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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Five Good Ideas: Practical Strategies for Non-Profit Success


Over the weekend I read Five Good Ideas: Practical Strategies for Non-Profit Success, a book that was recommended by a not-for-profit colleague.

I’m naturally skeptical of books that have “solutions” and “answers” to the complex challenges of not-for-profit organizations, and most of the time my skepticism is warranted.  But I enjoyed this book and found some of the no-nonsense advice to be both timely and helpful to me right now, as I and my management team engage with issues of change, innovation and strategic planning every day. 

Chapters that particularly resonated with me included “Reimagining Your Organization” “Leadership” and “Strategic Planning”. Vancouver Opera is in the midst of a major strategic planning exercise, attempting to confront the changes in our society that are requiring changes in the traditional “Western” arts organisations that have long dominated Canadian cities’ cultural maps.

We know that the world is changing – or, perhaps more accurately, the world has changed and continues to change. What traditional performing arts organizations have offered over the past five decades may or may not resonate as strongly in our 21st century communities as in the past.   

Opera companies all over North America are re-examining their core repertoire, vision, and mission, and are assessing their appeal to their communities.  Vancouver Opera is, too. How we proceed, how we perceive our mission as it relates to our community, and how we envision the future are very important questions for us, I would say more so than at any time in recent memory.  This book, while not providing answers directly related to our specific questions and challenges, offers some concrete advice that is worth following.  I recommend it as a helpful and sometimes inspiring read to all who are interested in Canada’s cultural community as professionals or involved volunteers.

Five Good Ideas:  Practical Strategies for Non-Profit Success, a Maytree initiative, published by Coach House Books, Toronto.  Support provided by Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council.

- James Wright
General Director, Vancouver Opera
@jwwright61

1 comment:

VanCOCO said...

Thanks for the post. We will definitely have to pick up a copy of this book given that we are in our infancy stage and have loads to learn!