Ten Work Items for 2011, Task #4

This one will be no surprise to readers of this blog.  Let’s really work on exploring and then considering organizational designs other than the 501c3.  Yes, the 501c3 offers a number of seductive characteristics, but it is also expensive to operate, cumbersome administratively and has the potential to become insular. 

Organizational design, as well as administrative design should be built to best move a mission forward.  Current arts innovators don’t even think that there may be alternative organizational and administrative models.  They immediately assume that forming a 501c3 is the answer to their needs. 

The argument to form a 501c3 seems to always center or revert to the tax deductibility of donations.  Tax deductibility appears to become increasingly important as the size of gift increases.  For organizations seeking small and medium-sized gifts, tax deductibility is of minor consequence.  Check out (www.kickstarter.com) to experience an alternative to “traditional” giving!

So, for new arts ventures:  STOP and think before immediately forming a 501c3.  Check out alternatives (many outlined in my former blog entries), then make a decision.  For existing arts ventures:  THINK about it.  Maybe you are losing the game because of your organizational design. 

About the author

James Undercofler

Jim has been a Professor at Drexel University since May, 2009. His previous appointment - since August, 2007 - was as the President and CEO of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Jim was Dean of the Eastman School of Music from 1997 to 2007. He has played a prominent role in musical arts and music education throughout his career. Before joining Eastman in 1995 as associate director for academic affairs and professor of music education, he was an active, performing chamber musician as well as first horn in the New Haven Symphony. Jim serves as board president, American Music Center; advisory board member, Arts Education Policy Review; board member, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, New York State Association of College Music Programs and American Symphony Orchestra League, and is a founding member, NETWORK of Performing and Visual Arts Schools and Mercury Opera of Rochester.

Read James Undercofler's blog [l=http://web.esm.rochester.edu/poly/blog/author/junder/]here[/l].

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