Community based arts organizations always need a lot of help. Since I like classical music, I became involved with a symphony orchestra in my town. After one year on the board I was tapped to be president, not because I knew anything about orchestras but because I was enthusiastic and not afraid to talk to people.
Over my five years as president we accomplished a lot and revived the financial health of the orchestra. I learned on the job. The three most important lessons were:
Talk to everybody you can about your organization. You never know which conversation will lead to something.
Listen to those who know more than you do, which in my case was just about everybody
Thank people and thank them again. Thanking folks is about a third of the job.
It was satisfying to have put the orchestra on my back for a few years and carried it forward. Musicians can’t do it themselves. Classical music is one of the great accomplishments of Western civilization; it stays alive because of the efforts of ordinary people who care. And being around all those live performances that I helped bring into the world was wonderful.