The New Challenge for Arts and Cultural Nonprofits

The New Challenge for Arts and Cultural Nonprofits 1

How is your organization changing the world?

You know your work is important. But when you are part of an art museum, symphony orchestra or botanical gardens, your impact on society might not always be at the forefront of your messaging. After all, isn’t art important enough in itself?

While there are overall declines in memberships to art museums, performing arts, and other similar organizations, loyal members are not motivated so much by what they might get from their membership as they are by the feeling that their money is doing good.

If members feel that way, you can be sure donors do too.

And, of course, today’s new members are tomorrow’s major donors. The Giving USA Foundation says “organizations should identify and articulate their impact on the community and society to remain relevant to future donors.”

Does your messaging dig deep, letting donors know that support for their beloved arts also supports the greater good of society? After all, the arts allow us to build common bonds among people, help us see better the perspectives of other people, and inspire creative thinking. During polarizing times, these are important gifts to your community.

In more concrete ways, art organizations have a long history of running educational programs for children, giving them a sense of history and opening their minds and imaginations to new possibilities. Perhaps your group gives people who live with sensory or mental challenges the chance to experience art or puts a spotlight on the work or performances of people who might otherwise never have the chance.

This same information is vital to helping donors decide to make a planned gift.

Donors want to be sure their estate gifts are going to make a difference in the world. If, for example, your organization has a strong educational component for children, you are offering a natural legacy for future generations. Donors who leave legacy gifts are an integral part of that!

Take a closer look at what you do. Look for specific ways that your organization benefits your community or society at large, and make sure that your members and donors know it too.