Land of the Free

Land of the Free

America has for years been tagged; land of the free, home of the brave. The truth of that tag line is tested regularly as the country evolves. For better or worse, America remains a young country with an evolving landscape and identity. Relative to cultural arts as part of the fiber of our nation, we have historically done well. American arts leading the way globally, allowing citizens to take pride, pursue careers and succeed. From fashion to architecture, visual arts and performing arts, controversial or emerging studies, classic and modern, American people, American talent, has been passionate, cultivated, recognized, and rewarded. Until today. America is in turmoil. Regardless of what side of any argument one person finds themselves, the fact is that cultural arts are in the throws of enormous challenges. Leadership in America no longer advocates to develop or support the cultural arts as a part of national heritage or education. Cultural arts in America is no longer embedded in the future plans for our “land of the free”. Access to the arts is increasingly unaffordable, inaccessible, privatized, and elitist. It’s likely to get worse. A fact of survival for cultural arts organizations and artists, is an increased need for funding from the private and corporate sectors.   The erosion of funding for the arts has always been a challenge. Today, its simply  catastrophic, a prerequisite for choosing a career in this sector “only brave need apply”. Arts organizations in America are destined to shrink, in many cases rapidly. The future survival of any organization is dependent on shifting business models, new attitudes about revenue generation, and cost of services. This means increased selection of what and who succeeds based on new commercialized standards for business practices. In the land of the free,...
New Year, New Strategy

New Year, New Strategy

Word of the day: Communicate     In most non profit organizations executive leadership is often stretched to the max with day to day operations. Do you ever wonder how often Executive Directors and Executive Board Committee’s take time to review strategic plans? Measuring with some accuracy the effectiveness and successful tracking of these plans? How often are organizations using info graphs to communicate with key stakeholders? The answer, not often enough. Welcome to the new year and ever critical self evaluation time for getting things functionally and organizationally on track. More importantly communicate with your donors and key stakeholders, provide a simple informational graphic. Nothing fancy, a simple set of measures sharing some good news and areas needing increased support. Staff levels Event Attendance Goals New Community Partnerships Program Numbers Grant Awards or Applications This is a sample of what JOE produced for one of our smallest clients (a staff of 4 and less than 500k annual revenues). This info graph became a wonderfully effective communication tool that enabled the organization to increase donations and cultivate new relationships. Tool kits for effective management and marketing should always include pieces that are effective, easy to update, measure and report. The main thing is…communicate early in the calendar year and remember this is a work in progress. And remember…never fear JOE is near. Connect and let the JOE team create something useful…happy New...
Philanthropy Inspired

Philanthropy Inspired

In the competitive world of Museum and Performing Arts it is critical that Ambassadors, Trustees and Board Members understand the relevance of mission, vision, value, innovation versus duplication and redundancy. Education and collective understanding lead to intellectual rewards, better investments and greater commitment levels. In the current nonprofit world Board Members are increasingly expected to be the most active fundraising collective in the organization. Staff supports the Boards ability to play rainmakers. Funding acquired through State and Federal resources are extremely unreliable, unsustainable and competitive. Critical advancement requires financial planning and strategic planning. The Board Member must be prepared for the responsibility and commitment. Ambassadors and Trustees making financial commitments not only are attracted based on relationship development and peer to peer network but also based on education, personal growth and passion. Neglecting the educational and social needs of these financial investors is quickly becoming non-competitive. Research conducted by the Americans for the Arts provided insight into effective Board, Trustee and Ambassador expectations. The surveys also provide specific insight as to who is the most likely to give funding and the expectations of patrons associated to experience. The greatest innovation in accelerating and attracting individual giving was based on providing public access, collaborative arts experiences and the ability to educate through experiential learning; Travel Opportunity and Sponsored Travel associated with social media ambassadors. In the case of most funds raised by Trustees and Board Members it included; Educational Experience, Field Studies, International Cultural Partnerships, Educational Retreats. “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt  purpose The Wall Street...
April in Paris…May, even better

April in Paris…May, even better

  April is unpredictable; the weather in Paris can be lovely; cool and sunny one minute, snowing the next. While we do love the early blossoms of spring, the fact is that many of the blubs and trees are still big in bloom in early – mid May. If we had to pick our favorite time for Paris, when a likely chance of sun, cool night air, not too much rain, will bless our journey…it would be to arrive in early to mid May. The only slight challenge with May is the sheer number of French Holidays…several, and this means closers and prices go up. The French take holidays seriously and observance means that you never know what will be running, open or having a party. May 1 is Labor Day and May Day, a National holiday and some things are closed! Never fear for sightseeing the center of the tourist districts of Paris are bustling. May 5 is Ascension Day, church goers will be in services throughout Paris and many families fill the parks and museums; taking in the spring and often free entry. This is however, a wonderful time to find yourself outside the city! We like to leave the night before a holiday weekend (Wednesday or Thursday) to avoid traffic and drive to the Loire Valley. Exploring the area around le Lion d’Angers is wonderful this time of year!! Chateau des Briottieres http://www.briottieres.com is by far our favorite place to stay. This is a family owned Chateau. The Broittieres family; (all six children) are reviving the property which has been in the family for over six generations and dates back to 1485. If...
Warm Hearts, Cold Days…Paris Perfection!

Warm Hearts, Cold Days…Paris Perfection!

Paris in the winter is a treasure of perfection. Just when the cold outside numbs fingers and toes the performing arts; music, ballet and opera are prime and sensational. Something about being inside warmed by soft light or intimate crowds is cozy and feel so personal. A concert in February at Eglise de la Madeleine. Vivaldi sounds so great in this space…enjoy! The Parisians are very community oriented and in the winter months everything feels warmer, smiles are bigger, crowds smaller and everyone a little more friendly. A long sit in a cafe by a fire is a welcome respite from long walks under grey skies. Hearty rich foods with plenty of red wine will keep your spirit warm and comforted. Try Dining at Le Coupe-Chou in the 5th. Warm fireplace and a cozy meal. This charming ivy covered restaurant is wonderful and charming. Paris is in her winter grey and this is when the light can change to a pale purple hue. Photography is moody and spectacular. If snow falls its white magic mingling with all the golden illuminated street lamps. Visit Versailles on a winter day. The gardens are open and quiet, even free entry at times during the winter…check for scheduled openings. This is the time of year when costs are lowest and travel on a budget reasonable. It is also the time to see Paris as a local, spending plenty of time inside with new friends who effortlessly make you feel welcome like family. Try Eating with Locals in Paris. Cookening the new web based foodie network similar to airbnb will connect you to a...
Expressions of affection à la France

Expressions of affection à la France

Many would argue that the art of love has only been perfected by one culture…the French. There is a reason the capital is nick named “The City of Love”, non? It is no surprise that the holiday of “Saint Valentin” or “Valentine’s Day” is often expressed best with the help of the French!! There is something about receiving gifts from Paris that always will be ridiculously romantic. Get ready to swoon… 1) Parisian Chocolates Whose heart would not skip a beat to be handed a box of chocolate labeled “Paris”. There is no better place to buy bonbons’ than from Debauve & Gallais’ Chocolat, a Parisian confectioneries that date back several generations of perfection in hand made chocolate treats. To make your heart beat just a little faster these chocolates laid out in the official trademark blue, gray, and gold embossed box were handmade exclusively for royalty until finally becoming available to the public in 1913. 2) French Lingerie (That won’t break the bank) Ladies all love a special set of lingerie…it just makes us feel better about the feminine mystique…however, $500 on underwear can be a little much. Fear not… Adoreme.com is here to save the day! Seek out that special something to feel as if you stepped out of a Paris lingerie boutique but not pay the price of one. I promise that whoever sees you in these little beauties won’t know the difference. For the gentleman reading this… shame on you, go get your woman something very expensive and beautiful! I promise you she deserves it!!! 3) Milk Chocolate Tea from Paris For those of you...