Chapter 6

Chapter 6 - Staffing, Boards, and Volunteers
A summary of the key concepts in the chapter 


HR Basics: Human Resource Management, October 2018 (6:50) “HR Basics is a series of short courses, designed to highlight what you need to know about a particular human resource management topic. In today’s HR Basics, we define human resource management with a simple model.”

Job Design and Analysis, September 2019 (5:41) A short overview of the process,

Human Resources: Diversity and Inclusion, April 2021 (6:30) A summary to help with understanding the dimensions of diversity, 

PRO-TIPS: Writing Inclusive Job Descriptions, October 2020 (2:10) “Learn to write more inclusive job descriptions with these pro-tips from MatterOfCulture's Lois Schlam.”

NOTE: There are numerous YouTube videos and TED Talks about unconscious bias and hiring. Here are three you might find informative.

What Is Interview Bias? January 2021 (4:55) The Top 5 Interview Bias Traps

How to Outsmart Your Own Unconscious Bias, Valerie Alexander, October 2018 (17:23) This video examines bias from a personal perspective and raises good points about how it impacts people in the workplace. TEDxPasadena


Actualizing a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Strategy, April 2021 (30:55) “Moving beyond allyship of DEI is imperative for leaders of Nonprofits and all organizations. Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Emily Holthaus, explains and serves us a wise path through what can be uncomfortable and challenging conversations.” There are several additional videos about nonprofit management on the organization American Nonprofit Academy website.

The Weird World of Nonprofit Governance

#ArtsManaged 007 - Apr 21, 2022 – 10:27

Professor Andrew Taylor offers the observation that “working on or with a nonprofit governing board is among the trickiest bits of Arts Management. Here are some basic insights about why board work is so difficult and how even comfort can be a dangerous thing.”

Human Resources: General Information Websites

501 Commons – Information about Human Resources and Best Practices“We all rise when nonprofits thrive. At 501 Commons we serve nonprofits as experts, innovators, and partners. Our passion is to amplify the strengths of nonprofits—so ALL people and communities flourish.”  

U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) Prohibited Employment Policies/Practices

National Council of Nonprofits – Managing Nonprofit Employees

Nonprofit Risk Management Center “Employment Practices - Staffing the Nonprofit Workplace: Steer Clear of Pitfalls and Take the High”: Road -

Employer's Supplemental Tax Guide – IRS Publication 15A – 2022 (28-page PDF)Includes sections on independent contractors (p. 7), Employees of Tax-Exempt Organizations (p. 9), Sick Pay Reporting (p. 15), and Pensions and Annuities (p. 23).

International Focus on HR

Equal treatment at work in the European Union “As an EU citizen you are entitled to equal treatment in recruitment, working conditions, promotion, pay, access to vocational training, occupational pensions and dismissal. Discrimination in the workplace on the grounds of age, sex, disability, ethnic or racial origin, religion or belief, or sexual orientation is banned across the EU in both the public and private sector.”  

Overview of UK Employment Law  

International labour standards in Asia and the Pacific

International labour standards in Africa 

International labour standards in Latin America and Caribbean (Website has Spanish/English option) 

International labour standards in the Arab States 

Cultural Equity & Hiring

Why Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Matter for Nonprofits – National Council of Nonprofits A comprehensive guide to processes and resources to assist nonprofits with their EDI initiatives

Equity in the Center

“Equity in the Center® (EiC) works to shift mindsets, practices and systems in the social sector to center race equity and build a Race Equity Culture™.”   

Awake to Work to Work: Building a Race Equity Culture – 35-page guidebook

 Annie E. Casey Foundation - Race Equity and Inclusion Action Guide

Disability Access and Inclusion Checklist -

Employee Costs – Taxes & Benefit Costs– U.S. Focus

U.S. Small Business Administration – Business Guide - Taxes 

Kaiser Family Foundation - 2022 Employer Health Benefits Survey 

Plan Feature Comparison Chart – U.S. Internal Revenue Service“Including plans for employees of tax exempt and government entities (schools, hospitals, churches, charities) with highlights of eight types of retirement plans.”

Audition, Casting, and Production Management Software

Google AppsFor organizations operating on a tight budget, there are a variety of Google Apps that can be used to create and maintain an audition support system. Google Sites, Drive, Calendar, Groups, and Forms can be deployed to manage the process. The time investment in creating the system framework and then managing the content is, of course, a factor.
“13 Apps Every Actor Should Use” – July 2021

ArtsVision – Auditions, Planning, Production and Operations Software   

Audition Magic - 

Auditions Manager – Online Software 

Casting Manager 

Propared - Production Planning Software for Arts and Events Organizations
ShowTool SM 3, a comprehensive suite of Stage Management utilities that give you the edge, helping you focus on what really matters.  

Stage Write - Easily track the moving pieces in your production

Hiring Support and Screening Tools

As with the audition and casting process, a basic system could be created using various Google Apps for those organizations operating with limited resources. The Applicant Manager – A Recruitment Management System


Unions and Contracts

Links to a sampling of unions in the Creative Industries

American Federation of Musicians—founded in 1896 –
American Guild of Musical Artists members include vocal performers in opera, choral and dancers—founded in 1936 -
American Guild of Variety Artists—founded in 1939 -
Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) for performers—SAG was founded in 1933 and AFTRA in 1937 -
United Scenic Artists Local 829 for scenery, costume, lighting, sound and projection designers, scenic artists, and computer artists. Founded in 1918 -

International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and Motion Picture Machine Operators of the United States and Canada (IATSE). Members include stagehands, front of house workers, wardrobe attendants, makeup artists and hairstylists, motion picture and television production technicians, broadcast technicians, scenic artists, designers, animators, and audiovisual technicians. Founded in 1893 -

In the News – Unionizing and the Arts

Museum Workers Across the Country Are Unionizing. Here’s What’s Driving a Movement That’s Been Years in the Making - Catherine Wagley, November 25, 2019, artnet® news  

Cultural Workers Organize - Cultural Workers Organize is a research project that explores the hypothesis that flex workers in the arts, communication, and cultural industries are protagonists of a re-composition of labor politics today.

Contracts - Examples

League of Resident Theatres (LORT) - Collective Bargaining Agreements  

LORT and the Actors Equity Association Contract  

LORT and the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society Contract  

Collective Bargaining Agreement Between the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Inc., a California Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation, d.b.a. Museum of Tolerance and AFSCME Local 800  


Board Theory, and Life Cycles

Good Governance Policies for Nonprofits – Council of Nonprofits  

Carver's Policy Governance® Model in Nonprofit Organizations - by John Carver and Miriam Carver. Carver’s board governance model started in the 1980s with the publication of his book Boards That Make a Difference. The third edition was last published in 2006. This link takes you to an old school website which details his governance model. 

The Evolution of Carver and the Policy Board by Suanne Miedema, 2017“It is not difficult to find criticisms of the Carver model. It is said to create a disconnect between the board and the organization, delegate too much power to the CEO, distract the board from organizational results, reduce transparency, break down during times of crisis and not properly reflect a board’s fiduciary duties.”  

Nonprofit Corporate Governance: The Board’s Role - Posted by Lesley Rosenthal, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, April 15, 2012

BoardSource® Website – Six Resources

Fundamental Topics of Board Service & Resource Library  

Policies are the operational guidelines for an organization. Nonprofits should continually analyze their policies to identify any that need to be updated or changed- 2016  

Checklist of Board Roles and Responsibilities - 2016  6

Essential Ingredients for Effective Governance – BoardSource® - one page PDF - 2016The ingredients: board meetings, strategic planning, streamlined structure, composition of board and staff, leadership of board and staff, and the mission.  

Leading with Intent Report 2021 – BoardSource®- “Who serves on today’s nonprofit boards? How are they composed and organized? How do they conduct their work? How well are they fulfilling their many important roles and responsibilities? What impact are they having on organizational performance?” 

Taking Action on Board Diversity – two-page PDF - 2017

Board/Organizational Life Cycles

Three Stages in a Nonprofit Board’s Lifecycle – PDF from BoardSource® - 2017  

Nonprofit Organizational Life Cycle – Speakman Management ConsultingThis five-page PDF provides a detailed breakdown of a six-stage model of the nonprofit lifecycle  

The Five Phases of Board Development - Lee Bruder Associates Another perspective on life cycles, but this time from the point of view of board development.

Board Management Software

A basic system for managing the information related to the operations of the board of directors could be created using Google Apps for those organizations operating with limited resources. For example, a small arts organization can use Apps such as Google Docs and Calendar to coordinate meeting dates and for managing meeting agendas, meeting minutes, bylaws, and board policies. A gmail account can be created to handle communications among board members between meetings. For arts organizations with additional resources, several software tools and apps are available for managing board relations. Here are a few.   

Boardable – “Built by Nonprofit leaders, for Nonprofits.  Boardable empowers you to work more effectively with your boards and committees.” If you go to this link it will take you to their pricing structure and if you scroll down the page, you will see the various features the company offers at various price points.  

Board – “Board Management’s board portal software simplifies every aspect of running your board and was designed from the ground-up with the Chairman, Executive Director, and other board members and assistants in mind.” If you click on the “pricing” link you will be able to see the features offered at various price points. 

Nonprofit Board Management Software - Compare product features and ratings to find the software for your organization. This link takes you to a comparison of 10 of the many software tools that are available.


Volunteers - Theatre Internship Opportunities  

National Council of Nonprofits – Interns Checklist

Utah Shakespeare Festival Guild Information

Examples of Volunteer Workbooks and Agreements/Forms

Arts for All of Northern Michigan – Volunteer Handbook 2020  


Arlington Arts Center – Volunteer Information Form  

The New Children’s Museum™ Volunteer Agreement – San Diego, CA (Online form)  

Utah Shakespeare Festival Guild Information  

Volunteer Match Website – Connects Volunteers with Organizations  - As the world leader in volunteerism, we feel a responsibility to unite our broader community and to use this moment to learn from one another, to grow, and to become stronger.

Chapter 6 Case Study

Working with the Board and Colleagues

NOTE: There is often no one answer to a case study, although some solutions may be better than others. Feel free to explore multiple perspectives and points of view as you ponder how you might resolve these situations. Ambiguities and missing facts in the case study are intentional, and we seldom have the luxury of having all the facts at our disposal when trying to make decisions.


Board Perks?

As the Associate Development Manager for the Metro Ballet, you are in charge of events and donor appreciation programs. It has been a long tradition that the company holds a reception after each opening night (8 per season). However, you have calculated it costs about $900 to host these catered receptions, and currently, no donations are generated to offset the total cost of $7,200. Based on a quick headcount, there are usually a few donors (5 to 7) and dancers (6 to 8 out of a company of 22) who attend, but the majority who show up are board members (20) and staff (12).


When chatting with people at a recent reception, you did some informal polling, and board and staff members, along with the ballet CEO, Artistic Director, and Development Director, and your boss, the Development Director, generally agreed that having the dancers schmoozing with a few donors and board helps create a positive “culture” in the dance company. The staff, of course, said they loved the free food and drinks, and a few admitted they never spoke with donors. After this polling, you think maybe it’s time to recommend to your boss that the ballet discontinue the receptions. Still, you are pretty sure you will face serious opposition from a few board members if you bring this idea up.


You decide to share your concerns with your boss about the low donor turnout, cost, and how few dancers actually attend these receptions, but she doesn’t seem interested in taking on the task of changing the opening night reception routine. Instead, she suggests you explore some ideas for changing the opening night receptions with the board chair and then get back to her. You tell her that you mentioned to the board chair at the last reception that it costs over $7,000 a year to hold these events, to say nothing of the time it takes to set them up, but he just smiled at you and said, “Really?” You wonder if anything will come from bringing your idea to the board chair.


What should you do? You fail to see how these receptions are serving the mission or contribute to the “culture” of the ballet company. What other options are there besides pulling the plug? Should you suggest that board members underwrite the costs of the receptions? Or maybe you can convince the board chair to get board members to take a more active role in inviting current and prospective donors and dancers to attend? That way, the event can at least have a donor development purpose? Maybe you seek corporate or business sponsors to fund these receptions so that they pay for themselves and generate additional revenue? Ultimately, is this your problem to solve? (Adapted and expanded from Marilyn Fischer’s Ethical Decision Making in Fund Raising, p 60.)


Case Study Post-Mortem

When you think about this case study, it is crucial to expand your view of the issues it raises by zooming out a bit. Here are a few points to consider:


1.      There is a mix of human resource management issues and other related topics covered so far in this book (planning, organizing) built into the “costly receptions” case study. For example, your boss suggests you talk with the board chair about changing or discontinuing these receptions and get back to her. However, you are starting from a power imbalance when it comes to you trying to persuade the board chair to consider making a change to a long-standing tradition at Metro Ballet. Is your boss setting you up for failure because she knows the board chair will take your ideas “under advisement” and then do nothing? Or is she allowing you to see if you can “manage up” and make a convincing case to the board chair for creating a more meaningful donor engagement event? If that’s the case, you will have to be well prepared before this meeting. Wait, shouldn’t you ask your boss to clarify why she thinks you should be talking to the board chair?

2.      What is the “positive culture” that people think is being fostered by the current opening night receptions? How would changing the reception impact the culture of the organization? If so few current donors and dancers attend the receptions (e.g., 60% or more of the dancers don’t even bother to attend), where’s the evidence to support the event’s impact on the organization’s culture? Most of the dancers are likely exhausted after the performance, and the last thing they want to do is stand around and make small talk with board members and a few donors. Maybe the event is actually harming the organization’s culture. Has anyone ever thought of that? So what are the assumptions (and maybe myths) driving this mindset about gathering after opening nights? How would you assess the elements that make up the organization’s culture? Wait, how did this become part of your job?

3.      You also have to ask yourself what motivates you to bring the reception cost and attendance issue up in the first place? Are you concerned about the money or lost donor engagement opportunities? So what if it costs $900 per reception? How does that number fit with the overall expenditures of the ballet’s development budget? Do you even know? Maybe that’s why your boss and the others you informally polled seemed satisfied with the status quo. The event is not seen as a significant budget drain when considering the bigger budget picture. On the other hand, maybe you are the first to raise this cost question. Asking the “Why do we do x or y in this organization” question can lead to transformative change, or it may only result in your being told, “That’s the way we always do things here.”


The point of this post-mortem and these questions? There is usually more than meets the eye when tackling a case study, and don’t forget that an arts organization, like any workplace, is filled with layers of complexity that you need to consider as you navigate your carer journey. 


Wm. Byrnes, Management and the Arts, 6e, 2022 ©