News

Arts and business news from around the country.

RSS

The Arts Mean Business

Posted by Mariama Holman
0 Comments
The Arts Mean Business

It’s a tough world out there for nonprofit arts organizations, and only those with savvy business skills employed within a social value-maximizing framework survive. However, for some reason, arts organizations are not perceived as institutions with any inherent business capability. Below are 4 reasons why arts organizations actually embody many of the same business skills you would find in any corporate boardroom, given, they handle a similar set of issues. The arts, actually mean business.

 

Profit does matter

First, even though many arts organizations are nonprofit, that does not mean that ending the year in the black, or covering the operational budget, is not important. Nonprofit accounting financial statements are comprised of both contributed and earned income. Development and marketing teams work tirelessly to hit organizational revenue goals, alongside the board of directors and executive leadership. Just like a business, arts organizations have to find ways to minimize the costs of services offered, or the equivalent to cost of goods sold – in fact, sometimes even more creatively. By design, admissions ticket prices rarely offset the full cost of the service offered, given the nonprofit seeks to provide its benefits to the greatest number of people it can afford. While profit is definitely not the primary motivator for existence, healthy arts organizations find creative, resourceful ways to prevent continued deficits at the end of the year, like any business.

 

Stellar executive leadership

You can’t judge a book by its cover – arts leaders can make the best of organizational leaders. There is a misconception that nonprofit leaders do not possess solid business knowledge.  Many arts organizations actually have presidents, general managers, COOs and CEOs with impressive business backgrounds, with previous careers working for top consulting firms, or leadership roles in local companies or Fortune 500 businesses. Furthermore, it must be noted that by design, some nonprofit roles themselves are heavily-finance and business oriented, such as the role of production directors, who not only manage budgets for labor costs but forecast the prices of resources used to source or design theatrical sets. At the end of the day, leaders must have an entrepreneurial mindset to thrive in an environment with especially scarce resources. This quality drives arts leaders to excellence in organizational leadership.

 

Fighting stiff competition

In following along with the understanding that nonprofits do value profit, understand that they face competition – they compete with themselves to offer a unique social value relative to similar institutions in their communities over time, to justify their existence. Rather than measuring success in terms of assets alone, nonprofits have a social output that must be tracked and accounted for in an often hyper-complex environment. Like any business, they have tremendous external threats to reckon with, such as legislative concerns, demographic trends, community net migration, and local economic forecasts. Answers to questions such as, “How many patrons did we serve?” and “How did we improve their lives?” relative to last period despite environmental changes are critical. Organizations rely on this information to secure and even grow funding from foundations, government sources and private donors in communities with scarce resources – thus demonstrating their significance to contributed income sources by offering a competitive social value proposition.

 

Efficient and responsible management

By design, arts organizations usually have a slimmer percentage of organizational budgets allocated to operational expenses than for-profit businesses, and as a result must be lean, mean, life-impacting machines. Arts organizations often utilize the same functional capabilities found in businesses, such as strategy, marketing, finance, operations, accounting, IT and human resources but with less staff and resources. Like businesses, nonprofits are held accountable to boards of directors, state, federal and local governments and private donors. Their taxes are audited and often shared with prospective funders. Like a business, there is little room for mismanagement if an organization is to survive over the long-run.

 

In summary, arts organizations contain a wide-variety of business skills, organizational management best practices and resource-efficiency hacks. When combined with their social value orientation, they become a force to reckon with in tackling community issues. 

Related
Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus

More News

On the "Streets of Bakersfield," Buses are Works of Art
Aug 16, 2018 0 Comments
Golden Empire Transit (GET), based in Bakersfield, CA, has been serving city for over forty years. As the mass transit operator in town, they play an integral role in the city’s infrastructure and economy, and have used this...
Go to full post
Oath Foundation and Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund
Aug 08, 2018 0 Comments
Oath Foundation, funded by Oath, is partnering with Tribeca Film Institute to support documentaries focused on social issues. In collaboration with the Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund, they provide documentaries in post-production...
Go to full post
PNC Keeping Arts Alive in its Communities
Aug 03, 2018 0 Comments
BCA 10 Honoree PNC continues to use the arts to bring its communities together. Through PNC Arts Alive, the company’s foundation is supporting access to arts experiences through affordable pricing, mobile studios, sensory friendly...
Go to full post
Seattle Boasts Shepard Fairey Mural at 9th and Thomas
Jul 30, 2018 0 Comments
When Scott Redman, CEO of Sellen Construction, was in the process of developing his first building, of the many the company has built, he wanted the arts to play an integral role. In an interview with The Seattle Times, he said...
Go to full post
Serena Williams x Allstate Foundation Purple Purse
Jul 26, 2018 0 Comments
Tennis all-star Serena Williams teamed up with Allstate Foundation Purple Purse and artists, including Isabel Castillo Guijarro to raise awareness about domestic violence. Together, they unveiled a street art campaign that will...
Go to full post
The Art of Ending Stigma
Jul 19, 2018 0 Comments
2016 BCA Honoree Johnson & Johnson is continuing to use the arts for health with the new campaign Art of Ending Stigma. Their company Janssen Pharmaceutical Cos. Is partnering with Mental Health America, OneMind, PeaceLove, and...
Go to full post
Seeing High Seas: Art + Tech in Times Square
Jul 13, 2018 0 Comments
For tech giant Microsoft, partnering with the arts is nothing new. Since their BCA 10 honor in 2013, they have continued to collaborate with artists, including Mel Chin. The Queens Museum and No Longer Empty are hosting his exhibit...
Go to full post
Cool Globes in a Pittsburgh Summer
Jul 12, 2018 0 Comments
Since 2006, Cool Globes: Hot Ideas for a Cooler Planet, an offshoot of a commitment at the Clinton Global Initiative, has placed globes around the world to combat climate change. Using public art, Cool Globes has brought messages...
Go to full post
Museum and Hospital Partner for Art and Medicine
Jul 06, 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
BOARDway Bound with ArtsWave
Jul 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
United States Conference of Mayors Approves Arts-related Resolutions
Jun 21, 2018 0 Comments
From June 8-11, mayors from across the nation convened in Boston for the annual meeting of the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM). Among other resolutions related to Arts and Culture Funding and the recognition of Arts...
Go to full post
IKEA Partners with Artisan Refugees for New Line
Jun 20, 2018 0 Comments
IKEA announced that its Brooklyn store will have a new, exclusive line, created by Jordanian women and Syrian refugee artisans. In partnership with the Jordan River Foundation, it created the line TILLTALANDE, which features...
Go to full post
PurePoint Financial Offices Display Local Artists
Jun 19, 2018 0 Comments
PurePoint Financial is a hybrid digital bank that launched in February 2017. Although it has only been around for a year and a half, it is already into its second art exhibit at its flagship Park Avenue location. With the aim...
Go to full post
JetBlue Showing #NonstopPride
Jun 14, 2018 0 Comments
JetBlue is New York’s Hometown Airline. With a strong New York representation amongst staff and with one of the leading resource groups for LGBT workplaces, JetPride, it was an easy connection for the airline to partner with...
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.