What does a great plate of charcuterie have to do with the arts?

Recently my wife and I ordered a charcuterie plate a local restaurant; we love charcuterie and often begin meals with an order, taking our time to savor the flavors as we enjoy a wonderful glass of wine. We even fancy ourselves connoisseurs of these delicious meats, often served with toasted bread, mustards, fruit spreads. It’s Read More …

Why Arts Education cannot function without Art

So often we hear that donors will fund “arts education “or “outreach”, because those important components touch the lives of children, often economically disadvantaged youth.  And it’s true – these programs should be essential to the mission of any non-profit arts organization. But how often do we hear the contrary position: donors do not want Read More …

What is sustainability? A huge Illusion

So often non-profits hear from institutional funders that they want the organizations they support to magically reach what they call “sustainability”. I’ve been in the non-profit performing arts world for over thirty years and I have no idea what sustainability means. I believe that what our well-meaning funders really mean by “sustainability “ is, “Please Read More …

Stop fighting the increase in overtime pay

It’s amazing. The President of the United States, Barack Obama, has proposed increasing the base pay which would qualify an employee to receive overtime compensation. And members of the non-profit community are fighting this! Why? The rate has only been increased once in the last 39 years! Raising the base from $23,600 to $50,440 will Read More …

How the Arts made the GDP Sexy?

Well in case you have not heard, the Bureau of Economic Analysis within the United States Department of Commerce has released a major study which for the first time provides an analysis of the Arts and Cultural Sector’s contribution to our Gross Domestic Product. And the results are amazing. In 2012 the arts and cultural Read More …

Why do organizations poke the funder in the eye?

It happens all the time. You apply for a grant; you include lofty language about how amazing your organization is, you include data that demonstrates your impact and even testimonials from satisfied customers. Then your organization is awarded the grant. And after the celebrations end, you make a series of blunders. You stop communicating with Read More …

The important lessons my mom taught me about Fund Raising

Did my mom know that by teaching me important life lessons, she was also teaching me how to be a successful executive and fund raiser? I’m not sure, but I do know that manners were very important to her. Let’s begin with the most important words I was taught. Please And Thank you Although simple, Read More …

Don’t use a dart board to balance a budget

Too often the battle cry of community leaders to executives of arts organizations is “cut the budget”, “reduce the expenses”, “and eliminate the fat”. Well, truth be told, most arts organizations, regardless of size, just don’t have any fat to trim. They are operating as lean, effective, productive organizations. Sure, there are some that pay Read More …

Don’t throw the leader to the curb – they are not garbage! They are not criminals!

Why is it that so many organizations….especially the boards of non-profits…..feel that when it’s time to make a change with the executive leadership, they literally toss the person to the curb? When faced with the desire or perhaps the need to make a change, rather than handle the transition with grace, dignity and professionalism, an Read More …

When to say “no thank you “to a generous donor.

Are there times when we should not accept a generous offer of a gift? Even if the donation is very large? Well, the answer is “yes”. Anytime a donor attempts to place adverse restrictions on a gift that could cause your organization to stray from its mission, then it’s always better to refuse the gift. Read More …