Palm Beach Daily News - - TODAY -

Juno Beach. “For an or­ga­ni­za­tion like ours to have ac­cess to that level of ex­per­tise al­lows us to pull from the best of the best of the non­profit man­age­ment tool box.”

The cen­ter will be joined by the Ann Nor­ton Sculp­ture Gar­dens, the Cen­ter for Cre­ative Ed­u­ca­tion, the His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety of Palm Beach County, the South Florida Sci­ence Cen­ter and Aquar­ium, and Young Singers of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach; the Boca Bal­let Theatre and Boca Ra­ton Mu­seum of Art in Boca Ra­ton; and the Lox­a­hatchee River His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety and Maltz Jupiter Theatre in Jupiter.

Although most are plan­ning cap­i­tal cam­paigns, some are fo­cus­ing on en­dow­ments or a com­bi­na­tion of the two.

The train­ing, which is un­der­writ­ten by the Don­ald M. Ephraim Cul­tural Lead­er­ship Fund and Suzanne Nied­land, will be­gin Sept. 24 at the coun­cil’s head­quar­ters in Lake Worth.

With so many or­ga­ni­za­tions on the hunt for sup­port, the com­pe­ti­tion is likely to be fierce. Among the heavy hit­ters in the fray are the Nor­ton Mu­seum, which has sur­passed its $100 mil­lion goal for its ex­pan­sion, and the Kravis Cen­ter, which is rais­ing $50 mil­lion for park­ing, traf­fic flow, street-front, lobby and other im­prove­ments.

“In an en­vi­ron­ment with am­ple but fi­nite re­sources there is a ques­tion about how mul­ti­ple ma­jor cam­paigns will fare si­mul­ta­ne­ously,” said Brett Egan, pres­i­dent of the DeVos In­sti­tute.

But that’s not all, he said. “The other part of the story is th­ese are or­ga­ni­za­tions that want to do big things. With­out money, they won’t be able to and they will stag­nate.”

Re­cent ef­forts to tap the pub­lic font fiz­zled. Cul­tural projects were barred from the 2016 ref­er­en­dum that raised the county’s sales tax by a penny. Ear­lier this year, a coali­tion of cul­tural groups aban­doned an ef­fort to put a county bond is­sue on the Novem­ber bal­lot.

Cul­tural groups are re­spond­ing to the county’s boom­ing pop­u­la­tion growth, Lighton said. “Or­ga­ni­za­tions like Loggerhead aren’t just grow­ing to grow.”

Loggerhead has raised about 70 per­cent of the $14 mil­lion needed to fi­nance an ex­pan­sion that will in­crease its foot­print by 129 per­cent and add hos­pi­tal, ex­hibit, class­room, re­tail and re­search lab­o­ra­tory space.

It’s look­ing for guid­ance that will not only help it raise the rest of the money but also po­si­tion it to gen­er­ate the in­come needed to sup­port a big­ger fa­cil­ity.

The sci­ence cen­ter is re­fin­ing plans for a $35 mil­lion cam­paign.

“This will be a good op­por­tu­nity to test our as­sump­tions against other re­al­i­ties and make sure we’ve thought of every­thing we need to do in terms of how we’re go­ing to raise the money and ex­e­cute this project,” Pres­i­dent Lew Cramp­ton said.

More mod­estly, Young Singers of the Palm Beaches as­pires to fat­ten its mea­ger $50,000 en­dow­ment, CEO Beth Clark said.

One of the most com­mon mis­takes groups en­gaged in game-chang­ing cam­paigns make is fail­ing to pre­pare to si­mul­ta­ne­ously raise money for op­er­at­ing costs, Egan said. That can lead to staff and board burnout. It can also bleed the an­nual cam­paign of sup­port.

“You can’t go to the same peo­ple year af­ter year for an­nual sup­port and cat­alytic sup­port, and ex­pect the cul­tural sec­tor to flour­ish,” he said. “We have to ex­pand sup­port.”

That’s been a sticky prob­lem for the cul­tural sec­tor as a whole.

“At a na­tional level, we’re in the fight of our lives for rel­e­vance,” Egan said.

To re­tain ex­ist­ing sup­port and ex­pand their bases, groups must pro­vide ex­cit­ing pro­gram­ming tai­lored to com­mu­nity needs through­out the cam­paign and be­yond, he said.

In ad­di­tion, they must craft ar­gu­ments that will per­suade peo­ple who haven’t sup­ported them be­fore that their or­ga­ni­za­tions’ work mat­ters, he said.

That’s a skill the groups are ea­ger to learn. If they can do that, the big num­bers might be achiev­able af­ter all.

Photo by Dean Alexan­der

DeVos In­sti­tute Pres­i­dent Brett Egan: Groups plan­ning growth must also mind op­er­a­tional fundrais­ing.


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