Category Archives: Whitepapers and Downloads
While I would love to tell you that I sprang full-grown from the foam of the artistic sea, I actually earned my degree in geology and English Composition. Part of that research scientist nerdiness is still with me, however, and development research makes me drool a little. Ok, a lot.
So when The Arts Index (a project of Americans for the Arts) came to my attention, I was super stoked. Not only was it a research project, but its data is readily useable by those who need it. (As much as I love research, I admit that getting relevant findings to the public in a useable way is often an issue.)
As I write this, I am snuggled up on my couch, enjoying a Sunday off. I know very few in the field of arts development who enjoy regular weekends off, and this is my first free day in our Monday-Sunday workweek. From time to time, it’s nice to remember that we are individuals with our own lives.
Most development professionals I’ve met work in their field because of a passion. Often, it is an overarching passion for doing good work. Often, it is coupled with a passion for the particular industry that we work in; I, for example, was steeped in the arts as a bassoonist before I became passionate about the Capitol.
A likely side-effect of this passion is a desire to contribute to other causes. Though artistic causes dominate my roster of charitable donations, the causes that I donate to run the gamut, and my donations are usually driven by an emotional attachment to a charity. Much of my giving is driven by my experience with their programs or their impact in my community. Research−such as this study featured in The Chronicle of Philanthropy−finds that I am like many female donors in this regard.
So I’m sitting here, making boxed macaroni and cheese for breakfast (mmm brain food), pondering today’s topic. Sure, this blog is about development. But, as I mentioned to my husband, Art−who also happens to be my boss−at the breakfast table, development is kind of a big thing. In addition to the various facets of the job itself, there are certain life traits and work habits that are the purview of most, if not all, good fundraisers, and developing these skills to the best of our abilities seems par for the course. Knowing the technical ins and outs of various development-related tasks and systems is obviously necessary, but the idea that time management, organization, and initiative, and other factors are required is not lost on me.
For those of you who have been in the field a long time, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. Especially those of you in small shops. I had to smile the other day at the job openings that I was posting on my Twitter account. Let’s see now, as Development Director of a 1.5-person shop, I would love to hire a Grant Writer, a Special Events Coordinator, a Prospect Researcher, a Major Gifts Manager, an Annual Fund Director, a Planned Giving Coordinator, a Senior Development Associate. But it’s a chicken and egg situation−in order to hire additional development staff, my department would have to raise much more in resources, or my organization would have to realize dramatically more revenue, for that to happen. And even if both of those things were true, hiring these positions may not be our first priority.