Lelia Pendleton 
Member since Jan 15, 2013



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Re: “Burning Down the House

One of the things that occurred to me is that a recurring complaint against Piersol was her financial management. The implication is that the Executive/Artistic/Managing Director is the one to set the budget and raise the funds to meet organizational needs. This is incorrect. It is the board's fiduciary duty to raise the funds and establish the budget. The board's primary responsibility is to ensure that there are sufficient funds to meet the organization’s needs. Another responsibility is to make long-range plans that are coordinated with the budget.

The director's responsibility is to take those plans and that budget and interpret it to a working level. They have to account for the dollars spent and manage the staff (paid and volunteer). If there is only a shoestring budget to work with, that is not the director's fault. If the director has kept the organization afloat with only such a budget, then they should be treasured for defying the odds. If, for example, additional space wasn't acquired, such as the building next door to the Firehouse, it's because the board didn't do its job to come up with the asking price, or negotiate with the owner to come up with an equitable offer.

A nonprofit, particularly a small yet successful artistic nonprofit, is not a corporation and should not be measured by a corporate metric. It should be measured by what's important, i.e., relevant, to the organization's mission. In the case of FTP, is it producing unique American plays? Is it offering Richmond artists opportunities to participate in those productions? Does it offer the Richmond theatre-going community opportunities to see unique American plays? Does it offer those artists opportunities to refine and grow their abilities? (Reference: Collins, J. (2005). Good to great and the social sector: A monograph to accompany "Good to Great.". Jim Collins. www.jimcollins.com. Boulder, CO.)

47 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Lelia Pendleton on 01/15/2013 at 8:43 PM

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