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From Survival To Success

On Tuesday, June 19th and Wednesday the 20th, ArtsFund hosted forums on fundraising and development for cultural organizations, From Survival to Success: A Management Platform for Fundraising Success, presented by nonprofit advisory firm Altruist Partners. More than 100 staff and board members attended over the two mornings at K&L Gates, with the first session geared toward organizations with budgets under $1 million and the second for those with budgets over $1 million.

Donald Summers and O. David Jackson of Altruist Partners shared strategies and suggestions for growing fundraising using tools from the for-profit sector. The two opened with reviewing organizational communication, and the barriers that can prevent difficult but necessary conversations for organizations to adapt, change, and grow.

Donald Summers of Altruist Partners presents to attendees

O. David Jackson of Altruist Partners addresses attendees

After reviewing different types of change needed to progress, they reviewed steps to create a high-caliber business platform to increase fundraising, beginning with creating an investment-grade business plan, then developing and executing a sound finance strategy, and finally reporting for “transparency, accountability, and performance.”

After a brief break to reflect and discuss, attendees dove into a case study to identify pain points and opportunities in a fictional scenario—and to consider how it might apply to their organizations. This segued into a further conversation of what attendees could do to implement changes at their organizations and what is stopping them from doing so. Both mornings closed with a question and answer portion, and a thank you from Altruist and ArtsFund for attending.

Attendees talk in small groups at From Survival to Success

Over 90% of respondents to a follow-up survey indicated that they plan to implement information from the session at their organizations. Many said they plan to incorporate pipeline strategies, shifting from strategic planning to business planning, and tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) and other metrics.

All attendees were offered a free 90-minute follow-up consultation with Altruist, courtesy of the event sponsors, and about one quarter of the attending organizations have so far.

ArtsFund extends a huge thank you to Allan and Nora Davis for sponsoring the events, to K&L Gates for hosting, to Robert Wade Photography for his always-wonderful photos, and to the Altruist Partners team for sharing their insight and expertise.

To learn more about ArtsFund’s leadership and capacity building programs, contact Sarah Sidman at sarahsidman@artsfund.org.

(L-R) Donald Summers, event sponsor Allan Davis, ArtsFund’s Sarah Sidman, and O. David Jackson