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Resources & Insights

How does an organization establish a clear identity while serving multiple communities?

Jessica Robinson Love, Senior Director at Arabella Advisor, talks about the challenges of serving diverse communities.

What do the international protest movements mean for cultural institutions?

Basma El Husseiny, managing director of Culture Resource (Al Mawred Al Thaqafy) in Egypt, suggests that the protests movements at their core have been about dissatisfaction with current institutions and wonders what that means for arts and culture institutions.

What should a leader consider when approaching change?

Jana La Sorte, Founder & Creative Director of Ambassadora, discusses the importance of being upfront an open about what the change will mean for the organization.

Empathy Map

This lesson, developed by NAS in partnership with Suzi Sosa, Co-Founder and CEO of Verb, will walk you through a process to help you understand the circumstances and needs of the client.

Brainstorming Effectively

Brainstorming can be a powerful tool to help your team effectively generate ideas. In the Design Thinking process, it is used in the Ideation phase – after you have gathered information about the people you want to serve and are ready to formulate ideas on how to best address the problem at hand. As with any tool, how it is applied can make all the difference. Brainstorming can lead to mixed results, however we suggest that leading a group through this distinct process will yield the best outcome.

How should cultural institutions approach change?

Aaron Dworkin, Dean of the School of Music, Theatre & Dance at the University of Michigan, discusses the importance of thinking about oneself as a social entrepreneur rather than an arts administrator.

How should cultural institutions approach visitor engagement?

Nina Simon, Executive Director of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History, talks about how her organization invites people to engage.

How do cultural institutions invite interaction in a way that protects exhibitions?

Nina Simon, Executive Director of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History, discusses how the museum cultivates a balance between increased participation and stewardship.

Bright Spots Leadership in the Pacific Northwest

This is a report from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation about arts nonprofits in the Pacific Northwest that are thriving during these difficult economic times.

Building Communities, Not Audiences: The Future of the Arts in the U.S.

Doug Borwick of the popular ArtsJournal blog Engaging Matters has released a new book, Building Communities,…

Reinventing a Museum as a Community Organization

How the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History’s financial crisis enabled them to take risks and explore a new model that would help them garner support and build relationships

How do you connect a local community to a global event?

The London Olympics present enormous opportunities – as well as some challenges – for local youths. Steve Moffitt, CEO of A New Direction in London, describes how he and his team have worked to localize and truly global event.

Local Faces: D.C.’s Local and National Art Scene

A panel conversation exploring the unique challenges and opportunities that local arts organizations and artists face when sharing a city with national museums.

Can brainstorming be an effective tool in building a culture of collaboration and innovation?

Sutton and Hargadon examine how and why an organization, in this case, IDEO, uses brainstorming sessions. They’ve modified the criteria in Hackman’s effectiveness model to include three factors to consider when using brainstorming as a significant process in your organization.

In Defense of Logic Models

There has been a great deal of conversation, debate (and informational video) around logic models…

Creating a Sustainable Management System

After years of incremental efforts to reduce energy use and be more sustainable, the Denver Zoo decided to take a more strategic approach.

Collective Impact

As in other nonprofit sectors, most energy and resource in our sector is focused on…

Brainstorming Effectively

An homage to instructional films of the late 1950s, this tongue-in-cheek short by the NAS team looks at the trials and tribulations of running a brainstorming meeting and outlines some useful techniques.

The New Nature of Money

Changes in the environment – economic, demographic and social – may challenge the health of…

How is social media changing your definition of community?

Sean Malone, President and CEO of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, discusses his connection to the San Francisco Ballet despite never having seen them in person.

Shut Up and Take My Money: Fans Should Hire Artists

We’ve been having some interesting discussions with cultural leaders about the relevance of cultural organizations…

Design Thinking Isn’t a Miracle Cure, but Here’s How It Helps

With that helpful and perhaps needed disclaimer out of the way, writer/designer/consultant Helen Waters pens…

Charities’ Zero-Sum Filing Game

The minimalist ratings of nonprofit organizations, using overhead and fundraising ratios, are deeply flawed. Are…

What is Design Thinking?

Suzi Sosa, Co-Founder and CEO of Verb, explains the concept of Design Thinking.

How do cultural institutions, particularly established ones, use Design Thinking?

Suzi Sosa, Co-Founder and CEO of Verb, talks about peeling away all the layers to get to the essence of your organization’s mission.

How can leaders balance bold leadership and crowdsourcing?

Suzi Sosa, Co-Founder and CEO of Verb, suggests that organizations can get information from their customers to inform programming without giving away the ability to make their own programming choices.

How should cultural organizations approach budgeting?

Michael Granof, a professor of accounting at the University of Texas at Austin, talks about the importance of relating dollars to objectives.

How should cultural organizations evaluate costs?

Michael Granof, a professor of accounting at the University of Texas at Austin, suggests that when making program decisions the only costs that really matter are those that will change as a result of the decision.

What are some common pitfalls to avoid when contracting out?

Michael Granof, a professor of accounting at the University of Texas at Austin, talks about the behavior of costs and the importance of clearly defining the activity to be outsourced.

What is a Logic Model?

Peter Frumkin, a Professor of Social Policy and Faculty Director of the Center for Social Impact Strategy, both at the University of Pennsylvania, explains the concept of logic models and how cultural organizations might use them.

How should cultural institutions approach the challenge of sustainability?

Peter Frumkin, a Professor of Social Policy and Faculty Director of the Center for Social Impact Strategy, both at the University of Pennsylvania, suggests that arts and culture organizations must develop flexible financial models.

How does the need for flexibility impact programming decisions?

Peter Frumkin, a Professor of Social Policy and Faculty Director of the Center for Social Impact Strategy, both at the University of Pennsylvania, talks about classifying all the things you do in terms of the financial and social return.

How should arts and culture organizations look at measuring their effectiveness?

Peter Frumkin, a Professor of Social Policy and Faculty Director of the Center for Social Impact Strategy, both at the University of Pennsylvania, discusses the importance of measuring multiple dimensions of organizational performance.

Putting the community in control of programming

A startup company, Tugg, has an interesting take on allowing the community to “pull-through” programming…

Michael Norton: How to buy happiness

How would the world be different if we could get all of our donors to…

Guthrie Theater’s debt to women and diversity

Do nonprofit cultural organizations have a particular responsibility to reach into and represent all parts of the community?  Does the benefit of nonprofit status require us to take more risks than commercial theatre?

What is your approach to succession planning?

George Sparks, President and CEO of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, stresses the importance of creating a sustainable system that cultivates leaders.

How have you engaged your staff to cultivate new leaders?

George Sparks, President and CEO of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, talks about the executive’s role in helping staff members create a plan for the future.

What advice would you give to leaders thinking about succession planning?

George Sparks, President and CEO of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, suggests that leaders hire people who will push them and to openly discuss their plans for the future.

Is Opera a Sustainable Art Form?

Diane Ragsdale shares an excerpt from her keynote address on the topic, “Is Opera a Sustainable Art Form?” from the Opera Europa conference in February.

Defining Values: A training for developing new opportunities for uncertain futures

In October 2011, three senior arts and education practitioners brought together 40 participants from 15 organizations in the UK to address practical and effective ways to strengthen the real value of the arts, thereby sustaining their varied revenue streams.

3 Ways To Predict What Consumers Want Before They Know It

This brief article from Scott Anthony, of Innosight and the author of The Little Black Book Of Innovation: How It Works, How to Do It, looks at consumer needs and innovation opportunities.

Where Good Ideas Come From

Everyone is looking for ways to be more creative and make organizations more innovative. In…

The human factor in service design

“The human factor in service design” discusses the importance of understanding what truly motivates your…

What does sustainability mean for arts and culture organizations?

Laura Zabel, Executive Director of Springboard for the Arts, suggests that an organization is simply a tool in service of the mission.

Why are we still so compelled to experience live performance?

We’ve all heard about the TED videos, but there’s also a section of the TED…

How do cultural institutions, particularly established ones, manage change?

Horst Abraham suggests that organizations must be able to reinvent themselves at the pace of the change around them.

Building a New American Theater of the Commons

In “Building a New American Theater of the Commons,” Polly Carl and Vijay Matthew of…

What does competition mean for nonprofit cultural organizations?

Anne Pasternak, President and Artistic Director of Creative Time, suggests that thinking about competition on a more global scale brings greater opportunities.

How has your organization reacted to changes in the competitive landscape?

Kim Sajet, President and CEO of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, talks about her organization’s decision to give away its three-dimensional objects.