Transforming a Board

The Board of the small, artist-led, organization met rarely. Individually, its members were friends and admirers of the artist. They were enthusiastic ambassadors and advocates for the organization. Their respect for the work was absolute. But the Board was not involved in strategy or operations in any way, nor did it raise money for the organization. Members could see that the Executive Director had challenges but they did not talk with her about them.

The organization went from success to success for many years but still had not been able to achieve financial stability. If the current Board couldn’t bring in the necessary resources, could the ED ask the current members to step aside and recruit new ones who could – and would – do a better job?

The first step should have been to solicit the assistance of the Chair, but that person was believed by the ED to be the source of the problem. So the ED wrote to each of the Board members to thank them for their service and to suggest that the organization was going in an exciting new direction. If they wanted to continue on the Board, there would be new expectations, but if they didn’t, the ED understood completely.