Q Is this document a kind of scorecard?
A Although it could be used to “score” an orchestra’s work in the civic engagement realm, this resource is intended to be a clarifying document. It is meant to provoke questions and conversations about how an orchestra might define, redefine, and/or shape the role it plays in a community. While there are opportunities to assess strengths and weaknesses, a quantitative analysis is not the goal of the tool.
Q Who should lead this work?
A We strongly suggest that, for maximum effectiveness, this work should be “owned” at the highest level of the orchestra. Investment and buy–in from executive and board leadership will help insure the best result. We recommend that this work include participation and input across staff levels and departments within the orchestra as well as engage other orchestra stakeholders (musicians, volunteers, music director, trustees) and community members. It will not achieve maximum potential if it is perceived as being driven by a single individual or department (i.e., education or community engagement).
Q When you say “civic,” what do you mean? City, county, state, country?
A In this case, civic might refer to any type or size of “community” engaged by your orchestra. This could mean all of the above or more (towns, rural areas, regions, even remote areas or foreign countries, in some instances). Orchestras should clearly define the civic radius that is most relevant to them, with one caveat: orchestras are strongly encouraged to think beyond their present audience when defining their civic radius.
Q How important is it to make sure you cover or address all eighteen of the indicators?
A Though we aim to be comprehensive, this document is designed to be used in the strategic fashion that best suits the needs of your orchestra. Because orchestras are so different from one another, it is true that some portions of the assessment tool might not be as relevant to some as to others. Likewise, an orchestra might choose to address one or a few of the indicators, before moving on to others. Orchestras should select the indicators that are appropriate for them and they should feel free to develop their own additional indicators.
Q It seems so daunting, such a big topic. And who has the time? Why should we do it?
A After looking over the document you might decide it’s not appropriate for your orchestra at present. But we hope that the questions resonate with your own concerns about the relationship you have to your community. The resource suggests means of engaging in discussions with your orchestra’s stakeholders and with members of your community you may not have had a chance to listen to in quite this way before. That, in itself, may be the tool’s biggest asset.
Q How does this fit into the ongoing work of my orchestra?
A Use of this resource can contribute to robust discussions within your organization, no matter where you are in your institutional life. In addition, this can serve as a frame for, or contributor to, a strategic or long-term planning process.