Business partnerships with arts organizations are a key factor in enhancing the vitality of our communities nationwide. Americans for the Arts supports a network of Arts & Business Council Affiliates (ABC), Business Committee for the Arts affiliates (BCA), United Arts Fund affiliates (UAF) and Local Arts Agencies that work to build private-sector support for the arts. Learn more.
Throughout the blog salon this week during National Arts and Humanities Month (and Pro Bono Week!), we hope these posts have demonstrated the value of giving your time and treasure to the arts. Whether you are an individual philanthropist, business volunteer, young patron, emerging art leader, or corporate sponsor, your contributions strengthen the arts across America.
As we saw this week, there are many ways to support the arts. We can encourage younger patrons to support the arts now and in future generations, engage the community in unique ways to raise awareness of the arts, donate time and volunteer skills to further the missions of individual arts organizations in your community, join the push for tax policy that favors the arts, recruit new supporters of the arts through workplace engagement and giving campaigns, and above all, become a passionate ambassador for such an important cause.
Volunteering your time provides capabilities and experiences that many organizations may not have the resources to otherwise procure, and donating your resources grants arts organizations the means to continue focusing on fulfilling their missions, growing their audiences, and producing great art. Did you know: Read the rest of this entry »
My two after school art clubs, six parent chaperones, and I were walking back from our enormously successful field trip when one of my students beamed: “Mrs. Murphy! I never knew there was so much art!” We’d spent the day elbow deep in art processes at The Shirt Factory in Glens Falls–a historic shirt factory turned haven for artists, crafters, and healers. If you find yourself in upstate New York, do yourself the favor of checking it out.
My students had the incredible opportunity to participate in hour long workshops in pottery, digital photography, felt making, flower pressing, and ‘plarn’ bracelet making–crocheted bracelets made from reused plastic shopping bags. My “art clubbers” were deeply engaged during each workshop, all of which were led by working artists. I excitedly traipsed through the stairwells trying to be in all the workshops simultaneously.
I loved watching them dive into the art making they’d only heard of in our pre-field trip meetings.
I loved watching students who weren’t typically friends bond without reservation over the processes they were sharing.
I loved watching them realize the arts are a viable career option, not only an activity to complete in the art room.
Many of the companies we work with at ArtsKC are engaged in a variety of programs, including our Now Showing program for emerging artists and businesses, Advocacy efforts, and workplace giving for the ArtsKC Fund. These corporate partners are not only passionate about supporting the arts in the Kansas City region, but are also achieving true employee engagement. Through their partnerships with ArtsKC, companies are able to provide unique engagement opportunities that encourage people to stay with the company longer, report higher levels of job satisfaction, and increase productivity through teamwork and a sense of personal investment from management. Many people are now more interested in working for companies in which they feel valued, and in which a certain level of work/life balance is encouraged, than ones that simply provide a paycheck. So, support of the arts is not only good for your corporate philanthropic efforts, it’s also good for your talent recruitment and retention efforts!
Adapting to a shift in the volunteer landscape is one of the exciting challenges that the Arts & Business Council of New York (ABC/NY) and many arts organizations now face. As a new team running ABC/NY, my colleague Caleb Way and I are putting our heads together to come up with innovative ideas to expand and modernize our local volunteer matching program. To give some context, the Business Volunteers for the Arts® (BVA) program was founded by ABC/NY in 1975 with the mission of serving to connect nonprofit arts organizations with pro bono volunteers. However, as web-based volunteer matching services such as VolunteerMatch and Taproot have taken off, and businesses expand their volunteer or corporate responsibility (CSR) programs to include more expansive and flexible options for employee engagement, the old model of staff-managed volunteer matchmaking is simply not enough. ABC/NY’s new strategic direction combines the idea of volunteer matching with a much broader menu of employee engagement options.
One of the challenges facing employers today is attracting and retaining a talented workforce while concurrently asking employees to do more with less. Employee satisfaction is increasingly linked to the employers’ commitment to providing opportunities for employees to engage with one another and the broader community.
We all know that the arts encourage creativity and innovation, but they are also an amazing vehicle for team building and collaboration. As a United Arts Fund that conducts employee giving campaigns, the Greater Hartford Arts Council is uniquely positioned to facilitate employee engagement, while raising funds and awareness for our arts community. Read the rest of this entry »
I remember little about my first time on stage: a ballet recital at age three. We danced to “Winter” from Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons,” and I had no idea what I was doing. Happily, the VHS evidence shows that I did not fall down.
In first grade, I made my theatrical debut. My class produced a short skit about caring for the environment, and I played the crucial role of Super Recycling Kid (who recycled to save the planet). My favorite part was wearing my superhero cape for the rest of the school day.
Ever since, the arts have been a constant in my life. As a kid, I loved the transformation inherent in theater: we created a world together onstage and, for a few hours at a time, it was just as a real as anything else. Read the rest of this entry »
Three years ago, Chicago Arts Orchestra (CAO) came to the Arts & Business Council of Chicago (A&BC) for help in taking their organization to the next level–shifting from knowing the next move toward knowing the next ten moves. At the time, CAO had a board of five members, an annual budget of $50,000, and the Founder/Artistic Director as the sole staff member. Although a small organization, they had six years of impressive programming under their belts, a strong artistic vision, and a committed core of musicians and supporters. Read the rest of this entry »
For nearly eight years, I’ve had the privilege of managing skills-based volunteer programs for the Arts & Business Council of Greater Philadelphia. Which means I’ve got the best seat in the house when it comes to observing what happens when business and technology professionals take on pro bono capacity-building projects with nonprofit arts organizations.
I’m the director—or as I like to say, the “matchmaker”—for both Business Volunteers for the Arts (BVA) and Technology Connectors (TC). Once I’ve met with an arts client and defined the type of project support they are looking for, I carefully curate a volunteer match and make the introductions, then step back and watch while our arts clients and our volunteers work their magic on each other. That’s right—on each other. Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned after matching volunteers on about 250 consulting projects, it’s that the volunteer consultants almost always benefit at least as much as the arts organizations do. It’s a special kind of alchemy, and it’s fun to watch it unfold. Read the rest of this entry »
Arizona Citizens for the Arts and the CO+HOOTS Foundation are two of the nonprofits partners presenting the 2014 National Pro bono Week. Our goals for the week are a) increase visibility of existing pro bono service activity, b) increase understanding of pro bono needs in the community, and c) increase pro bono service being provided in the high need areas for nonprofits.
Serving on a “working board” is challenging. Rewarding, but challenging. I recently had the honor of taking over the reigns as the Board President for Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, a small but mighty theatre in Chicago with a mission focused on promoting women theatre artists. As we like to say at Rivendell, “It’s women’s work!”
Without a doubt, one of the greatest challenges we’ve faced as a board during my tenure has been attracting and retaining qualified board members.
Let me repeat: attracting AND retaining.
I understand that we need to build and sustain a deep and dedicated board of directors in order to build a sustainable organization that is positioned for long-term growth. But I also understand that achieving this goal could be more easily attained if we had help. So I have a small but simple request. Read the rest of this entry »
If you saw my first post this week, Tax Policy Time: Who wants that?!, you’ll know that an entire bullet was saved for later discussion on tax treatment of donated artwork—perhaps another yawn-inducing subject to some, but wait until I tell you that it’s been said in Congress that there is nothing more permanent than a temporary pilot program, and nothing more temporary than permanent law. Despite the humor, a quick search of “permanent than a pilot program” turns up these truth-verifying headlines:
- “Redeploy Illinois, a pilot program to divert youths from incarceration in state facilities, will become a permanent state program”
- “Forage Seed Insurance Pilot Program to Become Permanent”
- “Arizona municipality to launch a permanent supportive housing pilot program”
Why is this relevant? Because in 1969 Congress permanently changed tax law to prohibit artists from being eligible to take a fair-market value deduction for their works donated to a museum, library, or archive. Many are now working to revert the law, including the Art Dealers Association of America and the American Alliance of Museums. Legislation is pending in Congress, and many have hope that “permanent” only means until Congress changes its mind—and are counting on that fickleness. Read the rest of this entry »
Perhaps at root, some elected officials, bureaucrats, and armchair analysts consult with sociologists, economists, and mathematicians to consider how human behavior might be influenced in a desired manner—say for creating a coveted public good that otherwise might not materialize. For example:
- Want homeowners to buy more expensive, but energy-efficient appliances? Tax credit!
- Want drivers to get rid of their “gas guzzlers” and buy more expensive, but more environmentally-sound hybrid automobiles? Tax credit or “cash for clunkers!”
- Want first-time homebuyers to be able to buy that home and try to live the “American Dream?” Tax credit!
As a fellow emerging professional in the field of arts management, we may often think of ways to emerge or advance our careers. I believe that we can do this by learning about current issues/trends, practicing/exploring new skill sets, networking with a purpose and gathering insights from experienced professionals. I’ve found all these opportunities for career development in one place, the Emerging Arts Leaders DC (EALDC).
EALDC is a volunteer-led initiative that provides professional development, networking, and information relevant to emerging arts professionals in the metropolitan Washington, DC area. EALDC is part of the national Emerging Leaders Network, a program developed by Americans for the Arts. Read the rest of this entry »
According to Taproot Foundation, 92% of nonprofits across the nation say they do not have enough pro bono support. Of the 500+ companies who pledge to support pro bono volunteering through A Billion + Change, 14% are Fortune 500 companies.
If you take the need for pro bono volunteers and the pool of corporations who support pro bono volunteering, there are not enough volunteers. Furthermore, if you reduce the pool of potential volunteers to businesses who support the arts, the pool becomes a pond.
So how do you attract a different kind of pro bono talent to fill the pond? By forming cross-collaborations with other partners focused on skills-based volunteers and introducing those volunteers to the arts world. Read the rest of this entry »
Every organization needs a plan for their board members and major donors of the future. If engaging young professionals ages 25 to 35 is integral to your organization’s objectives, here are four tips that other young professional groups for arts organizations that I have worked with have found helpful.
- Project a inviting welcome
From the outside looking in, arts organizations can sometimes appear to have a “clique-y”-culture that would ignore new members unless they have the proper pedigree. Often, the ideal candidates for young professional art groups are shy to come forward thinking that they won’t “belong” if they can’t name the artist, converse in a detail about the composer’s work, quote Shakespeare, or be able to contribute more than $1,000. Read the rest of this entry »