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