Monday, January 31, 2005

The Change in Seasons

While we wait for the final 2005-2006 Season announcement, I thought I'd give you a little glimpse into how non-profits work.

Back in the days when I performed in 42nd St. Moon shows the season mirrored the calendar year. This was always slightly unusual; it's true that most theatres do a Fall-Spring season, with summers often dark to make way for the Shakespeare Festivals, mountain plays and other summer-related performances.

I asked Managing Director Lauren Hewitt why 42nd St. Moon decided to join the majority and shift to a fiscal year season, rather than calendar year. I mean why would an arts organization mirror financial organizations?

Not surprisingly, the answer, even in the non-profit world, does pertain to money.

Per Lauren:

"Most non-profits and arts orgs have a fiscal year rather than calendar July 1-June 30. All foundations fund on that cycle. Therefore, the physical calendar was much harder to manage due to cash flow issues. Budgeting on both fundraising and consumer side just wasn't as easy."

Actually this reminds me of my other life in high tech marketing'd try to catch decision makers before they had created annual budgets for the following year. Sure, sometimes room can be made to add some fantastic new expense to the budget after it's been approved. But it's so much better to have a budget made with your product, service, etc. already in mind.

Lauren actually got her graduate degree in arts administration, and it certainly is a big boon to 42nd St. Moon artistic directors Greg and Stephanie to have someone working with them who actually chose to go into the business side of art!

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