A very readable report on the role of culture in a select group of cities across the world was recently published by the City of London. The paper World Cities Culture Report 2012 is a detailed analysis of a select group of world capitals, with a goal of demonstrating the role culture plays in urban life and economic vitality.
As well as providing some interesting facts (Johannesburg has 943 rare and secondhand bookstores, Tokyo has 681; Berlin apparently has only 4), the report explores attitudes towards cultural policymaking. There is much information we can translate ‘locally’ about culture as a driver of economic growth. The creative industries represent a large and rising share of urban economies – a thriving cultural sector is important to a city’s being attractive to residents, visitors and the businesses who employ them.
Canada is a young country, yet our cities face the challenges described in the 9 cities profiled – balancing modernity and tradition, linking cultural participation and existing infrastructure – developing audiences and attracting visitors, workers and businesses.
Arts and Business Exploring Collaboration “In Kind”
August 27, 2012
Since joining the OAF two years ago, I’ve constantly been impressed with how creative and entrepreneurial arts organizations are in managing sometimes ‘scarce’ resources as they deliver creative and outstanding programs.
Culture Professionals Network
The Guardian in the UK publishes an interesting blog: Culture Professionals Network . A recent update (13/08/12) describes how UK arts organizations are being entrepreneurial in other ways, by exploring collaboration with business beyond the purely financial. As an example, a theatre company secures reduced rent for their office needs, and occupy otherwise unutilized office space. That collaboration might see the arts organization delivering arts programs, or workshops to the business’s employees. Space and infrastructure are secured in exchange for providing arts education and programming to the staff. It is one more way to develop future audiences and arts supporters.
The collaboration can create a sense of community and a commitment to helping each other out, thereby building a stronger, deeper relationship with an organization. The arts organization can use the opportunity to stage performances, installations and deliver community projects. It isn’t a substitute for financial support, but can be one way to expand an arts organizations ‘reach’, grow audiences and through the collaboration, cost effectively manage part of operating expenses.
Corporate Matching Programs are a Fundraising Tool all Arts Organizations Should be Aware of
August 07, 2012
Donors and supporters of arts organizations should be aware of the benefits of matching programs. It can be surprising how often your supporters aren’t aware of, or don’t take advantage of the corporate matching donation programs offered by their employer. This is a charitable giving program where the business matches donations made by employees (typically through a payroll deduction program) to eligible non-profit organizations.
These programs are widely in place in large businesses, and are easily established by smaller businesses. Some corporations establish a focus for corporate giving, but the majority only require that donations will be matched and paid to a non-profit organization registered with the Canada Revenue Agency. In addition to payroll deduction programs, some organizations also provide ‘volunteer grants’ – a fixed dollar donation to a non-profit organization where the employee is an active volunteer. These programs are often even less well known than corporate matching.
Benefits of Employer Matching Programs
The benefits to the employee and the organization are simple and tangible:
Additional funds are raised and matched which benefit the arts organization
Employees who participate usually become repeat donors
A matching program is often an incentive for the employee to increase their average donation
Donations are easily completed through payroll deduction processes
The donation amount is matched. Most organizations will match $1 for $1 up to a defined limit
For the business, the corporation benefits from recognition in their local community. There are also tax benefits to the business for their matching contribution. Corporate matching programs are an excellent way to engage employees in developing the program, establishing guidelines and supporting volunteerism in the local community. It is a tool that supports employee morale and retention.
As an arts organization, your role is to know the businesses in your community who offer employee matching programs. Share that awareness with your donors, supporters and board members. Board members, who are business owners, may not currently offer an employee program - you can provide information and education on how to set one up and its benefits. Don’t overlook the value of annual volunteer grants by the corporation to/on behalf of employees who give their volunteer hours/time to support your arts mission. Consider approaching a business owner to ask if there is information they might require from your arts organization to help with employee awareness, or to help shape a matching program that might be more focused.