It's a few years back, during my Executive Director days.
I get a phone call from a Board member. He's about quitting the Board.
This ain't good. I try to figure out why. He's vague about it. He mentions "time constraints" and that sort of thing.
It's BS and I know it. I hunt for the real answer.
"Adam, I'm just not having any fun."
Boards of Directors are tricky things. We all have heard the story of the arts boards gone nuts.
When Board's work well . . . especially during Board meetings . . . the meetings tend to go like this.
The meeting starts with the financial stuff. Balance sheets, fundraising reports, etc.
The Board members sit there. They are trying to pay attention but it's real easy to zone out.
Because it's all numbers and corporate stuff.
Basically for these Board members (many of who are on the corporate side of life) it's like being at work. So you can understand the lack of enthusiasm.
Then, at the good Board meetings, something cool happens.
The Artistic Director starts sharing his vision for shows in the future.
Or a dancer comes in and shares some steps for his next recital.
Suddenly, these Board members who were struggling to stay awake, start to come alive.
They sit up in their chairs. The pens hit the table. They start asking good questions.
You've got to remember, this is what they came here for.
If they wanted to spend hours thinking about budgets and deficits and the money they need to make it to the next day . . . they could have just stayed at work.
These Board members have joined your organization because they want to connect to the art. The money they give you in the form of donations, is the price they pay for that connection.
But if you don't give them that connection. If you keep the art at arms length from them, then you run the risk of losing them . . .
Because they aren't having any fun.