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IU research reveals Indiana arts and culture nonprofits face significant challenges

For Immediate Release Oct 31, 2018

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – More than half of Indiana arts and culture nonprofits say that demands for their services have increased over the past 36 months. But more reported increased expenses than increased revenues, suggesting that more operate at or below the margin, according to a new Indiana University report.

The report uses data from a 2017 survey of 1,170 Indiana nonprofits – including 145 that have applied for funding from the Indiana Arts Commission – conducted by the Indiana Nonprofits Project. It was produced at the request of the Indiana Arts Commission to inform the commission’s planning, capacity building and training efforts.

According to the report, arts and culture nonprofits are significantly more likely to face financial challenges than all other nonprofits. The challenges include providing adequate staff compensation; securing funding from a variety of sources; and managing various financial activities, such as creating budgets and financial statements, managing cash flows or collecting payments. They also report more challenges planning, managing programs and marketing activities, as well as finding and retaining qualified board members and assessing board member performance, than all other types of nonprofits in Indiana.

“This report helps to identify some of the strengths and challenges of the arts not-for-profit sector in our state,” said Lewis Ricci, executive director of the Indiana Arts Commission. “It serves as a tremendous resource as the Indiana Arts Commission develops capacity-building and grant programs which maximize public benefit for all of our citizens. The IAC is pleased to have partnered with IU on this report, and we recognize the important work that is being done by the School of Public and Environmental Affairs and the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy to inform the work of the public and private, nonprofit sectors in Indiana.”

On the positive side, Indiana arts and culture organizations have significantly greater experience with a broad range of information technology resources and have more good organizational practices in place than other Indiana nonprofits, according to Kirsten Grønbjerg, director of the study.

“This suggests that Indiana arts and culture nonprofits are better positioned to take advantage of new developments and opportunities coming their way,” she said.

The complete report – “Indiana Arts and Culture Nonprofits: Overview and Challenges” – is available online. It is part of the Indiana Nonprofit Sector: Scope and Community Dimensions project.

About the briefing

This briefing is the second in a series of reports from the Indiana Nonprofit Survey, Round III produced by the Indiana Nonprofit Sector: Scope and Community Dimensions project, designed to inform local community leaders and policymakers. The analysis is a joint effort of the School of Public and Environmental Affairs and the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. The briefing’s co-authors are Grønbjerg, the Efroymson Chair in Philanthropy at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and associate dean for faculty affairs at SPEA, and research assistant and IU undergraduate Payton Goodman.

About the School of Public and Environmental Affairs

SPEA is a world leader in public and environmental affairs and is the largest school of public administration and public policy in the United States. In the 2018 “Best Graduate Public Affairs Programs” by U.S. News & World Report, SPEA ranks first in the country. Four of its specialty programs are ranked in the top-five listings, including nonprofit management, ranked first.

About the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy

The Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI is dedicated to improving philanthropy to improve the world by training and empowering students and professionals to be innovators and leaders who create positive and lasting change. The school offers a comprehensive approach to philanthropy – voluntary action for the public good – through its academic, research and international programs and through The Fund Raising School, Lake Institute on Faith & Giving, Mays Family Institute on Diverse Philanthropy and the Women’s Philanthropy Institute.

About the Indiana Arts Commission

The Indiana Arts Commission is an agency of state government, funded by the Indiana General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. Its mission is to have a positive impact on the cultural, economic and economic climate of Indiana by providing responsible leadership for and public stewardship of artistic resources for all of our state’s citizens and communities.

Media Contact

Lilly Family School of Philanthropy

Adriene Davis Kalugyer

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