5 Suggestions For Cultural Organizations

As arts and cultural organizations struggle to survive. Even as they try to ennoble or enlighten the world, leaders sometimes wonder if it is possible to reconcile two endeavors that appear incompatible.

During the Association of Fundraising Professionals International Fundraising Conference, Janet Brown of Grantmakers in the Arts and Brian Bonde of Advanced Certified Fundraising offered five suggestions for cultural organizations to help them find financial success, not just security, as they continue their operations. They are:

* Ground financial goals in the context of the market’s realities. Be realistic about the willingness and ability of audiences/visitors and donors to pay for what the organization does.

* Assess and seek finding for the full costs of programs and projects. Include realistic levels of overhead and contingencies in assessing the costs of launching, running and revamping programs.

* Use general operating support (GOS) and unrestricted funds to finance current operations or build savings, not to seed new projects or organizational growth. Resist the temptation to divert precious GOS to program expansion.

* Track and analyze progress toward mission and business goals. Set annual program, operating and financial metrics which align with organizational strategy.

* Communicate the organization’s capitalization strategy in financial reporting, and sell the capitalization strategy to supporters. Develop multiyear revenue and expense projections that map the strategy in financial terms.