News

Arts and business news from around the country.

RSS

Five Ways the Arts Can Combat Flat Corporate Giving

Posted by Marisa Muller
0 Comments
Five Ways the Arts Can Combat Flat Corporate Giving

Fighting for corporate funding is always an uphill battle and, unfortunately, it doesn’t look like it’s going to get any easier. According to The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s recent report, charitable giving by America’s biggest businesses rose slowly last year (approximately four percent) and corporate leaders anticipate their philanthropy budgets to remain the same for 2012.

 

In addition to being monetarily conservative, many of these companies are also winnowing the causes they support in favor of bigger, high-profile gifts to fewer organizations. This is in part due to a continuing trend of companies focusing on social issues that threaten bottom lines.

 

So what does this mean for the arts?

 

For some companies, this means the arts support has decreased. The Chronicle provides UnitedHealth Group as an example of a company who has reduced its support of the arts in favor of programs that improve Americans’ health. Over the past three years, UnitedHealth Group has given nearly $2 million to help the American Heart Association establish safe and accessible walking paths around the country.

 

While endeavors such as this are undoubtedly necessary and beneficial, many seem to forget that the arts are important and provide value. The arts bring communities together, provide economic prosperity, and have been proven to increase health and wellness (just to name a few).

 

Despite these trends, several companies are getting creative and staying true to their commitments to support the arts.

 

Aetna, a healthcare company based out of Hartford Connecticut, has incorporated the arts into its healthcare initiatives. As part of its efforts to reduce obesity rates, Aetna and the Aetna Foundation have awarded grants to the Dance Theatre of Harlem in New York, The Joffrey Ballet in Chicago, and the Charter Oak Cultural Center in Hartford to offer dance-oriented health and fitness programs for children and families who live in underserved areas.

 

These types of programs demonstrate that even though charitable giving shows little sign of growth in 2012, the arts don’t have to throw in the towel.

 

Getting Support From Big Companies: 8 Tips for Fundraisers by Maria Di Mento and Raymund Flandez, offers several tips for organizations looking to secure support for corporations.

 

I’ve incorporated some of those tips with a few of my own (specifically related to the arts) to create:

 

The 5 Ways the Arts Can Combat Flat Corporate Giving

 

1. Do your homework
According to the Chronicle study, nearly all corporate executives shared the very basic fundraising advice: do your homework. It is extremely important to be cognizant of the corporation’s mission and what kind of causes and programs they fund. “Strategic alignment” remains the zeitgeist, so it is important to see how your work fits in with a business’s causes. The better of a match you are, the more likely you are to secure funding.

 

2. Partnerships are key
According to Mark Shamley, chief executive of the Association for Corporate Contributions Professionals, nonprofits “need a partnership mentality.” Businesses don’t want to just give money away; they want a reciprocal relationship with their partnering organization. To help develop more arts and business partnerships, Americans for the Arts has developed The pARTnership Movement. This initiative provides both businesses and arts organizations with the tools and resources to create mutually beneficial relationships.

 

3. Volunteers provide a foot in the door
By involving employees as volunteers, corporations have the opportunity to “try out” a nonprofit before committing to a cash donation. Nicole Robinson, vice president of Kraft Foods Foundation, says that Kraft often starts by offering its employees as volunteers to help the foundation get a sense of the charity’s work. “If an organization comes to us with three things, but maybe not everything is thought out, they may not be ready for cause when we meet them,” says Ms. Robinson. “But if we see an advocacy opportunity and an opportunity to engage our employees, we can build from there.” Business Volunteers for the Arts are a great way to get companies involved. There are chapters all over the nation, but you can start your own with our tool kit on working with volunteers.

 

4. Make connections
Just as Aetna joined the arts and healthcare, there are plenty of ways the arts can be linked with other causes or issues. For example, Animating Democracy provides examples of the ways the arts can be linked to community, civic, and social change. The arts have also been shown to help returning veterans. Making connections also refers to partnering up with other organizations for a cause or project. If there is collaborate with them so you can better accomplish your goals. “We need to leave our collective organizational egos out the door and solve the problem at hand, and if another organization has the solution to that, let’s go with that,” says Mr. Robinson, of the Fluor Foundation. “We need those entities out there to work together. No one has a single solution.”

 

5. Talk the talk and walk the walk
It’s one thing to do great work, but unless you are able to effectively tell to people about it, your efforts often go unrecognized. Nonprofits should be able to demonstrate how they plan to help their communities, says Ms. Robinson, of Kraft, and why a corporation’s support for a program will benefit both the company and the people the charity helps. Check out how these Eight Reasons to Partner with the Arts!

 

Your story becomes even more compelling when you back it up with facts. “We look for high-performing nonprofits that collect data and metrics, and can tell us on a grant application how many people they’ve served,” showing what each dollar can accomplish, says Kerry Sullivan, president of the Bank of America Charitable Foundation.

 

And, Bob Corcoran, president of the GE Foundation, urges that non-profits “do what you say you’re going to do.” He’s seen a number of organizations that regularly seek grants and raise money, but don’t provide the services they set out to do. Follow through with your plans so you can build a positive relationship.

 

With these tips, you are well on your way to giving flat corporate giving a one-two punch!

 

*Originally posted on ARTSblog.

*Photo courtesy of stachelig.

Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus

More News

A Good Laugh for a Good Cause
May 24, 2018 0 Comments
Thursday, May 24 marks Red Nose Day, the annual fundraising campaign for children in need. After launching in the UK in 1988, the initiative made its way to the States, where it has raised over $100 million. Hosted by M&M’S...
Go to full post
The Arts are Integral to Business Success - Kohler Co.
May 22, 2018 0 Comments
The following are excerpts from remarks by Kohler Company Senior Vice President Laura Kohler at NASAA's Creative Industries Briefing:   Thank you for inviting Kohler Company to contribute to today’s discussion telling a story...
Go to full post
Ovation taking a Stand for the Arts
May 17, 2018 0 Comments
Ovation, America’s only arts network, is partnering with Comcast as part of their Stand for the Arts campaign. Through this collaboration, they will recognize arts and cultural organizations in Comcast markets.   Ovation EVP...
Go to full post
Toyota Partners with VH1 Save the Music Foundation
May 15, 2018 0 Comments
Toyota and VH1 Save The Music Foundation are partnering to support music education in public schools. Over the past 3 years, they have helped empower students in Chicago, New Orleans, and Las Vegas through the discovery and learning...
Go to full post
KeyBank Donates $10 million to Rock & Roll Hall
May 10, 2018 0 Comments
At the 33rd Annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies, CEO Greg Harris had something to announce that was just as exciting as the rock icons they were honoring. He shared that KeyBank Foundation had commit $10 million...
Go to full post
Arts Deliver Prime Cities for Amazon Headquarters
May 08, 2018 0 Comments
The arts can play a remarkable role in the vibrancy of a community and in the strength of the economy. It’s no surprise, then, that Amazon thinks the same thing.   In their search for a new headquarters that spanned 238 cities...
Go to full post
eMoney using Art to Connect to New Community
May 03, 2018 0 Comments
Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99;...
Go to full post
Skechers Partners with Manhattan Beach Beach Planning Committee
May 01, 2018 0 Comments
On April 11, Skechers unveiled new murals on the side of it’s flagship store in Manhattan Beach. It is exciting to see the sneaker company engage with public art through thie project. The murals were designed by Rachel Rodi...
Go to full post
Pretzels, Art, and the Fight Against Childhood Cancer
Apr 26, 2018 0 Comments
It may seem like pretzels, art, and the fight against childhood cancer may not be closely related, but thanks to Auntie Anne's, all three will come together for a national holiday. While April 26 marks one the most exciting days...
Go to full post
Past BCA Leadership Winner Opens Museum
Apr 24, 2018 0 Comments
When the BCA honored Tom James in 2009 with the Leadership Award, he already had quite an impressive resume of sustained arts support between the Salvador Dali Museum, the American Stage Theatre Company, and the Tom and Mary...
Go to full post
Shadowplay in the Streets of Austin
Apr 19, 2018 0 Comments
Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99;...
Go to full post
AT&T partners with Tribeca Film Festival
Apr 17, 2018 0 Comments
With the Tribeca Film Festival only one day away, many are looking forward to the screening of The Nigerian Prince. The director, Faraday Okoro, was the 2017 winner of AT&T Presents: Untold Stories, which came with a $1 million...
Go to full post
Announcing the 2018 BCA 10 Honorees
Apr 11, 2018 0 Comments
The Business Committee for the Arts (BCA) of Americans for the Arts is proud to present the BCA 10 awards on Tuesday, October 2, 2018 at a black-tie gala at the Central Park Boathouse in New York City.   The awards honor 10...
Go to full post
Jacksonville's Public Art Week
Apr 05, 2018 0 Comments
From April 1-7, Public Art Week will be “Building a Better Community” in Jacksonville, Florida. Hosted by the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville, this event is “an annual, week-long initiative that celebrates Jacksonville’s...
Go to full post

Already a partner?

Already a partner?

Learn easy ways to take your partnership to a new level.

Use our ads locally

Use our ads locally

View The pARTnership Movement ad campaign and find ways to use the ads.

pARTnership videos

pARTnership videos

Watch and share our videos from The pARTnership Movement.

Partnership ideas

Partnership ideas

Inspire employees with tickets to the ballet or a concert.

Are you an arts group?

Are you an arts group?

Get listed in our searchable directory.

Recruit talent

Recruit talent

Employees want to live and work in a vibrant community.