Thursday, May 1, 2008

Arts Organizations Suffer in Economic Slowdown

When the economy starts to turn sour, consumers cut back on their unnecessary expenses. Charitable donations in general are often the first to go when recession looms. Some donors will still open their wallets for charities helping the less fortunate, but what about those organizations whose missions are less humanitarian in nature, like arts organizations? Most donors would rather give their money to a food bank or homeless shelter than an opera or orchestra.

Large arts institutions often invest large amounts of money in renovations and new construction. In this recent article, several institutions currently involved in such projects talk about how the recent downturn in the economy has impacted their operations. As these organizations look toward the future, planning for continued renovations and maintenance seems to be more and more impossible. If this trend continues, even planning for operations in the short term will become a challenge.

So what can donors do to help? Well, for one thing, don’t be so quick to eliminate funding for the arts from your budget. Remember that the impact of arts organizations extends outside the organization itself into the local community, and often impacts the local economy. If you must decrease your charitable giving, make sure you research the charities you are giving to. An organization that operates efficiently can do more with the same contribution than one that operates inefficiently. On our site, you can browse an expanded list of the Arts, Culture and Humanities charities, and filter them by criteria (including their rating) using the tools on the left side of the page.

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