2013 Annual Report
External Relations, Policy and Community Engagement
In January 2013, the Cultural Alliance launched GroundSwell, a new community engagement initiative designed to build a broader grassroots network of supporters and advocates. GroundSwell operates under the belief that there is no such thing as a single-issue citizen, and making real, lasting change requires mobilizing people and organizations across a host of issues, including arts and culture, libraries, parks and public spaces. With GroundSwell, in FY13 the Alliance grew its online advocacy list by over 2,000, and mobilized supporters through actions such as a musical instrument drive for Musicopia, cleaning up Clark Park during Love Your Park Week, and a petition to increase funding for the Philadelphia Cultural Fund.
We also continued our community outreach work as a regional partner for the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, distributing Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts (PPA) Project Stream and Program Stream grants. In FY13, 145 organizations received a combined $343,143.
The Alliance has not, however, abandoned its grasstops policy and advocacy efforts. Throughout the year, we made trips to Harrisburg, and in February 2013, the Alliance helped to establish the first-ever bipartisan and bicameral Arts & Cultural Caucus of the Pennsylvania General Assembly. By the end of FY13, 77 legislators (30% of the entire legislature) had joined the caucus, and we were pleased to see level funding for the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and a new line item added for the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission in the FY2013-14 state budget.
In an effort to help diversify our revenue base and rely less on institutional and government funding, in the spring we launched the Cultural Cabinet. These influential individuals have an interest in shaping and implementing the Cultural Alliance’s policy and advocacy strategies, and are committed to financially supporting the Alliance with a gift of $1,000 or more. At the end of FY13, there were over 40 members representing various corporate, cultural and civic organizations throughout the region.
Marketing, Research & Communications
FY13 was a successful year for the Alliance’s consumer marketing. Phillyfunguide attracted over 136,000 unique visits per month; listed over 27,600 arts and cultural events; and involves 17 community, cultural, media and tourism partners. The big story from FY13 consumer marketing, though, is Funsavers. With growing competition for discount ticketing in our region, the Alliance spent significant time considering whether to sell the program to a for-profit organization or maintain it in-house. In the end, we decided to keep the program in-house and work towards making Funsavers self-sustaining, which allows us to better serve our members by giving them complete access to their patron information and better reporting. A slight ticket fee (one of the lowest in the market) also provides a new earned revenue stream for the Cultural Alliance. With 105,000+ subscribers, 880+ offers, and 37,000 tickets sold in FY13, we are confident in Funsavers’ future.
In research, we released the second edition of Arts, Culture and Economic Prosperity in Greater Philadelphia in September 2012. The report was based on data collected from 345 arts and cultural organizations, and provided compelling evidence that the sector is a significant economic driver for our region. Key findings revealed that the sector is pumping $3.3 billion into local economies through jobs (44,000 FTE jobs) and tax revenues ($169 million in state and local taxes). Philadelphia’s cultural sector is also outperforming the national as a whole in job creation (first in the nation) and per–capita cultural spending (second in the nation). These dollars ripple through our communities, driving our economy, revitalizing neighborhoods and strengthening our communities.
The Alliance is committed to disseminating marketing tools and best practices for our sector, and in that spirit, in FY13 we re-branded the Philadelphia Cultural List Cooperative (one of the largest cooperative mailing list programs in the country) as Audience Analytics. The redesigned program transforms the list co-op into a strategic audience development tool that helps arts and cultural organizations understand their current audiences through custom reports, and gain insight and access to new audiences with an open-access upload wizard.
The Alliance also continued its commitment to delivering quality events and professional development opportunities in FY13. In April 2013, we hosted the Association of Performing Arts Service Organizations (APASO) annual conference, which brought together 72 leaders from across the US for 2 days to discuss the theme: “What is the future of arts service organizations?” In February 2013, we convened the sector for a “Plotting the Future of Cultural Journalism” panel discussion in response to the Philadelphia Inquirer’s shifting priorities regarding cultural journalism. In total, 11 professional development events were presented to 849 constituents over the course of the year.
Finance, Administration and Membership
The Alliance served 408 member organizations in FY13, ranging from museums and dance companies to community art centers, historic sites, music ensembles and zoos.
In September 2012, our members, staff, board and funders gathered at the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts for our 2012 Annual Membership Meeting & Reception. The highlight of this year’s meeting was a presentation of the 2012 Prosperity report.
We introduced two major new benefits to our members this year: Donor Analytics, where we offered our members a subsidized year-long subscription to the donor prospect tool WealthEngine, as well as quarterly user group meetings; and discounted rates to professional development and networking events through our partnership with the Association of Fundraising Professionals–Greater Philadelphia Chapter (AFP).
For financial statements from FY13, click here.