Blog Posts for Arts & Business

The Value Proposition for Arts and Culture

Posted by Joanne Riley, Mar 08, 2010 0 comments

The Cultural Alliance is a United Arts Fund and, like everyone else, we struggle to be relevant and meaningful even during good times. In tough times like these, our challenge is greater–it is difficult to stand next to battered women or hungry babies and ask people to give to the arts. While we think it makes sense, it is not always an easy sell.

We did some research and found that during the great depression, the corporate community created the York Symphony Orchestra that still performs to this day. Their thinking, that symphonic music would help York survive terrible times, is a thought we embrace today.

It’s good for business if the community is one where people move to work and live. Businesses who feel they have a cultural or creative community to offer their employees will stay and/or relocate here. But in times when just keeping the doors open is a struggle, where is the value proposition for arts and culture.

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Good Ideas (or Good Art) Aren’t Enough

Posted by Janet Brown, Mar 08, 2010 4 comments

I’ve always said, “Money follows good ideas.” But, as we all know, that’s an oversimplification. We wish raising money was as simple as having a good idea, explaining that idea and waiting for the “investor” to respond, like pitching a movie script or TV pilot.

In reality, creative ideas drive the nonprofit arts sector but often, that’s not what gets us funding. While funders are attracted by inspirational and innovative ideas, what seals the grantmaking “deal” is often far from that big brilliant idea. It is organizational consistency, communication, and solid business practices that represent the maturity of the organization that will implement the creative project. But it’s even more than that. There are both internal and external forces at play.

Internally, an organization needs to have strong leadership with vision for the future and management skills for the present. The product must be unique and high quality. It’s very helpful to have enough depth in administrative staff to keep good records, write excellent grant applications and final reports with a program staff that understands evaluation.

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Big Thing$ Come in Small Packages

Posted by John Cloys, Mar 08, 2010 2 comments

In the past decade raising money from low-dollar online donations has nearly tripled and continues to steadily climb among generation Y. In this volatile economic environment it is important to engage and nourish young patrons to give, no matter how big or how small, and plant that seed for a sustainable and prosperous funding future. This series of blog posts will explore a few funding strategies using new media resources and online tools to engage young benefactors and make every penny count.

Following the recent success of the Haiti relief efforts, many organizations are looking to reciprocate these strategies in their own campaigns.  Raising over 20 million dollars, the American Red Cross was able to engage the American people in low-dollar giving using social media channels and a mobile texting campaign.  With the widespread adoption of social media in the private and public sectors, people’s ability to act and support communities in need like Haiti has only been increased.  One of the most effective and successful techniques in promoting your cause or product is to encourage your supporters and constituents to share a link or button to the donation page via website, blog, Facebook or Twitter status updates.  This is a quick and easy way to gain credibility (through re-posts and re-tweets) in your diverse networks while also creating a sense of urgency. 

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Art Grows the World

Posted by Larry Thompson, Mar 08, 2010 1 comment

Are you sitting down?

If not, take a seat, but before you do, look at the chair.

Why did you choose that chair? Was it look, feel, comfort factor?

All of the above?

We like the way it looks. We love the way it feels.

That is exactly what art and design is all about.

That’s why it matters in today’s world. Now go to your window.

Open it. I want you to toss out the myth of the “starving artist.” And that’s what it is—a myth.

Artists and designers and other visual pioneers aren’t just leading us into the future, they are creating it right now. We have moved past the Industrial Age, through the Knowledge Age and into the Creative/Conceptual Age. This is the age in which art and design and the gamut of creativity set the parameters for our future, determining the bottom line in terms of economics. The bottom line has always, and will always be economics. But what drives the bottom line? That is what has shifted.

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