News

Arts and business news from around the country.

RSS

Businesses Are Looking Towards the Arts for Employee Engagement & Creativity, According to New Survey by The Conference Board & Americans for the Arts

Posted by Emily Peck
0 Comments

Only 28 percent of companies attempted to measure the business or societal impact of arts contributions

 

Friday, June 30, 2017

 

NEW YORK, NY — As employee engagement becomes a priority for companies, many of them are turning to the arts in an effort to fuel attraction and retention, according to Business Contributions to the Arts: 2017 Edition, published by The Conference Board and Americans for the Arts. Nearly 70 percent of companies surveyed responded that they offered board service opportunities at arts organizations for their employees, while 65 percent offered volunteer activities and 63 percent provided free or discounted tickets to arts events. However, measuring the business or societal impact of arts contributions continues to challenge most companies and their partners, as only 28 percent of businesses reported making an effort to measure these impacts.

 

“Engaged, creative employees who are encouraged to think in new, innovative ways are more likely to be productive and active in improving both the company and their own business skills,” said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “The arts build empathy, observation, and problem-identification and problem-solving skills, which translates to better customer service and a deeper understanding of the constituency.”

 

“Impact measurement has become increasingly important to the corporate philanthropy sector in recent years,” said Jonathan Spector, CEO, The Conference Board. “Our data shows, however, that measurement within the arts world has not advanced as successfully as other social causes. The benefits are clear, but companies and their arts partners need to become more sophisticated at demonstrating this in a business context.” 

 

Companies consider the arts to be important in building quality of life, stimulating creative thinking and problem solving, and offering networking opportunities and the potential to develop new business and build market share. As a result, arts organizations enjoyed a positive three years between 2013-2016 in terms of contributions from businesses, with the vast majority of companies either maintaining or increasing their arts support. 

 

The majority of arts contributions comes from philanthropy budgets—either foundations or corporate giving accounts. Ninety percent of companies reported giving to the arts through contributions budgets, but 41 percent of companies also supported the arts through marketing or sponsorship dollars, which can help to explain why there has not been a slowdown recently in overall contributions to the arts, as companies turn to the arts to support brand recognition and growth. 

 

Other findings from the report include:

 

  • More than half of respondents overall (53 percent) reported that arts support contributes to stimulating creative thinking and problem solving. Clearly, supporting the arts as a way to encourage creativity and innovation at companies is a growth area for arts and business partnerships.
  • Smaller companies demonstrated a greater interest in arts support than their larger counterparts. The percentage of arts giving in overall philanthropy budgets for small companies is approximately 20 percent higher than large companies.
  • Private sector funding could play an increasingly important role in getting resources to a sector that faces potential government cutbacks—the Trump Administration has threatened to cut the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). In interviews, companies expressed an intention to increase their support of the NEA should these public funding decreases happen. In such a situation, companies expressed their intention to support arts at a local level.

 

About Business Contributions to the Arts: 2017 Edition

Since 1969, Americans for the Arts, through the Business Committee for the Arts (BCA), has been conducting the BCA National Survey of Business Support for the Arts. The survey looks at trends in support for the arts from small, midsize, and large US businesses. For the first time since the initial BCA survey in 1969, Americans for the Arts has partnered with The Conference Board to conduct the online survey, building on previous findings to examine trends in business support and employee engagement for the arts. The survey draws on 125 responses from companies that participate in corporate philanthropy, employee engagement, volunteer programs, or sponsorships. The survey was conducted in the fall of 2016 and asked for information based on corporate practices existing at the time of the survey compilation. 

 

In addition to the quantitative survey, Americans for the Arts contracted with Shugoll Research to conduct qualitative research to understand businesses’ attitudes about arts philanthropy among current arts donors. A total of 15, 20-minute in-depth telephone interviews were conducted with philanthropic decision-makers at businesses that donate to the arts. The interviews took place between February 9, 2017 and February 24, 2017. The decision-makers were recruited from lists provided by the BCA. Quotes from these interviews are included throughout this report.

 

Americans for the Arts serves, advances, and leads the network of organizations and individuals who cultivate, promote, sustain, and support the arts in America. Founded in 1960, Americans for the Arts is the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education. Additional information is available at www.AmericansForTheArts.org.

 

The Conference Boardcreates and disseminates knowledge about management and the marketplace to help businesses strengthen their performance and better serve society. Working as a global, independent membership organization in the public interest, The Conference Board conducts research, convenes conferences, makes forecasts, assesses trends, publishes information and analysis, and brings executives together to learn from one another. Additional information is available at www.conference-board.org

 

Contact:

 

The Conference Board

Jonathan Liu

212.339.0257

Jonathan.Liu@conferenceboard.com

 

Americans for the Arts 

Inga Vitols

202.371.2830

ivitols@artsusa.org

Related

Does Your Company Need An Artist? Chicago Booth School of Business Says: Yes!

Posted by Kellyn Lopes
0 Comments

Creativity is among the top applied skills sought by employers. Ready to Innovate, a 2008 study by The Conference Board and Americans for the Arts, found that 72% of companies that give to the arts recognize that it stimulates creative thinking, problem solving, and team building.In the following video, Visiting Artist and Social Entrepreneur, John Michael Schert, joins Chicago Booth professors Harry Davis and Canice Prendergast to discuss the role of artists in inspiring corporate creativity. 

 

 

John Michael Shert, a professional dancer, co-founded Trey McIntyre Project (TMP) in 2004, serving as the Executive Director and a dancer for 9 years. He was appointed the first Visiting Artist and Social Entrepreneur at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business in 2013, focusing on how the skills and attributes of artists are relevant and valuable to other sectors.

 

For more information and examples of fostering corporate creativity and engaging employees through the arts, read the Success Stories of companies who have partnered with the arts, or check out our tool-kit on Bringing the Arts into the Workplace.

Related

A Simple Way to Improve Business Efficacy

Posted by Patrick O'Herron
0 Comments

Corporate Funding Came Back After the Recession, But Did it Leave the Arts Behind?

Posted by Michael Stroik
0 Comments

While a new report shows that the global recession shifted funding away from the arts, is there a silver lining in how companies have changed their view of investing in communities?  CECP, in association with The Conference Board, recently released Giving in Numbers: 2013 Edition, an annual analysis of corporate giving trends among the world’s largest businesses. Despite a slow economic recovery, the majority of companies gave more in 2012 than in 2007, before the recession, yet the majority of funders decreased their funding of the arts. Companies decreased arts funding annually in each year from 2007 to 2012. The steepest declines occurred in 2008 and 2009, at the height of the global recession.

 

The news is not all bad for arts organizations. While the majority of arts funders have decreased funding, many continue their support today. In fact, behind only education and health and social services organizations, more companies supported the arts than any other program area in 2012, albeit at lower financial levels (Giving in Numbers, page 20). Revenues and profits have increased for large businesses since 2009, and giving budgets are expected to grow in coming years.

 

The shift away from the arts is likely related to many factors and trends occurring across the corporate philanthropy field. Companies aim to drive measurable societal impact with each grant, and many focus efforts on single program areas with the hope of moving the needle on specific societal problems. So why haven’t arts agencies reaped the benefits of an increased focus on individual program areas? Based on our research, there are a variety of reasons. Most notably: 

 

  1. The Recession: During the recession it was no surprise that the fastest growing program area was community and economic development. The world’s largest businesses aimed to support community efforts to rejuvenate local economies. The hope was that economic growth, no matter how small, could spur consumer confidence and pay dividends for companies in the long-run. Many companies prioritized these programs over arts initiatives in the last half decade.
     
  2. Education Issues in America: CECP’s research sample is global but 92% of companies are based in the United States and focus the majority of funds domestically. In 2012, education support topped the list of program areas supported by large businesses for the first time since CECP first published Giving in Numbers in 2006.  American students are falling behind global peers in math and science achievement, and companies are concerned about the future of the American employee base. In addition, the racial achievement gap in student test scores (click here for more information) spotlights the social justice factors that are at stake when dealing with education programs.
     
  3. Non-Cash Giving: In-kind contributions, consisting primarily of product donations and pro bono service, accounted for more than 95% of aggregate giving growth from 2007 to 2012. Arts agencies often have fewer opportunities to work with bulk product donations; only 4% of corporate contributions to arts agencies came in the form of non-cash gifts in 2012. See Figure 11 (page 20) for more details.
     

So what can we learn from these trends to help secure future arts funding? As the field of corporate community engagement expands, arts agencies should focus on their societal impact on communities, including the educational benefits of arts programming for disadvantaged children, when approaching large businesses for funding partnerships. Arts agencies should also emphasize the strong benefits their programs have for corporate employees that engage with them. Whether this includes volunteer offerings or arts performances at corporate offices, make sure corporate giving officers understand how your work will benefit their workforce in a variety of ways.


If you work for an arts agency, have you received less funding from large corporations since 2007? How do you plan to align with corporate funders in the future?  We would love your feedback on our findings -- info@cecp.co.

 

(This post, originally published in The Line is one in a weekly series highlighting The pARTnership Movement, Americans for the Arts’ campaign to reach business leaders with the message that partnering with the arts can build their competitive advantage. Visit our website to find out how both businesses and local arts agencies can get involved!) - See more at: http://blog.artsusa.org/2013/09/26/art-and-business-connect-at-a-pop-up-think-tank-from-the-partnership-movement/#more-21829

(This post is one in a weekly series highlighting The pARTnership Movement, Americans for the Arts’ campaign to reach business leaders with the message that partnering with the arts can build their competitive advantage.)

Related

The Private Sector’s Secret Weapon

Posted by Robert L. Lynch
0 Comments

The Conference Board recently released their 2013 CEO Challenge Report, which outlined the top five global challenges for CEOs:

 

  1. Human Capital
  2. Operational Excellence
  3. Innovation
  4. Customer Relationships, and
  5. Global Political Economic Risk.

 

As CEO of Americans for the Arts, these challenges obviously resonated with me. But they also struck a chord with the arts advocate in me.

 

I know that the arts industry can feel very foreign to the business community. But as companies seek new ways to build their competitive advantage, they are increasingly finding that the arts are the key to driving true innovation, ultimately reaching their business goals. So in fact, the arts can play a tremendously important role in helping CEOs address each of the challenges outlined in the CEO Challenge Report.

 

Human Capital
The way we do business is rapidly changing every day. With the advent of new technologies and younger generations’ tendency to be more on the move in their professional lives, the squeeze is on from all sides to actively engage and retain top talent.

 

Here, the arts can be a secret weapon. In my conversations with business executives across the country they have told me that the arts are an effective tool. Further, the arts play a significant role in attracting and retaining a skilled and educated workforce by ensuring that employees have a vibrant life outside the office. In fact, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas recently conceded that Dallas lost its bid for relocation of the Boeing Headquarters to Chicago because it could not compete culturally–a high priority for Boeing in attracting executives and their families.

 

At the end of the day, if we want the best employees, we have to provide them with the best opportunities to become artistically and culturally involved in and out of the office.

 

Operational Excellence
The ability to work across boundaries is an enormously significant skill that will allow organizations and businesses to better operate in an increasingly interconnected world. By embracing the arts, businesses can produce exciting new methods of achieving goals institutionally and affect the output of work in a positive, growth-oriented manner.

According to Americans for the Arts’ BCA National Survey of Business Support for the Arts, business leaders believe that the arts promote team-building and better collaboration across departments and disciplines, teach different ways of seeing the same issue, and allow for new kinds of strategies to be embraced.

 

Innovation
Innovation and creativity are among the top five applied skills sought by business leaders according to Americans for the Arts’ and The Conference Board’s “Ready to Innovate” report. Likewise, IBM’s Global Leadership Survey also says that creativity is the number one quality of successful leaders. So how can we best develop creativity in our workforce? According to “Ready to Innovate,” study of the arts is at the top of the list for both business leaders and school superintendents.

 

Innovation, creativity, business–all require a level of fearlessness and a desire to push beyond the walls. And the arts can be a powerful tool for acquiring the confidence, skills, and mindset to transform seemingly impossible ideas into reality.

 

Customer Relationships
Engaged, creative employees who are encouraged to think in new, innovative ways are likely to be both productive and actively improve both the company and their own business skills. Business leaders have told me they have seen the arts help facilitate their employee’s engagement and fuel their creative juices. It is not just an indirect result, either: the arts build empathy, observation, and problem-identification and problem-solving skills, which translates to better customer service and a deeper understanding of the constituency.

 

Global Political Economic Risk
Cultural diplomacy is increasingly being used as a strategy to promote mutual understanding across cultures. On a practical level, arts exchanges build markets and strengthen economic relationships between cultures through sharing of artistic goods–something that is beneficial both financially and culturally. The arts also help us to grasp cultural realities in places where language, religion, politics–and, perhaps more apropos, business practices–may be completely unfamiliar.

 

Many companies have already recognized the value the arts can bring to their bottom line and started strategic partnerships with the arts. And according to Americans for the Arts’ BCA Survey, more are cluing in to the valuable contribution a strong arts partnership brings to their sector. Still, there is a strong need to make the case for how partnering with the arts can benefit the business sector. The survey shows that 73 percent of companies that actually support the arts consider them to be a moderate to low priority. To ensure more businesses understand the value of partnering with the arts, Americans for the Arts launched the pARTnership Movement in January 2012.

 

The arts are connectors. They help us connect to our own potential by igniting a creative, bold, and innovative mindset. They help us connect to others by encouraging engagement, empathy, and the understanding that there are many ways of seeing the same thing. The arts connect people to the communities in which they live, the businesses at which they work, and the people with whom they interact. Without the arts, these five issues are challenges, indeed. But with the arts, I believe we can make a difference in our businesses and in our lives.

 

(This post, originally published on HuffingtonPost.org, is one in a weekly series highlighting The pARTnership Movement, Americans for the Arts’ campaign to reach business leaders with the message that partnering with the arts can build their competitive advantage.)

 

Related

The Conference Board Corporate Social Impact Conference

Posted by Emily Peck
0 Comments

The role of today's corporate philanthropy professional is expanding rapidly.  

 

Join Americans for the Arts and corporate philanthropy professionals at The Corporate Social Impact Conference in Detroit this July 24-25 and explore the evolving nature of effective partnerships in the 21st century, including:

 

  • Entrepreneurialism, creativity and collaboration in urban  community involvement
  • Accessing multi-faceted financing options to accelerate impact
  • Learning how philanthropic projects can drive innovation not only outside but also inside the corporation

 

In addition to Americans for the Arts President & CEO, Robert Lynch, speakers include artists and representatives from arts organizations including:

 

  • Jane Alexander, actress, author, conservationist and former Chair of the National Endowment for the Arts
  • John Bryan, President, Richmond CultureWorks
  • Paul Hogle, Executive Vice President, Detroit Symphony Orchestra
  • Jennifer Goulet, President and CEO, ArtServe Michigan

 

Don't miss discussions with experts from business, non-profits, thought leaders in corporate social responsibility including:
 

  • Tonya Allen, Chief Operating Officer and Vice President of Program,The Skillman Foundation
  • Ben Boyd, Global Chair, Corporate Practice, Edelman
  • Pablo Bravo, Senior Director, Community Grants & Investments, Dignity Health
  • Denis Brennan, Director, TRUiST
  • Antony Bugg-Levine, CEO, Nonprofit Finance Fund, chair of the Global Impact Investing Network & co-author of Impact Investing
  • Jim Capraro, Principal, Capraro Consulting
  • Carolyn Cavicchio, former Director, Stakeholder Engagement, Western Union Foundation
  • Megan DeYoung, Director, Corporate Citizenship
  • Dinah Dittman, National Director, Community Engagement & Philanthropy, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc.
  • Suzanne Fallender, Director, CSR Strategy & Communications, Intel
  • Don Greene, Owner, Tandem Consulting
  • Ben Hecht, President and CEO, Living Cities
  • Nita Kirby, Director, JK Group, Inc.
  • Gerald McSwiggan, Director, Issue Networks, Business Civic Leadership Center (US Chamber of Commerce)
  • Gary Niekerk, Director, Corporate Citizenship, Intel
  • Dan Nissenbaum, Managing Director, Urban Investments, Goldman Sachs
  • Tom Knowlton, Partner, TCC Group
  • Susan Mosey, President, Midtown Detroit, Inc.
  • Kori Reed, Vice President, Cause and Foundation, ConAgra Foods
  • Lisa Richter, Principal, GPS Capital Partners
  • Michael Rubinger, President and CEO, LISC
  • Susan Sherer, CEO,THAW
  • Nina Stack, President, Council of New Jersey Grantmakers
  • Lynn Stekas, former President, MONY Foundation
  • Michele Sullivan, Vice President, Caterpillar Foundation
  • Mary Wright, Director, The Conference Board
  • Yasmina Zaidman, Director of Communications & Strategic Partnerships, Acumen Fund

 

Join corporate philanthropy leaders and practitioners to discuss how partnerships in community revitalization, social funding capital and within the corporate value chain are creating new opportunities to increase the social impact of your organization. Register now using code DA1 to receive 25% off the registration price!

 

For more information, visit www.conference-board.org/socialimpact_afta.

Creative Conversations: art of the partnership

Posted by Patrick O'Herron
0 Comments

 


JOE MAHONEY/TIMES-DISPATCH

 

On November 27, 2012, Americans for the Arts and The Conference Board convened business leaders and artists for a discussion about how the business and arts sectors can leverage their respective resources to achieve vital industry objectives. The gathering, the first of a series of Creative Conversations, was hosted by Dominion Energy and Altria with significant support from CultureWorks, and took place at Altria and at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Click the following link to read an op-ed article from the Richmond Times-Dispatch written by Americans for the Arts CEO Bob Lynch and The Conference Board CEO Jon Spector regarding the first of these Creative Conversations and the future of the relationship between arts and business.

 

Creative Conversations: art of the partnership

Related

Do Business Executives Believe Artistic Pursuits Add Value to Their Work?

Posted by John Bryan
0 Comments

Richard Florida’s The Rise of the Creative Class is now 11 years old, and the notion that left-brained corporate types can benefit from right-brained creative types is acknowledged as gospel.

 

Although Florida’s work has resulted in blue-chip value for “creative thinkers,” there is no empirical evidence to show whether business executives claim any workplace value for their own personal artistic pursuits.

 

Indeed, do the personal artistic pursuits of business workers add value to the corporate workplace? The exploration of this question is one line of research that has been spawned by a recent gathering in Virginia.

 

On November 27 in Richmond, President and CEO of The Conference Board Jonathan Spector and Americans for the Arts President and CEO Robert Lynch convened 16 corporate executives and 16 artists for an eight-hour “Creative Conversation”—a day of envisioning a new transaction model between business and arts. The forever-held model is straightforward: businesses give money to the arts so that the arts can enrich their communities.

 

Richmond’s event explored the possibility of an opposite transaction model. Can corporations benefit by reaching out to and engaging practicing artists? Participants included executives from Fortune 500 companies such as Altria, Dominion, and MeadWestvaco; leaders from service organizations such as J. Sergeant Reynolds Community College and Leadership Metro Richmond; and CEOs from specialty companies such as The Martin Agency and Richmond Times-Dispatch.

The artists ranged from a ballerina to an aerialist, muralist to conceptualist, actor to juggler, ceramicist to harpist, and orchestra conductor to metal band leader.

The day’s discussions resulted in three lines of new research that are commencing, one of which may answer the question about whether an artistic pursuit adds value to an executive’s role in the corporate workplace.

 

That specific research consists of a two-question survey for business executives.

First question: Does your life include an artistic pursuit? (Play guitar? Sing in a choir? Write poetry? Paint? etc.)

 

Second question: Does your artistic pursuit add value to your work? (More creative? More open to new ideas? More receptive to diversity? More energy? etc.?)

 

Richmond’s venerable Southeastern Institute of Research (whose work has produced such landmark results as the first bank credit card and the first stay-on tab for drink cans) helped design the survey’s questions and distribution methods.

 

The survey questions are being answered by three groups. One is Richmond’s Management Roundtable, a group of 73 CEOs of the city’s largest companies. Another is the 2,500-person business e-list of the Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce. The third is the in-person business audiences who hear my presentations about the research. For example, next month I’ll present to the Richmond Association for Business Economics.

 

Last week I presented to South Richmond Rotary. The Rotarians completed the two-minute survey on the spot. 28 percent of the attendees answered YES to the question about having a personal artistic pursuit, and 100 percent  of those answered YES to it adding value to their workplace.

 

They gave a score from 1 (no value) to 5 (great value) for six different ways their artistic pursuit might add value to their work: positive energy, creativity, openness to new ideas, appreciation of diversity, respected for their own opinions and ideas, and respect for the opinions and ideas of others. None of the respondents gave a score less than 3 on any of the areas. Each of the six areas had an average score of at least 4.5.

 

The Conference Board says this is new research: determining whether business executives truly believe that their personal artistic pursuits add value to their work. Our Richmond research will be complete soon. Hopefully The Conference Board will be able to get business executives in other cities to follow suit.

 

Where might this lead? What if The Conference Board were to one day release nationwide research that confirms that having personal arts pursuits adds value to the work of corporate employees? How would that research affect the list of qualifications that corporations look for in prospective employees?

 

What would it mean regarding the desirability of artistic pursuits being included on resumes? What would it mean to our nation’s efforts in preparing tomorrow’s workforce? And what would it mean for the curricula of our school systems?

 

And what will it signify that this research will be produced and delivered not by us artists, but by what may be the world’s leading purveyor of business research and strategies: The Conference Board.

 

Richmond is an ideal city in which to initiate this research. We’re small enough (1.3 million in the Metropolitan Statistical Area) to have a community camaraderie that is embracing this research. We have a much-bigger-than-you’d-expect artistic community, powered by the 2,500-student Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts (ranked as the nation’s best public art school by U.S. News & World Report). Helping to further contribute to the artistic community, one third of those students stay in Richmond after graduation. We have a robust corporate community that includes the headquarters of 11 Fortune 1000 companies, six of which are Fortune 500 companies. And survey-wise we’re one of the nation’s top ten test markets.

 

What do you think of our efforts to date? Is there anything more you’d like to learn from a survey like this in your community?

 

*This article was originally posted on ARTSblog.

Arts and Diversity at Travelers and Aetna

Posted by Emily Peck
0 Comments

Hear highlights from our webcast produced in partnership with The Conference Board about the role of the arts in bridging diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

 

Glenn Winfree a performance consultant at Aetna discusses how to create an inclusive workplace and a healthy workforce through the arts:

 

Tony Branfort an IT director at Travelers Insurance talks about Travelers Arts & Diversity program:

 

Americans for the Arts board member Margie Reese and Tony Branfort discuss how arts and diversity programs impact employee engagement, recruitment and marketing:

 

For more information about this webcast, click here.

 

*Photo courtesy of KamalSelle.

Related

Mike, The Picasso of Accounting Meets the Conference Board Review

Posted by Emily Peck
0 Comments

The Summer 2012 issue of The Conference Board Review features a full-page pARTnership Movement ad. TCB Review is a quarterly publication of The Conference Board that addresses issues at the intersection of business and society.

 

Americans for the Arts and The Conference Board have partnered on research and programs that demonstrate the value of the arts to an engaged and creative workforce including Ready to Innovate and webcasts on Using the Arts to Promote Diversity and Inclusion, the role of the arts in reaching global markets, and Arts Education and the Innovative Workforce.

 

For more information about placing pARTnership Movement ads in your publications, local business journals and more check out our tool-kit.

 

Related

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.