Managing a chorus takes a village. It requires a vast skill set and a lot of time.
While it may be easier to recruit singers to be board members, filling the board with only singers may not be the best solution for your chorus.
In this article, we'll discuss the reasons why you may want non-singers on your board and how to find them.
Reasons to Have Non-Singers On Your Board
- To avoid volunteer burnout. Your singers may already be doing too much - singing, volunteering, selling tickets, fundraising, etc. You can provide some relief to them by bringing on outside board members.
- To bring in a specific skillset. Our singers don't always have the skills or expertise required to run a nonprofit. By bringing in outside board members you can fill in those gaps of expertise.
- To bring in new ideas and new perspectives. Homogenous boards often stick to the status quo and don't look to make changes or improve. Board members outside the organization can give you new ideas, a new perspective, or an "outsider's" perspective of the organization.
Pre-Work: Set Expectations and Job Description
Before soliciting new members, it's important to put in some of the legwork ahead of time. Make sure you have clearly written out expectations and/or job description for your board members. What is their role? What is the time commitment? What financial commitment (if any) is required? What types of projects might they be asked to participate in?
6 Ideas for Getting Non-Singers to Join Your Board
1. Post on Board Matching Sites
Take advantage of sites that are dedicated specifically to matching potential board members to a nonprofit. Here are three places to post:
2. Post Board Projects and Positions to Volunteer Sites
If you have a specific project or position you need help with, try seeking some pro bono help. As you bring in outside consultants to help with projects, you'll have the opportunity to build a relationship with them and see whether those individuals might be a good fit for the organization in the long-term. Here are a few places you can list projects or positions for volunteers who want to offer pro bono services:
- Create the Good
- All for Good
- National & Community Service
3. Work With Local Business and Arts Organizations
In Boston, we're lucky enough to have the Arts and Business Council of Greater Boston which is composed of business leaders in the community who support the arts. If your community has an Arts and Business Council, start there by asking them about opportunities, resources, or tools within the organizations that can help nonprofits find new board members.
We also have several arts-focused organizations in Boston, everything from arts lover groups like Opus Affair, to arts advocacy groups like Mass Creative. Search for these types of groups in your own communities. Follow their social channels, join their newsletter, and try to take advantage of any networking opportunities they have to meet potential board members.
4. Ask Your Donors
Run a list of your top giving donors and/or donors who give frequently. Consider inviting them to a personal lunch to thank them for their contributions and talk to them about getting more involved with the organization.
5. Ask Your Singers or Staff For Recommendations
Your singers may not even know that obtaining non-singing board members is a goal for your chorus. Send around the board member job description and a sample profile of people you are searching for. Ask your singers to send you names of potential candidates or ask them to sent the job description directly to their friends.
6. Utilize Your Marketing Team
Don't forget to ask your marketing team for help. They can help you maximize the use of your marketing channels such as your website, social media, email marketing, and more. Some specific ideas might include creating a "volunteer" page for your website, shooting a film entitled "10 Reasons to Join or Board" and sharing the video in your channels, or highlighting board members and their contributions on your blog.
Tori Cook is the former Director of Sales & Marketing at Chorus Connection, an active board member of the Greater Boston Choral Consortium, and a soprano with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus. In a past life, she was the Music Director of the Harborlight Show Chorus and President of Chorus pro-Musica. When not making music, she daydreams about adopting a golden retriever puppy and scuba diving to exotic locations around the world.