Chapter Flexible Board Option
Want to solidify your chapter’s ties to your local community? Develop fundraising connections? Acquire new opportunities for gigs and menus? Collaborate more easily with other performing arts groups and civic leaders.
Consider adding community members to your chapter board of directors.
Successful arts groups all have boards that are composed of non-performers who are supporters of the arts. They use their money, influence, and connections to further the group’s abilities and goals so the performers can focus more on honing their craft.
To see whether local chapters can benefit by borrowing a page from such independent arts groups, the Society has just approved new standard Chapter Bylaws that allows chapters to put non-Society members on their boards as members-at-large.
So, instead of envying the local symphony or community chorus for all their connections, you can copy their model of success by putting local VIPs and arts supporters on your board of directors as members-at-large.
What is the “Flexible Board” option?
The Flexible Board option allows chapters to include up to two non-BHS members on their boards of directors.
Who authorized the program?
The Society Board of Directors approved recent revisions (August 2016) to the Standard Chapter Bylaws to add greater flexibility for chapters to design a board structure best suited to meet the chapter’s individual needs.
What are the requirements to participate?
Any interested chapter can participate, right away! For chapters who wish to have more than two non-member at-large board seats on your board of directors, there is an expanded flexible board option available to be approved by the Society Executive Director/CEO. For the application and more information about that process, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
How do I register my chapter’s intent to participate in the Flexible Board Option?
You don’t need to register if you are utilizing the flexible board option! However, as mentioned above, if you’d like to include more than two non-members, you must apply for the expanded flexible board option.
How are community board members different from other board members?
They’re not. All officer positions in a chapter must still be held by members of that chapter (and thus BHS). Non-barbershop board members have all of the rights and responsibilities of an at-large member of the chapter’s board and are elected in the same manner as any other board member.
Why would I want someone who’s not a member of my chapter to help lead it?
There are a multitude of reasons! Non-members can provide an important perspective, giving a fresh view on chapter practices and even suggesting some new ones. Non-members can act as an important link with the community: non-profit arts organizations often have local leaders as board members who can help with everything from drumming up gigs to helping recruit schools for Harmony Explosion Festivals. Non-members can be fonts of expertise in everything from marketing to governance, based on their own personal and professional experience. Finally, non-members can help catalyze chapter fundraising. Having the leadership of a non-member who is willing to donate their own hard-earned cash and/or encourage others to do the same is an excellent way to expand a chapter’s revenue base.
How do I find a community member to be on the board?
First, decide what your goal is. There are a few “triple threats” out there (subject matter experts who are connected in their communities and who can raise funds), but they’re not easy to come by. Once you’ve decided what will help your chapter most, talk to your membership. Find out who the patrons that can’t get enough of your chapter are, and then see if they have the skills you’re after. Many people with a personal relationship with your chapter might already be ready to help – they’re just waiting for a manner in which to do so.
How does the Flexible Board Option relate to “looking out the window?
We often think of “looking out the window” in terms of our performances: are we performing for ourselves or for our audiences? But the metaphor is also apt for chapter governance. Almost every non-profit arts organization (your local theater company, symphony, gallery, even classical or pops chorus) has a board of directors made up of a significant number of non-singer/actor/instrumentalists. As we look to the broader arts community for opportunities to collaborate and ways to better expose audiences to our craft, it is also worthwhile to explore their management practices.
By utilizing the Flexible Board Option, am I giving up control of my chapter?
No, not really. Non-BHS members of your board are entitled to vote the same as any other board member. If they disagree with a policy proposal (and you can’t convince them of its worthiness) they can vote against it. However, as with any other board member, one of the selection criteria for nomination must be a vested interest in preserving (and growing!) the chapter. If a community board member is in the wrong because he or she doesn’t understand the concerns of the membership well enough, he or she can be outvoted. Otherwise, having the perspective of someone who loves the chapter but is not involved with it intimately can allow for an additional level of scrutiny that raises the quality of board directives.
Do we have to add the new board member right away?
No. It is as your chapter sees fit.
You’ve convinced me that this is a worthy initiative, but I need more information before I bring it up in my chapter. Where can I get some?
Email Antonio Lombardi, Manager of Chapter Leadership & Education at email@example.com and we can answer your questions or put you in touch with another chapter that is going through the process.