Indiana Arts and Culture Nonprofits: Overview and Challenges

Indiana Arts and Culture Nonprofits: Overview and Challenges

While more than half of arts and culture nonprofits in Indiana have seen the demand for their services increase over the past three years, more than that reported rising expenses (65 percent of Indiana Arts Commission applicants) than increased revenues (54 percent), suggesting that more operate at or below the break-even point, a report from the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and School of Public and Environmental Affairs finds. Based on a survey of 1,170 Indiana nonprofits, including 145 that have applied for Indiana Arts Commission funding, the report, Indiana Arts and Culture Nonprofits: Overview and Challenges (44 pages, PDF), found that 20 percent reported a drop in revenue, compared with only 9 percent that reported lower expenses. Funded in part by the Indianapolis Foundation at the Central Indiana Community Foundation and the Lilly Endowment, the report also found that arts nonprofits are significantly more likely to face financial challenges than other nonprofits, including difficulty providing adequate staff compensation, securing funding from a variety of sources, creating budgets, managing cash flows, and collecting payments. And while arts groups have  more experience with a broad range of information technologies and more organizational best practices in place than other types of nonprofits, they also report more challenges in planning, managing programs and marketing activities, finding and retaining qualified board members, and assessing board member performance.