A founder transition requires strong leadership from the board. Is your board ready?
It's important for a chorus to convey messages through marketing communications that are consistent with the brand conveyed through its musicmaking. A periodic brand audit—conducted either by a consultant or done yourselves following the simple steps below—will help bring you into alignment.
A mission statement that articulates not just who you are but why you matter will help your chorus stand out in the eyes of potential singers, audiences, and donors.
In the 2005 study, Choral Conductors Today, Chorus America learned that as many as one-third of choruses are conducted by their founders, and furthermore that a majority of these choruses were founded a generation or more ago. This data suggests that a large number of choruses will be facing significant leadership transitions and indeed, experience in the intervening years has borne out this assertion.
Developing a dynamic board requires identifying a pool of strong candidates, the ability to select the right ones for your organization, and an effective board orientation. It is also important to engage and educate your trustees, to have an effective board rotation plan, to ensure that your representation is diverse, and to evaluate performance so that your board improves with age. And of course, it is always important to show your appreciation to the trustees who give your arts organization its special personality.
Choruses undergo many transitions in their life span—founder transitions, music director transitions, transitions from volunteer to paid staff. Perhaps the most delicate of these important transitions is the evolution from a singer board to a community board. This shift from a board comprised predominately of singers who have responsibility for every facet of the organization to a governing body with broad community representation can be both a challenging and lengthy process.