The Fund-Raising Machine

If it seems like performing arts groups are forever begging their subscribers and benefactors for money, it’s only because they are. Ticket revenue doesn’t begin to cover the cost of operations for orchestras, theatres, and dance companies, and the rest of the budget must be made up from endowment revenue (if the organization is lucky enough to have an endowment) and annual contributions. Most patrons don’t really understand how the funding mechanism works, but in an era of budget cuts and fiscal crisis in the arts, it is increasingly important for the fund-raising machine to function smoothly and efficiently.