The latest Cultural Confidence update indicates attitudes surrounding the current economic situation as well as the economic outlook among cultural institutions remained mostly unchanged since the last polling cycle. Since polling began, negative outlooks overshadow positive by no less than two to one while those who believe the current economic condition at their organization is “poor” (the lowest available option) has risen steadily. It was interesting that the Bernie Madoff scandal appeared to have little impact on this polling cycle but that situation should still serve as notice to all performing arts organizations that transparency and accountability have never been more important..
If investors are scared, imagine how donors feel. Think of it as the Madoff Effect: a trickle-down version of anxiety and insecurity that paralyzes donors with crippling mistrust (not to mention any direct and/or indirect losses performing arts organization may suffer if any of their investment revenue was tied to Madoff’s Ponzi scheme). Regardless of prevailing opinion inside the institution or if similar efforts were recently implemented, shrewd board officers and administrative executives would be wise to realize the value in assessing their organization’s fiscal management practices and institutional transparency with an eye toward bolstering public trust.
Simply put, going through this process and announcing the results publicly will be a useful development tool in addition to marginalizing the Madoff Effect. Even with all of its problems, the new economy is an opportunity for nonprofit performing arts organizations to embrace previously unknown levels of institutional transparency with the goal of raising internal business practices and public opinion.
Voting for the current polling cycle is now open so if you haven’t cast your vote what are you waiting for? VOTE NOW.