By: Rick Biddle
One of our colleagues recently shared a presentation delivered in a workshop to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra by John McCann, President of Partners in Performance, about addressing the Orchestra's financial challenges and building a sustainable business model. The talk was framed to inspire discussion and new ways of thinking, as nonprofit organizations must “carve out roles of relevance and impact for their specific and unique community if they are going to garner the investment necessary for future endeavors.”
Well, one can just imagine how seeing that phrase got our hearts racing! That very idea, empowering nonprofit leaders to rise to the challenges and opportunities of fostering relevance, is what led us to launch our Bigger.Better.Faster. approach in the first place. (And also inspired the name of our firm!)
Mr. McCann points to three key features that support relevance and are required for long-term sustainability:
We agree that these are three critical elements, but would go even further in highlighting the impact that culture can play in the ultimate success of any plan or on the overall health of any organization. Though we agree that an organization needs a shared vision and a solid plan or strategy to realize it, culture has the capacity to overwhelm vision or strategies. There must be cultural integration at every level within an organization if long-term goals are to be achieved for, as Peter Drucker famously noted, “culture eats strategy for breakfast!”
Issues of resiliency, leadership, analysis and communication also feature prominently as Mr. McCann concludes his presentation – all topics near and dear to our heart. Our Bigger.Better.Faster. summary of these issues:
We appreciate Mr. McCann’s approach to the financial realities confronting the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Given the seriousness of this challenge and the fact that that most if not all nonprofit organizations are in a similar boat, figuring out how to connect relevance to impact should be at the top of everyone’s “To Do” list.
As you can imagine, we have much more to say about relevance, financial sustainability and other issues as they relate to our Bigger.Better.Faster. philosophy, including connecting with community and changing the conversation. Stay tuned for more in the coming weeks!