” – because, in fact, a great deal of research goes into these posts. I’ve been inspired by following other writers in our field and staying on top of significant research on the arts, not only in Canada but around the world (in fact too rarely in Canada, but that’s another story…) I’ve been able to take the time to make connections between theory, research and practical advice that I hope might make life easier for people working behind the scenes.

I was recently mocked by somebody I love for getting excited about an article in the Globe and Mail’s business pages about balanced decision making, combining scientific and artistic ways of thinking. Okay, I see their point…but I still think it’s worth working into a post…

My first post was titled “Why a blog?”. I said four years ago that “The reason why we’re starting a blog is because…capacity building is an ongoing process of learning, change and growth. We want to engage in a wider discussion about capacity, audiences and facilities in the arts; to build a broader community of learning around these crucial issues; and to discover increased opportunities for sharing and collaboration.”

That still sounds right. I haven’t veered from this direction, although I’m sometimes now looking wider afield for ideas and examples on topics that I find to be of absorbing interest, and filtering them through my sometimes opinionated filter.

But of course (as you will have noticed) I’m most often inspired by the work I see and the conversations I have with people working right now, in the arts, in Toronto. Your words of support and appreciation are always energizing, and I hope that with this blog I’m adequately expressing my own support and appreciation for all the great and important work you do.

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An intelligent community

by Jini Stolk

My faith in Toronto is beginning to revive following the recent election. It felt so good to vote for principled people committed to throwing off the chaos and divisiveness of the past four years.

Like many of you, my feelings about Toronto had been veering wildly from despair (we can’t get our act together on transit; we’ve allowed our city to be divided not only geographically, but by income and place of origin; we haven’t had the courage to create solutions to inequity in services and opportunities) to optimism and pride. The latter comes from the continuing accomplishments of our artists and creative community, for sure, but also from the energetic, innovative city-building initiatives coming from my workplace, the Centre for Social Innovation, and many of Toronto’s nonprofit organizations.

But perhaps it’s familiarity that breeds contempt, because I was surprised and pleased to see that Toronto was voted the 2014 Most Intelligent Community by an independent U.S. think tank devoted to new ideas and a new economy. I was especially glad to see that things I’ve been much involved in, like the Centre for Social Innovation and Regent Park’s cultural renaissance, were specifically cited.

The 2014 Visionary of the Year was also a GTA resident, Suneet Singh Tuli, developer of the world’s cheapest computer which has the potential to revolutionize access to knowledge for billions of people around the world. According to Tuli, “I don’t care about creating the iPad killer. I care about the four billion people who can afford this device.” That sounds like the Toronto I know and love.

It’s not that the Intelligent Community selection committee missed the headlines about our local leadership troubles. One of the reasons Toronto was chosen was because in the midst of a volatile and polarizing political situation, both civic and political progress and achievements continued.

That IS something I’ve noticed. The methods used by determined and visionary communities to create positive change – a great example being the forces that led to City Council’s unanimous vote to significantly increase the Toronto Arts Council’s budget - should be the subject of serious discussion and analysis.

This victory went well beyond one vote. It was impossible to miss the encouraging fact that all the candidates at ArtsVote’s mayoral debate spoke forcefully in support of the arts. This common understanding of the importance and impact of the arts to Toronto’s economic and social well-being was, I think, forged through conflict and the search for common values and positive solutions.

The road’s been hard, but the vista is promising.

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Community bonding

by Jini Stolk

The lack of reliable support for arts venues (and for those running, renting, maintaining, upgrading and renovating them) often feels like the elephant in the cultural policy room.

Two recent meetings, one convened by the Toronto Arts Council and one by the Metcalf Foundation, acknowledged the additional pressures (including but not exclusively financial) of owning a space. While neither meeting was meant to advance new program or funding plans they were useful gatherings that clearly defined the issues at hand: the need for production and co-production formats (and ideally funding) that take into account the venues’ contributions; and the need for flexible capital expertise (and adequate funding) on an as-needed basis.

For spaces with such a large community impact, we’re currently leaving each organization to find its own solutions in its own way and on its own time. Not perfect.

This is why creative capital financing solutions become so exciting.

The Centre for Social Innovation, always a leader in new ideas and brave ventures and whose board I served on for 10 years, was one of the first to use interest-bearing community bonds to finance a nonprofit workspace – CSI Annex, where I work.

And they’re doing it again. On October 16th CSI announced that they’re buying the Murray Building, across the street from CSI Spadina – a brick and beam building with 64,000 sq feet of “urban goodness and world changing potential.” CEO Tonya Surman wrote a blog about the why of buying a building to secure affordable long term rental space for social innovation in downtown Toronto.

To raise the capital needed for this purchase, CSI is issuing a new series of Community Bonds with minimum investments starting at only $1,000. This week they reached their first goal point of $1 million, with $3 million still to go. While community bonds are not a solution for every organization – they require a healthy and sophisticated financial and organizational capacity – they definitely have potential for a number of arts organizations in our community and beyond. They’re also, as you would imagine, a superlative opportunity to expand community ties, drawing a wide range of people closer to your organization’s goals and space.

If you’re interested in aligning your money and your values, the CSI is hosting information sessions for anyone interested. Contact Leah Pollock 416.407.8040 or bonds@socialinnovation.ca.

Ideas like this are necessary to prevent the struggles of many arts organizations in the States, who’ve been succumbing to a pattern of crisis recently outlined by the Nonprofit Quarterly:

  • A commitment in 2007 or 2008 was made to a new building or other expensive outlay on the basis of pre-recession assumptions.
  • The recession hits, and not only does it negatively affect the group’s capital goals, but it also affects its operating revenue.
  • Debt grows and the organization often cannibalizes its capacity in an attempt to stay afloat.
  • The organization no longer appears viable unless some institution, be it public or private or some combination thereof, realizes that the group is a valuable enough city asset to make a strong enough investment to bring it back.

In retrospect, we’re very lucky that the Province of Ontario acknowledged these pressures on some of the Cultural Renaissance building projects supported by the Canada-Ontario Infrastructure Program, and provided increased operating funding to help them avoid debilitating financial difficulties. In fact, although I’m knocking on wood as we speak, very careful planning combined with the sort of natural caution we’re good at in Canada, seems to have resulted in relatively strong and successful arts capital projects of all sizes in Toronto.

I have to end by saying, with frustration and some anger, that MaRS’ inability to find tenants for their newest building or make timely payments on their loan could very well close the door on expanding access to the province’s Infrastructure Loan Program. The Ontario Nonprofit Network worked very hard for years – as did a number of sectors including, prominently, the arts community - to negotiate opening this capital loan program to a wider range of nonprofits. We were all committed to doing this in a way that reduced any likelihood of default through a system of thorough financial analysis, tight business planning, and the provision of ongoing professional expertise and support – ensuring that organizations receiving loans could safely afford their carrying costs.

It’s particularly galling because some of the officials we talked to over that time seemed to feel that well-qualified and capable arts organizations, daycares and nonprofit housing groups posed an unacceptable risk to the province’s financial stability. As if! The front-page news around MaRS has done more harm than any loan-ready arts group, community-run daycare or nonprofit housing provider could ever have done.

The vast majority of nonprofit and charitable organizations feel a compelling responsibility to use public funds well and carefully. Why is this still such a little known fact?

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Stopping by the ROM on a Friday evening

by Jini Stolk

At 7 pm last Friday I was passing by the ROM and was intrigued to see a large line-up at the doors. Interesting. But on my way back home at 9 pm, I was really intrigued to see an even larger line-up, all Gen-Y’s it seemed, dressed for a night on the town, eagerly milling about and taking photos and selfies as is their wont. Of course I stopped to ask what was happening, and a young woman quickly answered “ROM Friday.” Was it just me being paranoid or was there a hint of eye-rolling going on?

Anyway, I didn’t know! ROM Fridays, known officially as ROM Friday Night Live, are a very big deal, with a full season of events attracting crowds of hundreds – no, thousands, I just checked their website – and featuring “eclectic eats, drinks, DJs, dancing, live music and unexpected experiences.” Earlybird (online) tickets sell out but tickets are available at the door starting at 7 pm, hence the crowd at the “NEED’EM” line (love that name) near the main entrance. This will be going on every Friday between October 10 to November 28, 7-12 pm, and no doubt beyond.

I would have loved to stop and talk with the crowd about what brought them there and what they thought of their evening – but I had promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep(ed)… However, an age-appropriate colleague has volunteered to check out the next event, so I may be back to you with exciting updates from the dance floor.

It seems clear that ROM Fridays are a wonderful audience development idea that will keep on giving. Not only do they open a major public space to the public in a very appealing way, but attenders are also invited into the exhibitions where they can become familiar with the ROM beyond the parties. Once they have children I bet they’ll be taking them to the museum on the odd Saturday afternoon – growing entire new generations of gallery-goers.

By the way, on that fateful Friday evening I was on my way to another great audience engagement and cultural partnership event, Soundstreams’ Salon 21 at the Gardiner Museum. I was interested in seeing the Clare Twomey installation riffing on the Gardiner’s commedia dell’arte collection, and I also had the pleasure of learning everything I ever wanted to know about the accordion from little known accordion genius Michael Bridge. His informal performance, discussion and Q & A proved once and for all that the accordion is cool, capable in its digital form of playing Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture complete with cannons, as well as much-loved repertoire from Guns ‘n’ Roses.

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Equity in Theatre

by Jini Stolk

I was planning to write on the above topic and then discovered that it’s the name of a welcome new initiative  from Playwrights Guild of Canada and a stellar list of partners including Associated Designers of Canada, Canadian Actors’ Equity Association, and the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres.

EIT’s focus is on the under-representation of women in Canadian theatre. My thoughts about equity were sparked by learning that as of 2013, more than half of Toronto residents were born outside of Canada. According to The Toronto Foundation’s recent Vital Signs report, one in 12 of those new Torontonians arrived in the previous five years, and one-third arrived within the past decade.

This should be more than a matter of interest to Toronto’s arts and larger community: it should be a ringing call to action. It should also, of course, be a source of pride and excitement, and will certainly test our resilience and ability to creatively adapt to this new reality.

The friend who sent me this link is much involved with welcoming newcomers to Toronto, and has attended a number of citizenship ceremonies where new citizens now receive a year’s free attendance at the ROM, AGO, and the Science Centre thanks to the good work of Adrienne Clarkson’s and John Saul’s Institute for Canadian Citizenship. She suspects, however, that many will not use the passes – not because of lack of interest, necessarily, but because attending a museum is unfamiliar and uncomfortable.

This is something we can work on and we’ve had exceptional advice from Donna Walker Kuhne on how to help people build personal connections to the art and the importance of going to the communities we want to invite into our spaces, listening to what they say, and creating a campaign based on what they tell us.

Leonard Jacobs, Director of Cultural Institutions at the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, has been sharing some recent pieces related to this topic. According to the Broadway League, the average Broadway attendee is a 42-year-old white woman with a family income of over $189,000; the nonprofit regional theatres have a similar audience profile.

Diane Ragsdale, a speaker at one of Creative Trust’s audience engagement seminars, recently quoted English playwright Mark Ravenhill in her blog: “We are a place that offers luxury, go-on-spoil-yourself evenings where in new buildings paid for by a national lottery (a voluntary regressive tax) you can mingle with our wealthy donors and sponsors from the corporate sector and treat yourself to that extra glass of champagne… but we are also a place that cares deeply about social justice and exclusion as the wonderful work of our outreach and education teams show.”

If we really care we might want to think about this from Buckminster Fuller, “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

Shawn C. Harris argues here that “artists as a group (individuals may vary) possess a cluster of characteristics that can make us ideal educators, activists, and organizers for gender and racial equity in the arts…What struck me was how, if I looked at the traits for a community organizer and lined them up with the traits for a theatre or dance artist, there would be many commonalities. Such as:

  • The ability to form positive working relationships with many people from a variety of backgrounds, ability, and temperaments.
  • Organization: Who does what; when and where it happens; how to get there; where this or that goes; what needs to be bought, transported, or disposed of.
  • The power to imagine a new reality and manifest that vision even with limited resources.
  • Creative problem-solving: What do you do when you have a problem that needs to be fixed in a short amount of time?
  • The courage to dream big and pursue those dreams.
  • The talent for sharing the universal through the particular.
  • Empathy for people who have radically different experiences and perspectives.
  • The ability to communicate a message in a way that reaches people in the deepest parts of themselves.
  • The willingness to experiment with new forms and content.”

Who knew? Well, actually, I think I did. Exciting times.


Also of interest:

The Wallace Foundation which recently announced a new $40 million audience development initiative has released an infographic on Nine Effective Practices for Building Audiences for the Arts…starting with “Recognizing When Change is Needed”. The latest in its series Wallace Studies in Building Arts Audiences is titled The Road to Results: Effective Practices for Building Arts Audiences, based on audience-building projects funded by the foundation between 2006 and 2012.


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Two gems

by Jini Stolk

Site visits by funders seem to be much more common in the States than they are here – although I can’t think of many better ways to gain an understanding of an organization than by visiting its work place. But if you do have a site visit in your future, this piece by my new favourite blogger, Seattle’s Vu Le, contains wise advice and some home truths (see point #4, and weep…) It’s also very funny, so be prepared to lose a few hours surfing through his posts and falling off your chair laughing.

I’ve frequently offered grateful thanks to the Nonprofit Quarterly, which remains one of my favourite sources of thought-provoking writing, wise advice and strong progressive analysis of nonprofit issues. They’ve recently been fundraising online (and doing it extremely well, not surprisingly) and I was happy to contribute. Another of their reader-donors described it well: “NPQ is like MapQuest for my professional life.” 

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The 8-minute AGM

by Jini Stolk

Everyone gets excited about the prospect of a short and sweet (concise and incisive) Annual General Meeting. The legally required business of an AGM is straightforward, often a bit dull, and rarely adds fireworks to an event featuring activities such as donor recognition, awards, new program announcements or workshops.

An organization I chair recently decided to include our AGM within a conference program, but wrap it up in a grand total of 8 minutes. It was tremendously successful – although I have to admit that our meeting actually clocked in at 8 minutes, 40 seconds; we’re planning to cut the chat and do better next time!

As this was our first AGM, there were no previous minutes or financial audit to approve; a two-page annual report was distributed at the meeting and emailed to all members. Thanks to Cathy Taylor of the Ontario Nonprofit Network and Marg Stanowski of Operation Springboard for sharing their time-saving templates.

An 8 Minute AGM Agenda: with detailed script and notes 

1. Welcome and Call to Order

2. Approval of AGM Agenda

3. Approval of By-Law No. 1

4. Election of Directors

5. Appointment of the Auditor

6. Closing Remarks & Adjournment

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Hiring the right fundraising consultant

by guest writer Cynthia J. Armour, CFREwww.elderstone.ca

Here’s some sage advice about finding the right fundraising consultant for your organization, from a leader in the field.

Fundraising Consultants come in many forms. If you search them in the yellow pages or Charity Village you’ll find anything from chocolate bar sales to firms that drive multi-million dollar capital campaigns, and everything in between! These are all for-profit companies that can range from those driven by the bottom line to members of fundraising associations who abide by strict ethical fundraising codes of conduct. No wonder it’s hard to know who’s right for your charity.

Small organizations often have the hardest time. They are under-resourced and possibly looking for a quick fix. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. I’ve heard horror stories about third party fundraisers that offered to run an entire event and then the charity actually ended up with minimal profit or worse, in a deficit because they either didn’t have a written agreement or they hadn’t read the fine print.

Wishful thinking in fundraising usually overlooks best practices and what we know to be proven methods with reasonable returns on investment. As one of my colleagues once said “we need more backbone – less wishbone”. Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) updated its Fundraising Guidance in 2012. They state “While recognizing the necessity of fundraising, the CRA expects charities to be transparent and conduct all fundraising within acceptable legal parameters.” The cost of fundraising is an important factor they examine.

Those of us who do abide by a strict code of ethical conduct don’t fundraise on commission. This is probably the most often-asked question I get from small charities. Their revenue generation strategies have reached desperate measures and they have no funds to get the expertise they require.

Charity leaders (staff and board) need to understand that it takes money to make money and it can take three to five years to get a solid fundraising program off the ground. Without allocating adequate resources to your efforts and acknowledging the costs of business the organization could self-destruct. However, it’s hard to know where to start.

What kind of consultant does your charity need?

What’s your end-goal? Be really clear on your expectations before you go searching through the array of services offered. Some consultants are one-person-shops or just focus on a single service like special events (usually more friend-raising than fundraising), grant writing or direct mail; others may offer a full-service package on their own or with associates. It’s up to the chief executive and board to clearly articulate what’s expected as a result of retaining this consultant. Be as tangible as possible. If you don’t know what you don’t know try talking to colleagues with enviable fundraising programs. Those completely new to fundraising should research “readiness” to help identify the necessary prerequisites.

Consultants don’t walk on water

Some charities expect miracles. Despite boasting that I can do the loaves and fishes trick when unexpected company arrives at my farm, it’s only because there are always baguettes and smoked salmon in my freezer!  While I can’t feed the masses I’ve demonstrated I’m a strategic thinker and subscribe to the Girl Guide’s motto.

Successful fund development relies on strategy and team effort. In order to capitalize on your consulting investment try to identify knowledge gaps and be sure organizational capacity building is part of your mutual (and signed) agreement.

What’s your budget?

Most grassroots charities can’t afford major fundraising consulting firms. Don’t despair. There is SO much information available online that without spending anything, you can strengthen your charity’s knowledge base by encouraging a culture of learning and team growth, provided you build information sharing into your agendas.

Identify your “Trusted Sources” which include this blog, your charity’s regulator – Canada Revenue Agency Charities Directorate site, Charity Village and Charity eNews to name just a few Canadian examples.

Don’t ask consultants to write lengthy proposals without at least offering a budget range; it’s a courtesy that will save time and effort for both sides. It’s even better if you can state a figure. For instance, “based on what you know of our circumstances please provide a proposal of your recommended approach for $X amount”. When a “Request for Proposals” outlines desired end goals and a clear budget it’s much easier to compare apples to apples when you review the responses.

How to decide

The advantage of retaining professional counsel is the level of expertise provided. Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish.  The right consultant can give an objective perspective and help your charity create a realistic fundraising plan, set up the necessary infrastructure in order to succeed, train your board, volunteers and staff to work together as a development team and build your organization’s “culture of philanthropy”.

Depending on your charity’s needs there are a number of factors necessary to consider when selecting the right consultant. These include the company or individual’s:

  • knowledge of your area and local environment
  • relevant experience to your charity’s needs
  • references from similar charities the consultant has served
  • staff complement and who is designated to serve your charity (and their experience level)
  • credibility in the fundraising community
  • compatibility with those with whom they’re working and the organizational culture

For more information here’s a helpful link from a respected colleague — Kim Klein
Here’s some help with writing RFPs and assessing the responses.

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Update on accessibility

by Jini Stolk

The Air Canada Centre must be very sorry it didn’t accommodate a legally blind ticket buyer’s request for accessible seating at Stevie Wonder’s upcoming concert. The overwhelmingly bad PR for ACC and Ticketmaster highlighted just one of the reasons we want to stay well ahead of the AODA (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act) requirements.

Matt Galloway, in his coverage of the media/social media storm, noted that some of Toronto’s smaller theatres have been making progress on accessibility. Music to my ears. I think it’s fair to say that Creative Trust and Picasso PRO‘s Performing Arts Access Program helped raise awareness of the importance of welcoming Blind/low vision and Deaf/hard of hearing audiences to our theatres.

We also made it easier by producing two handbooks for producers and presenters of Audio Described and American Sign Language interpreted performances.

As to real progress, there’s been more than a little going on since our Arts Access Program wrapped up in 2012.

The Accessing the Arts Symposium at Whitby’s new Abilities Centre in June, brought together some of the key artists and arts professionals incorporating inclusive thinking into their programming, creation,  and education initiatives. Selfconscious Theatre’s Book of Judith was the centre piece and co-producer of the symposium.

Other initiatives I’ve been keeping my eyes on include: Aluna Theatre’s Rutas Panamericanas which worked with two audio describers trained by Picasso PRO/Creative Trust to provide access for Deaf/hard of hearing attenders. Native Earth Performing Arts has been a leader in the area; its theatre space was designed to be fully accessible, and the company has been actively committed to hosting accessible performances. Native Earth even took part in Accessibility Ontario’s Train the Trainer workshop, because “We wanted to train the arts to understand accessibility beyond just administration,” according to Rae Powell, former Project Manager of the Accessibility Program at Native Earth. “Canada is behind the times in accessible performance and we wanted to do the right thing by bringing more of it to Toronto.”

Judith Thompson’s RARE at the Young Centre brought actors with disabilities onstage. Tribes, a Theatrefront Production at Canadian Stage and Theatre Aquarius, was not only about characters with disabilities; it mixed American Sign Language with English onstage. A False Face, presented last year by a new indigenous theatre company, Spiderbones Performing Arts, included ASL performances. The Kitchener-Waterloo Arab Canadian Theatre/KW-ACT provided ASL interpretation in a production in July. To a Flame, with Erin Shields writing in both sign and spoken language, has undergone an extraordinary development process involving Picasso PRO and the National Deaf Theatres of both Sweden and Finland.

Last but not least, the wonderful Picasso PRO with Andrea Donaldson and the SPiLL Collective (formed “to ignite an explosion of Deaf cultural presence within Canadian arts and culture”) have been developing a Deaf-led piece called Finding Alice, which will have its first showing later this month in Gatineau.

Even with all the above I’m not yet ready to declare a revolution, but it’s a serious moment in the cultural movement and a hopeful sign of more changes to come.

A leader in ASL theatre in our community recently posed a question conveying both the early commitment to accessibility and creative partnerships needed to move things forward. From Joanna Bennett: “What if some (co- or touring productions) integrated interpretation in their show from the get go, thereby spreading the opportunity for an accessible show to be seen in many cities/theatre houses throughout the tour. To take the load off the original company, the houses that bring them in (could) share the cost…creating a ripple effect…because the hosting towns would get a taste of what interpreted shows are like and may be interested to try it themselves!”

Right on, Jo.

Physical Accessibility

Following its emergence as a major theme at the Mayoral Arts Debate at TIFF this week, physical and built form accessibility is also a growing force. Remember that Accessibility Standards for the Built Environment are coming up soon.

Employment Opportunities

Some of us noticed that the new Mandate Letter for the Ontario  Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure included a directive around “Increasing the number of employment opportunities for Ontarians of all abilities by establishing new partnerships with business and persons with disabilities.”  How about with arts and other nonprofit organizations too?

Promoting Your Accessibility

From VisitEngland: “Developing and promoting your Access Statement is essential. An Access Statement is a detailed description of facilities and services that enables your customers to make an informed choice; it’s a great promotional opportunity to reach customers with access needs too.” Check out their free online tool for more.

Accessibility Ontario also has terrific resources for accessible communications and marketing.

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Network (and other) leadership for change

by Jini Stolk

I was delighted to be asked to do a 5×5 presentation for the recent Ontario Nonprofit Network conference , although summing up the qualities of successful Network Leadership in five minutes and five slides was a bit daunting.

Basically, I said (with many thanks to June Holley’s superb Network Weaver and Liz Rykert’s exceptional workshops on the topic) that:

  • networks – widespread collaborations usually organized to deal with big and complex issues – require not better leadership, but different leadership and leadership skills
  • network leaders encourage and draw out new voices and leaders; need to be flexible; encourage initiative; weave people together and make connections
  • they encourage people to take responsibility; are open and transparent; understand and identify breakthroughs; embrace innovation and constantly share
  • they feel the joy of working to achieve real change, and communicate it to others

All very true, and quite different from standard “business book” definitions of leadership.

But wait. “Nimble, vibrant organizations will need a special kind of leadership, comfortable with uncertainty and excited by unknowns. You’ll be good at what you love to do” we were reminded several years ago by Joanna Mackie in a workshop sponsored by Work in Culture.

She said that changing leadership requires the ability to enable the leadership of others; pull together strategies to engage others in making positive change; focus on what works; make links; prepare to adapt, be flexible; ensure your thinking and intentions are understood; focus on the goal and relationships.

The Minnesota Council of Nonprofit’s Principles and Practices for Nonprofit Excellence makes many similar and important points in this great piece aimed at board, management and volunteer leaders.

I also like Jess Lee, CEO of the fashion website Polyvore, who says that she cleaves to three values in everything she does: delight the user; do a few things well; and make an impact. Great advice for all of us.

Maybe it’s the world that’s changing, not just the type of leadership we now value. I’m all in favour of new values and practices in the arts, nonprofit, and all other sectors as we continue on into the 2,000′s. What we’ve been doing up until now in this world of ours is just…messed up. (Sorry guys, but I’ve just finished reading today’s news!)


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