Researching dance nonprofits has allowed me to recognize the purpose of them, the way they operate, their structure and how they are evaluated. Each having their own mission statement allows for unique purpose of each. Most produce some type of performance or provide training to those who participate. Although there is a lot of opportunity for dance nonprofits to succeed, there are many challenges.
Some problems that can cause tension for nonprofits is finding resources and filling an audience that will support the organization. Large ballet companies like New York City Ballet do not have this problem as they are established, and the audience is guaranteed a high-quality performance. Smaller companies struggle initially as they are building a cliental and are not as well known. Another struggle for nonprofits is finding qualified board members and leaders. Dance nonprofits tend to have larger costs so making sure revenue is met is crucial.
The dance field is very challenged now because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is unclear if organizations will be able to survive due to impact the outbreak is having on the dance profession. As performances are cancelled across the country, dancers are finding it difficult to find work. Furthermore, dance studios had to shutdown due to mandatory orders and are needing to find creative ways to maintain income, albeit at a very reduced level. One problem that has arised from such crisis is meeting guidelines and restrictions set by grant funding received. In the Dance Magazine article, they discuss how staying informed and notifying your funders will allow for more wiggle room. By showing your plan and that you are put together administratively, funders will understand if deadlines need to be adjusted (Henderson). In addition to issues with funding, organizations have had to increase prices due to COVID-19. The journal, Audience success or art for art’s sake? Efficiency evaluation of dance companies in the United States, discusses that price increases are not “a very operative solution given the policy of setting prices for long periods (seasons) coupled with the possible danger of losing spectators in the medium and long term,” (Barrio-Tellado). The silver lining is that the Pandemic has rallied the dance community to help each other. Associations such as Dance USA are paving the way to help nonprofits succeed in the future. Dance USA has been offering since 2015 a Dance Business Bootcamp. The round table helps dance studios with everything from mission statements to fundraising (USA). Furthermore, they are running an ongoing campaign to make sure studios and organizations are receiving federal aid.
Although there have been many challenges in the dance field due to COVID-19, it has given nonprofits opportunity to become more innovative and creative in their decisions. They are now creating at home performances where viewers either pay- like a ticket cost or have optional donations. This is one way the organizations are able to start making up the lost revenue.
Looking ahead, I am optimistic that the future of dance nonprofits will be nothing short of success. Although these are trying times, if an organization has a supporting donor and continues to operate the way they have been, I have full faith they will stay alive. These nonprofits know who their target audience is and what they have to do to keep customers happy. If they are impacting society for the better, then they are doing a good job. In the future I look forward to analyzing how these organizations bounce back from the pandemic challenges as my career will be extremely effected by their decisions. I believe organizations like SVRDC can perform better by applying for grants and increasing their revenue contributions. This will help offset some of the costs for the organization.
Henderson, G. (2020, April 01). How Dancers and Dance Organizations Can Prepare for the Financial Fallout of COVID-19. Retrieved October 19, 2020, from https://www.dancemagazine.com/coronavirus-financial-impact-2645499604.html?rebelltitem=2
Barrio‐Tellado, M. J., Herrero‐Prieto, L. C., & Murray, C. (2020). Audience success or art for art’s sake ? Efficiency evaluation of dance companies in the United States. Nonprofit Management and Leadership, 31(1), 129-152. doi:10.1002/nml.21411.
USA, D. (n.d.). Dance Business Bootcamp. Retrieved October 19, 2020, from https://www.danceusa.org/dance-business-bootcamp-about