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How to work a room and make your donors feel special

If you’re an independent artist or small company, there are a lot of expectations to live up to at performances and events. Not only do you have to give a dazzling performance or speech, you also need to ‘work the room’ – that terrible way of describing the networking that makes guests feel welcome and important to your practice. Here are some helpful ways to get in and out of conversations, keep yourself moving and share your presence with as many guests as possible.

Why strategy fails in arts organisations

The tyranny of the urgent can destroy strategy if its not kept in check. Art must be made, tickets sold and funds raised. Here are the things to look out for and address to make sure strategy is front and centre of your organisation.

Arts fundraising and the culture of asking

When you're a fundraising professional, it’s easy to compare our philanthropic landscape to the generosity of Americans and worry that we don’t have a culture of philanthropy in Australia. While it’s true that Australia’s high net worth individuals are performing...

Harnessing good stress for high performance

We have all experienced the feeling of ‘butterflies’ in our stomach, sweaty palms and a racing heart before a performance on stage, an interview or public speaking. Some people experience physical reactions even when they have to speak in a small group.  And yet,...

Five tips for composers by artistic decision makers

Over the last six months, we have interviewed some of Australia’s most experienced artistic directors and planners. We wanted to know what they were looking for from Australian composers – particularly emerging composers – and how they make their commissioning and...

Arts fundraising: taking centre stage in the boardroom

It’s no secret that fundraising is the biggest issue facing most not-for-profit organisations. For the arts and cultural sector, the Australian Institute of Company Directors' 2015 Governance and Performance Study found that increasing private-sector income is the...

7 characteristics of a successful arts Chairman

The Chairman of an arts organisation is not a figurehead – they play a crucial role that comes with personal repercussions if things don’t go well. Fundamentally, the Chair and Directors are there to take legal and fiscal responsibility for the organisation and, quite...

The secret to preparing board papers: what directors really want

In our experience nothing elicits more eyeball rolling than talking about board papers with arts managers. They’re vital, but sometimes it’s hard to know why, or how to make them relevant and not a total chore to produce. But help is at hand ... Why nobody loves board...

Why arts organisations need to stop thinking small

Too often arts organisations are forced into small thinking by the every-day constraints of funding, time, general risk aversion and the uniquely-Australian fear of being a tall poppy. Following is an inducement to start thinking big, to solve problems once - and...

Why arts organisations can’t save their way to financial health

Money is tight for many Australian arts organisations right now, particularly those who recently lost their core funding. The current environment is encouraging boards to become more risk averse; the last thing they want is for it all to fall over on their watch. If...

Defunded organisations: next steps

The past few days have undoubtedly been difficult and upsetting for the small-to-medium arts sector of Australia. And a funding crisis has been precipitated. Whether we have secured funding or not, whether we knew what was coming or not – the sense of shock and...

Four-year Funding – what’s your Plan B?

Next week, the small-to-medium arts sector will be notified of the Australia Council’s Four-Year Government Funding decisions. We all know the stats on applications vs funds available and it is certainly an anxious wait for all. As we brace ourselves for the...

Arts fundraising. There is no ‘little black book’.

In today’s uncertain funding climate, arts organisations are relying more heavily on income from philanthropy and private ancillary funds. CEOs and boards look to employ high quality fundraising staff who can facilitate these relationships. In turn, staff look for...

Why fundraisers leave (and how to stop them)

When a talented fundraiser resigns, a large dollar-shaped void looms in their place. It’s disruptive for the team and the skills are time consuming and expensive to recruit. Relationships between the organisation and its donors are destabilised and other staff must...

Hiring fundraisers in a candidate’s market

In today’s employment market, most job hunters are looking for employers with a healthy corporate culture and spirit of give and take. This is especially true for high-quality fundraisers in in Australia – a true candidate’s market. In the last decade, the tertiary...

The real cost of an uncivil workplace

“You stand for what you’re prepared to put up with.” This is a favourite saying of a wonderful mentor of mine and it's the essence of her success as one of Australia’s most respected cultural sector CEOs. What she recognised and practised – long before the world’s...

Arts sponsorship – it’s not about us.

For many arts organisations, corporate sponsorship is an important part of the revenue mix. But it is also difficult to acquire - and managing it can be very labour-intensive. There’s no doubt the sponsorship market is tough. Arts organisations are forced to go...

7 ways to improve your government relations

It’s vital for Australian arts organisations to proactively foster their government relations. But it can seem to take considerable time and effort: time and effort which could be spent on the thousand other things you have to do. Here are 7 things any organisation...

4 elements of effective arts advocacy

Now, more than ever, effective arts advocacy is a matter of urgency. As submissions fall due for the National Programme for Excellence in the Arts, the small to medium sector needs to get on the front foot. And together it must provide a united and credible voice....

Why effective arts advocacy is now a matter of urgency

The 2015-16 budget introduces funding changes that will profoundly affect the Australia’s small-to-medium arts sector. Now, it is more important than ever for organisations present a united voice to government in lobbying and effective political advocacy. Reducing...

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