Knowledge, Research & Innovation
Learning and Leadership
American Orchestras’ Futures Fund
In May 2016, the League notified members of changes in the grantmaking process for funds for orchestras that have originated with the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation. These changes affect orchestras that received grants directly from the Foundation as well as those that received grants through the League's re-granting program, the Getty Education and Community Investment Grants Program. They also affect orchestras that have never received funding from the Foundation, but that wish to seek Foundation funding in the future.
A New Grantmaking Program
Beginning in 2017, the Foundation will fund a new program to be administered by the League: the American Orchestras' Futures Fund. The Foundation independently made this decision to redirect most of its support to orchestras through the League based on the success of our Getty Education and Community Investment Grants Program. We worked with an advisory group of managers from member orchestras as well as experienced grantmakers to design this new program that is consistent with the Foundation's priorities. The League's Managers Advisory Committee has reviewed and supported a draft program design.
Calendar 2016 will be the last year that 1) Getty will make grants directly to orchestras and 2) that the League will administer the Getty Education and Community Investment Grants Program.
All Orchestras Now Eligible
This new arrangement will now make it possible for every member orchestra to be considered for support from the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation. Approximately $1.5 million will be available annually.
A Focus on Innovation
The new program will continue to support education and community engagement programs, but will broaden to include other initiatives as well. The focus of the new, larger Futures Fund will be to support orchestras that are making significant investments in learning and innovation, and that also demonstrate potential to influence and ensure a positive future for American orchestras.
The Futures Fund will offer two kinds of grants: two-year unrestricted organizational grants and short-term technical assistance grants. The Futures Fund recognizes that orchestras today are engaged in groundbreaking work, for example:
- Discovering new ways to advance classical music as an art form through new work, new forms of concert presentation, and artistic partnerships
- Crafting programs that are responsive to and reflective of their communities, and engaging in neighborhoods beyond the concert hall
- Learning about the reasons people attend or don't attend concerts, and tailoring their offerings to support multiple and distinct programming streams
- Pursuing new strands of community service, such as health and wellness programming, lifelong learning activities, and cross-cultural creative partnerships
- Experimenting with media and new technologies not only inside the concert hall but also in virtual and digital realms
The Futures Fund will award two-year unrestricted organizational grants to orchestras engaged in exemplary practices in the above cited areas. Applicants will be asked to describe their past accomplishments and plans for future initiatives, to demonstrate a learning culture and show how they have invested in evidence-based decision making, and to document the ways their explorations can meaningfully contribute to field-wide learning. The Futures Fund is specifically looking for both field leadership and a culture of learning and innovation. Technical assistance grants will help orchestras develop the processes, tools, and information or research needed to successfully develop learning and innovation capabilities.
Timing for the Two-Year Organizational Grants
In the fall of 2016, orchestras in Groups 1 through 4 may apply for support to the League for the 16/17 and 17/18 seasons. In the fall of 2017, orchestras in Groups 5 through 8, and youth orchestras, may apply for support for the 17/18 and 18/19 seasons.
Timing for the Technical Assistance Grants
In the fall of 2017, orchestras in Groups 1 through 4 may apply for technical assistance grants for the 17/18 season. In the fall of 2018, orchestras in Groups 5 through 8, and youth orchestras, may apply for support for the 18/19 season.
Judging and Eligibility
Grants will be awarded on a competitive basis by independent, arms-length panels. All current League Members in good standing will be eligible to apply.
For More Information
We are grateful to the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation for this expanded support and look forward to working with you on this program.
2016-17 Emerging Leaders Program Applicant Orientation
Friday, June 10, 8:00am – 8:45am
Baltimore Marriott Waterfront
Interested in applying for the League’s 2016-17 Emerging Leaders Program? Join us for coffee and conversation with lead faculty member John McCann and recent graduates Caleb Bailey, executive director, Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra and Rebecca Zabinski, manager, artistic administration, Houston Symphony. We’ll cover the program’s elements, share how it can help you advance, and provide tips for composing a compelling application.
Speaker: John McCann, president, Partners in Performance, and lead faculty member and facilitator, Emerging Leaders Program
The Emerging Leaders Program is made possible by generous grants from American Express Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Hearst Foundation, Inc., and the National Endowment for the Arts.
2015-16 Emerging Leaders Participants
Individual Giving Manager,
Director of Civic Orchestra and Training Programs, Chicago Symphony Orchestra when she participated
Artistic Associate, Houston Symphony when she participated
On Building Arts Audiences
Interested in New Methods of Audience Engagement?
A distinguished panel tackles this question and more during a special discussion!
Kurt Andersen, host of Studio 360, leads the conversation with:
- Robert Battle, artistic director, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
- Jane Chu, chairman, National Endowment for the Arts
- James Houghton, founding artistic director, Signature Theatre Company
- Kelly Tweeddale, executive director, Seattle Opera
The panel focuses on the importance of arts organizations trying new approaches to engaging audiences and the imperative to learn from one another in the process. The event also included an announcement from Wallace Foundation President Will Miller about a new $40 million initiative in the arts. Learn more here.
SMART: Strategy and Money Alignment Readiness Tool
You have the vision. You have the plan. Can you afford it?
The answer is right there on your balance sheet – and SMART (Strategy and Money Alignment Readiness Tool) will help you see it clearly.
The League’s new self-guided version of SMART can help you and your orchestra easily understand your current financial health and align your mission with the money you have. The end result - supported by easily generated charts and reports - can help drive those candid, sometimes difficult conversations with the people who matter most to your orchestra.
Ready to get SMART? SMART and the accompanying handbook are available free to League members - just register here.
We recommend that before you get started, you watch the free 30-minute webinar, Making SMART Choices. Allison Crump of TDC gives an easy to follow demonstration of SMART that takes all the guesswork out of getting started.
The Strategy and Money Alignment Readiness Tool and webinar are made possible by a generous grant from Fidelity Foundation.
Some resources from previous League conferences can be found here. For more, visit the Learning and Leadership Development section.
Upbeat, Spring 2014
In this issue:
Dear Youth Orchestra Colleagues,
I hope the New Year of 2014 and the Year of the Horse finds your organizations humming along with renewed vigor and purpose. Thank you for everything that you do to offer educational and artistic experiences for young people in your community.
There was excellent discussion and spirited participation at the YOD sessions at Mid-Winter conference in NYC in January, and I look forward to that energy and enthusiasm carrying over into the sessions in Seattle. It’s not too early to think about a trip to Seattle in June - please mark your calendars and plan to join your colleagues, get the latest information from the field and celebrate the great work of youth orchestras and the League. I hope to see you in Seattle!
Bay Youth Orchestras of Virginia
Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra
News and Resources
Capital campaigns are an important part of the fundraising cycle for any orchestra, large or small. While many of the tried and true principles of effective campaign fundraising remain the same, changing demographics and global and industry trends have required that orchestras innovate and strategies evolve. This webinar will provide an overview of recent trends in philanthropy and capital campaign fundraising, with an emphasis on symphonies and orchestras, while also sharing the essential fundamentals and tools needed to plan a comprehensive campaign. Participants will hear best practices for creating a realistic timetable, drafting a compelling case for support, and recruiting the right volunteer leadership, as well as develop a solid understanding of how it all fits together to form a winning plan.
Presented by Bridget Keane, Corporate Vice President, CCS and Preston Walton, Assistant Vice President, CCS. This on-demand webinar is free for League members. Register now!
View the PowerPoint presentation for this webinar.
Moves Management® isn't just about portfolios, coding and moves. It is a comprehensive approach for your development operation that will bring major gift prospects closer to your orchestra through a series of strategic steps. Adopting a Moves Management® system that incorporates creative cultivation opportunities and strategies to generate a high-level of activity is the key to establishing a healthy major donor pipeline. In this webinar, learn best practices for incorporating an effective Moves Management system, as well as innovations in donor strategies that will help build your pipeline and secure more major gifts for your organization.
Presented by Eric Javier, corporate vice president & managing director, CCS and Steven Talbot, executive director, CCS. This on-demand webinar is free for League members. Register now!
View the PowerPoint presentation for this webinar.
Workgroup on Diversity & Inclusion
This workgroup is designed for staff, board members, and musicians interested in promoting diversity and inclusion at their orchestras.
Meeting via phone, the group will work to create a “safe place” for discussing diversity strategies and best practices within varied contexts specific to orchestras.
Participants will be encouraged to use the workgroup conversation to jump-start their personal efforts to move diversity and inclusion work forward within their organization.
Moderated by Jim Hirsch, executive director, Chicago Sinfonietta
Cultivating new audiences and strengthening bonds with current attendees is a top priority for most arts organizations. Audience research can advance those goals by helping you understand barriers preventing potential audiences from attending; discover potential points of engagement; develop more effective promotional materials;and assess progress toward audience-building goals. Even so, many orchestras shy away from research, often citing lack of money, time, or skills to carry it out. Drawing from a guide published by The Wallace Foundation, this webinar with marketing and research expert Bob Harlow demonstrated how research is helping organizations build audiences, with guidance on how to carry it out effectively, even on a small budget.
Presenter: Bob Harlow, Bob Harlow Research & Consulting, LLC
A webinar by Reimagining the Orchestra Subscription Model author Namita Desai is now available to view. The study by Oliver Wyman, commissioned by the League of American Orchestras, is the first of its kind for American orchestras Using the largest-ever orchestra sales dataset, it draws on ten years of data from four million customers across 45 orchestras of varying sizes, as well as a profile and preferences survey of 4,000 people who attended an orchestra concert in the last five years and a dynamic market simulation that tested the willingness-to-pay of 1,000 people making 10,000 purchasing decisions. The result is a compelling set of recommendations; in essence, the building blocks for future audience and donor development strategies.
Looking to engage and grow your audiences? Recent research from the Wallace Foundation reveals nine actions that deliver successful results for arts organizations. Arts-marketing researcher Bob Harlow hosts a free webinar for League members that unpacks best practices and case studies for growing new audiences. Harlow builds on The Road to Results: Effective Practices for Building Audiences, the popular session he presented at the League's 2015 Conference in Cleveland. He explores case studies of cultural organizations that are attracting growing numbers of young adults and other demographic groups that have proven challenging to attract—with a special focus on how arts organizations can build relevance with new audiences.
View for free! Register here to view the webinar.
Audience Participation Webinar
Two recent national studies, the National Endowment for the Arts 2008 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, and the League’s Audience Demographic Research Review, offer statistically reliable national demographic information about audience participation. The findings raise both serious concerns and new opportunities for orchestras. They merit close attention from all who are concerned about the future of orchestras in America.
National Endowment for the Arts 2008 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts
Sunil Iyengar (bio), director, NEA Research & Analysis
The League’s Audience Demographic Research Review
Atul Kanagat (bio)
The League’s Audience Demographic Research Review was made possible in part by a generous grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Orchestra Lab: The Spring for Music Experiment
How can we have inventive, challenging programs that build audience interest and investment in local markets? Spring For Music (S4M,) the closest thing America has had to a national orchestra festival, presented 25 concerts, by 23 orchestras in annual week-long festivals in Carnegie Hall from 2011 – 2014. S4M became a how-to laboratory for building community to support artistically adventurous work. So what was learned from this experiment?
- how unusual programming affects critical reception and audience interest
- the kind of audience you get when you price every seat in the house at $25
- how some orchestras successfully built their Carnegie Hall appearances as a season-long vehicle to build community and support at home
Sponsored by Akustiks.
Daniel J. Hart, executive director, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra; Kathleen Carroll, president and CEO, Toledo Symphony; Thomas W. Morris, artistic director, Ojai Music Festival; James R. Oestreich, former classical music editor, and currently writing for the New York Times; Jesse Rosen, president and CEO, League of American Orchestras
Webinars offer the chance to engage in interactive, online learning that utilizes phone conference and internet technology. Led by field professionals, each webinar will focus on one topic that will assist you in your work with your orchestra.
Webinars are made possible by grants from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Hearst Foundation, Inc., and the Argosy Foundation.
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Learning and Leadership
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