Steven Dawson

Steven Dawson

Regardless of the organizations mission, values, programs, etc., what is the ONE common factor that is needed to execute an organization’s purpose?

Money!

As much as we dislike connecting our important work to the dollar, the simple fact is that without it, we cannot pay our staffs, purchase materials, and pay the electric bills…and thus provide our services.

So there we have it, we must have funds to fulfill our missions. However, unless you are the lucky few, earned income doesn’t even come close to covering your budget. So to take the statement even further; we must have CONTRIBUTED funds to fulfill our missions.

Now with the sequestration set to go into effect, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) budget will be cut by 5%, or $7.3 million, and grants will decrease. (But let’s be honest, NEA funds have really just become a stamp of approval…and important stamp, that is…rather than actual difference-making funds).

Foundations are changing the focus of how and what they fund. And corporate philanthropy, while rebounding, will not cover the balance. So, lets take that earlier statement even deeper. We must have INDIVIDUAL contributed funds to fulfill our missions.

This can be a problem, though, because this all important aspect of nonprofit management is most likely the most uncomfortable aspect of nonprofit management. It is just human nature to avoid asking for money, even from people you know. 

But proper cultivation, care for the mission, and honest inclusion in the organization (letters, tours, meetings, asking for advice, etc.) makes the potential donor WANT to give to the organization.

This is all a team effort, though. It should include multiple levels of staff and board members. (I won’t get into the role of the board in fundraising…that is a whole other topic for another post. But I do encourage you to check out the nine things a board can do in fundraising.)

On April 7, you have an amazing opportunity to discuss this all important topic with leaders in the field. The Fundraising and Development panel at the 6th Annual Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium will provide the chance to ask your questions and pick their minds.

The Fundraising and Development panel will include:

Russell Willis Taylor – National Arts Strategies: Russell Willis Taylor, President and CEO of National Arts Strategies since January 2001, has extensive senior experience in strategic business planning, financial analysis and planning, and all areas of operational management. Educated in England and America, she served as director of development for the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art before returning to England in 1984 at the invitation of the English National Opera (ENO) to establish the Company’s first fund-raising department.

Barbara Ciconte – Donor Strategies, Inc.: For thirty years, Barbara L. Ciconte, CFRE, has helped nonprofits think strategically and work smarter.  She has experience in all facets of nonprofit management and resource development. Barbara has worked with local, regional, and national organizations in strategic planning and assisted them in building more effective resource development programs in annual, capital and endowment giving, major gifts, planned giving, corporate and foundation relations, chapter/affiliate relations and special events.

Pete Miller – DC area arts donor: Pete became an enthusiastic playgoer after a high school class brought him to the Folger Library to see a production of Love’s Labours Lost. He continued to see a lot of DC theater while working for KPMG for four years, during which time he moved into the District. He worked for AOL for eleven years, mostly in network operations, at the same time working his way up within Woolly Mammoth from volunteer usher to board member.  With his long time partner Sara, he co-chaired the Breaking New Ground capital campaign. Pete averages around 100 evenings of theater per year. In addition to volunteering for Woolly, Pete also works on a volunteer and occasionally paid basis with a number of other DC area arts organizations.

Kendall Ladd – Sitar Arts Center: Kendall Ladd currently serves as the Donor Relations Manager at Sitar Arts Center and works on individual giving & stewardship, events, and grant programs. Sitar Arts Center provides needed arts education opportunities for disadvantaged children & youth in the District. In addition, Kendall has served as a consultant with the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and the DC Arts and Humanities Education Collaborative. She holds an MA in Arts Management from American University and a BA in Studio Art from Columbia College.

Andrew Taylor – American University: E. Andrew Taylor is an Assistant Professor in the Arts Management Program, exploring the intersection of arts, culture, and business. An author, lecturer, and researcher on a broad range of arts management issues, Andrew has also served as a consultant to arts organizations and cultural initiatives throughout the U.S. and Canada, including Overture Center for the Arts, American Ballet Theatre, Create Austin, and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, among others. Prior to joining the AU faculty, Andrew served as Director of the Bolz Center for Arts Administration in the Wisconsin School of Business for over a decade. Andrew is past president of the Association of Arts Administration Educators, and is a consulting editor both for The Journal of Arts Management, Law, and Society and for Artivate, a journal for arts entrepreneurship. Since July 2003, he has written a popular weblog on the business of arts and culture, “The Artful Manager,” hosted by ArtsJournal.com (www.artfulmanager.com).

Please join us at the Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium, coming up on April 7 in Washington, DC (just before Arts Advocacy Day)! Spend a whole day with other amazing arts managers—hear from great speakers, share your knowledge, and learn something new. Also, be sure to like and follow EALS on Facebook and Twitter for new announcements and symposium news.

One Response to “But I Hate Asking for Money… (An EALS Post)”

  1. [...] Regardless of the organizations mission, values, programs, etc., what is the ONE common factor that is needed to execute an organization’s purpose? Money! As much as we dislike connecting our impor…  [...]

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Alec Baldwin and Nigel Lythgoe talk about the state of the arts in America at Arts Advocacy Day 2012. The acclaimed actor and famed producer discuss arts education and what inspires them.