Making Donor Dollars Stretch and Perform Miracles

From Diane Ragsdale on her Jumper blog:

While it may make everyone feel better in the short term is it possible this tendency to make it appear that donor gifts (large and small) can accomplish far more than is realistic has long term negative impacts on the organization and its relationship with its donors and the community-at-large? Is it possible we avoid telling the real truth because we don’t want to confront or invite others to look to closely at the total cost of ownership of our buildings, or the real costs of running our institutions and particular programs, or how much and how little (relatively speaking) is spent on various areas of operation and resources?

And on the other side of the table, it’s been more than a year since the lengthy discourse emerging out of GIA on under- and mis-capitalization of arts organizations. As we head into 2012, I’m curious whether the climate is changing and funders or individual donors (two different animals, I know) are more willing to support costs like debt service, deficits, cash reserves, sinking funds, or general operating?

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