Survey of Arts Management

Course blog for American University PERF-570, Fall 2014

Motivated by Love and Fear

Here is a blog about grantmakers.

The author makes the insight that grantmakers are so protecting their investments that “complex grant applications and rigorous reporting requirements are limiting efforts to support organizations that have not built the infrastructure needed to be in the fundraising game”. She also clarifies the main reason that causes the situation is “most grantmakers are understaffed, so their ability to identify and support organizations not already in the pipeline is extremely limited”.

At last, the article posts with several measures to identify if the grant process is love-oriented, and to guide grantmakers to be more supportive to those underfunded art organizations. One measure really impresses me is to “support leadership in financial and organizational management”. Small art organizations may be immature in different aspects, and management skills are crucial for their survival, so it’s better to educate them instead of feeding them occasionally.

And the suggestions from the author remind me of the role played by VP (venture capital), which is financial capital provided to early-stage, high-potential, growth startup companies. Venture capitalists with an operational background will serve as management consultants. Maybe grantmaker can draw lessons from those VPs, who to my knowledge, mostly don’t set complex requirements for potential emerging organizations. Thus, underfunded organizations may benefit a lot from the changes.

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About yaoge2016

Yaoge Wang is an emerging arts administrator dedicated to arts, culture, and nonprofit sector. With Accounting and Arts Management backgrounds and a special mix of “right brain/left brain” balance, she brings strong analytical skills and judgment as well as creativity to complex problems. She has extensive professional experience in the U.S. and China. She hopes to apply this international perspective to make the arts more visible to the public.

2 comments on “Motivated by Love and Fear

  1. trishayoung
    October 10, 2014

    Applying for and maintaining grants can get very complicated. I remember one of the grants I assisted with last year for a professional dance company had to be a specific length, everything had to be in a specific order, and to top it all off it had to be hand delivered with a signed verification of receipt. This was a decent size grant so I can understand a few hoops but some of it was just ridiculous. I agree that the complexity of application should reflect the amount of the grant or at least keep it in mind.

  2. gaochang619
    October 10, 2014

    It is an interesting point addressing the relationship between venture capitalists and organization management. I agree on the point of “support leadership in financial and organizational management” not only because grantmakers with operating skill do help with new small organizations, but also the engagement and tight relationship would benefit both sides in some way. However I should say it depends, due to an impressive case in my undergraduate which showed me how a unreasonable venture capitalist got involved in my classmate’s newborn enterprise and ruined it at last. It is not a giving and receiving process in grant but a requirement for smart coordination.

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