The governing boards of cultural heritage institutions should be engaged in three essential activities:
1. They should raise funds to support the organization’s activities—either with personal contributions or through active involvement in fundraising events and other activities.
2. They should represent the core constituencies of the institution, as well as audience groups that the museum is attempting to build.
3. They should have an understanding of the staff’s functions and some members of the board should work with staff on key aspects of operations including (but not limited to) creating policies, approving accessions to the collection, and special events.
Responsibilities for these activities should be clear to new board members and reviewed regularly by more experienced members. When commitments to these elements cannot be met or maintained, there should be a procedure in place to replace that member.
In my own experience, there is often discordance between board members’ notions of their purpose and staff members’ notions of the board’s purpose and vice versa. Systems of shared communication and joint training opportunities can foster cooperation.
Whereas board members have always been welcome at C2C workshops, our team is considering developing a workshop specifically geared toward training for museum governance. We’ve learned of one North Carolina municipality—Jacksonville—that requires regular training for all non-profit board members in order for their organization to receive city funds. And though that requirement is probably not typical, there may be several benefits to training, especially when multiple members of the same institutional board are able to attend together. Of course, this workshop would not substitute for the necessary training your institution should be providing board members about various staff roles, collections, etc., but perhaps we could offer a worthwhile supplement in a C2C “Board Retreat.”
Would you find this helpful for your organization? Do you have any suggestions for board training content?
Posted on August 4, 2011, in collections management, Connecting to Collections, museum governance, workshops and tagged board retreat; collections policies, fundraising, Mount Airy Museum of Regional History. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.