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Z arts case study


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A case study for my Fund Development Class, I analyzed the current fundraising situation at Zion Canyon Arts and Humanities Council and made recommendations. This included preparation of a new Annual Letter for this organization.

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Z arts case study

  1. 1. AA 6060 - FUND DEVELOPMENT Zion CanyonArts & Humanities Council Jean Krause Spring 2015 Fundraising Case Study Report! 1
  2. 2. TABLE OF CONTENTS part One! 3 I. Mission, Image, & Case for Support! 4 II. Human Resources! 7 III. Financial Profile! 9 IV. OrganizationActivities and Donor Programs! 12 V. Planning and Evaluation! 15 Concluding Remarks! 16 part Two! 17 I. Mission, Image & Case for Support! 17 II. Human Resources! 17 III. Financial Profile! 18 IV. OrganizationActivities & Donor Programs! 18 V. Planning, Evaluation, andAccountability! 20 Fundraising Case Study Report! 2
  3. 3. PART ONE Description,Analysis,Assessment The Zion Canyon Arts & Humanities Council (Z-Arts hereafter) is the oldest rural arts and humanities council in the state of Utah. Located in Springdale, Utah, the gateway commu- nity for Zion National Park, Z-Arts is now in its 37th year of operation. For most of its 37 year history since its founding in 1978, Z-Arts has been managed by local artists and the bulk of its funding has come from members digging into their own pockets to make events hap- pen. Z-Arts formally incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation in 1988, but still continued without any formal fundraising procedures until twenty years later in 2009 when they sent out their very first annual appeal letter. Z-Arts Boards operates with five-year Strategic Plans. The most recent reassessment took place throughout the Fall of 2012, concluded in February 2013, and resulted in the current 2013 - 2017 Strategic Plan. As part of this process, the Z-Arts Board members redrafted their mission and vision statements, performed a SWOT analysis of the organization, set goals and objectives for the organization with regard to financial sustainability, program of- ferings, internal organizational structure, external relationships, and marketing, and lastly, set forth an action plan for 2014 to implement these goals and objectives. Z-Arts has evolved far beyond the organization envisioned by it founders in 1978. Originally envisioned as a way for local artists to get together, talk about art, put on little art events for children, and art events for adults, Z-Arts now has Chairpersons for each of five fields each of whom is responsible for creating a schedule of events for that field. Z-Arts also has had coordinators responsible for workshops and an arts & crafts fair. All of this takes money, and it is time for the next step in Z-Arts’s evolutionary process. Thirty years after its found- ing and twenty years after its incorporation, Z-Arts took steps to create strategic plans for its future, reassess how it is doing every five years, and implement a regular fundraising scheme. Hopefully this case study will provide Z-Arts with some guidance to help improve future fundraising. This study is broken down into two major parts, The first part of the study describes, ana- lyzes, and assesses the Z-Arts organization with respect to five factors. The second part makes recommendations for improvement to each of the five factors. The goal of this study is to help Z-Arts improve its fundraising activities, which are still in their infancy, and layout some roadmaps to get there. Fundraising Case Study Report! 3
  4. 4. I. Mission, Image, & Case for Support A. Mission, Values, Vision As indicated above, the Z-Arts Board revised its mission and vision statements as part of its Strategic Plan workshops in 2012-2013. “A vision is a clear statement of the world the non- profit wants to see; a mission statement maps out how the nonprofit intends to to make that world a reality.” (Sargeant and Shang, p. 116) Applying these definitions, the mission and vi- sion statements of Z-Arts do not comply at all. The Z-Arts vision statement says, “Our vision of our future in five years is . . . 1. To remain fiscally responsible and sustainable. 2. To identify and strengthen funding sources (grants, donations, memberships) 3. To explore new and fresh Z-Arts projects where we might take a larger risk in an- ticipation of broadening our audience base 4. To continue to provide quality programming 5. To continue our focus and scope in the Zion Canyon Community 6. To enhance the Canyon Community Center for our current disciplines 7. To enhance the educational components of events. The Z-Arts mission statement reads as follows, “The Mission of Zion Canyon Arts and Humanities Council (Z-Arts) is to en- courage the availability of the arts and humanities, and cultivate a climate of creativity and learning for the Zion Canyon communities of Springdale, Rockville, and Virgin.” These two statement say nothing about the vision Z-Arts has for the world and itself in it. Instead the vision statement reads like a goals statement, while the mission statement is bland and gives the Z-Arts fundraising team almost nothing to work with. The mission and vision statements of non-profits need to mesh together in a way that frames fundraising ef- forts for the non-profit and builds a case for a potential donor to support the organization. That does not happen here. A Z-Arts fundraiser would be hard pressed to come up with a 30-second elevator speech if this is what they have to work with. Improvement is needed. The vision statement is on the Z-Arts website, but it is buried on the last page of a drop- down list of items at the far right of main webpage. A better solution would be for Z-Arts to feature their mission and vision statements on the front page of their website, after they Fundraising Case Study Report! 4
  5. 5. have been revised to comply with recommendations. A better mission and vision statement might be something like this: Vision: Z-Arts envisions a society in which people enjoy all the richness that the arts and humanities contribute to human life, to understand what it means to be human. To laugh, to cry, to think, to understand, to be aware of our failings, to be aware of our achievements; that is what it means to be human. Mission: To promote the arts and humanities in Zion Canyon, both to our residents and to our visitors, through literary, visual, and performing art events throughout the year, to show that while we may be a small, isolated community, we know and appre- ciate what it means to be human in this increasingly technological world. Besides featuring the revised mission and vision statements on the front page of the Z-Arts website, these statements should also be on each newsletter, on grant applications, and on fundraising brochures, letters, etc. The mission and vision statements of non-profits should be the first impression made on potential donors and should be designed to generate a de- sire to know more on the part of the potential donor. Z-Arts has a lot of work to do in this regard. B. Image of Organization - Local, Regional, and Beyond Z-Arts is fairly involved in the Zion Canyon community. The Canyon Community Center in Springdale was built partly to provide a home for Z-Arts. A Z-Arts representative attends Springdale’s Town Council meetings to report on Z-Arts events, status, etc. Z-Arts sponsors musicians who play at the Farmer’s Market every weekend in Springdale for the 7 months that the Farmer’s Market is in operation, sponsors one of the stages for musicians at the an- nual Springdale Music Festival, and sponsors various events around Springdale during the major holidays. Until last year, Z-Arts had not sponsored any events that occur in Rockville and Virgin, towns that are considered part of its target audience. Z-Arts should investigate to see if there are any activities in these towns that they could sponsor. Since Springdale is now largely a town devoted to tourism, the Chamber of Commerce consists of the hotels, restaurants, and trinket shops in Springdale. Z-Arts is not part of the Springdale Chamber of Commerce, nor part of the Lions or Rotary Clubs. Z-Arts should investigate these or- ganizations as an opportunity to advance their image and gain support. Z-Arts does not have much of an image beyond its local area, although the Utah Arts & Mu- seums and the Utah Humanities Council is well aware of Z-Arts. The local newspaper, the Spectrum, is located in St. George, Utah, about 55 miles away. Although The Spectrum tries to cover news of interest over all of Washington County (it is the only newspaper in Wash- ington County), it only knows to report Z-Arts events if Z-Arts provides the newspaper with Fundraising Case Study Report! 5
  6. 6. the necessary information. In the past Z-Arts had a Board member devoted to marketing, but eliminated that position as part of the Strategic Plan reassessment a few years ago. In- dividual program chairs now bear the responsibility for marketing their own events. As a result information regarding Z-Arts rarely makes it into the paper and there have been very few attendees from outside the Zion Canyon at recent Z-Arts events. The question Z-Arts needs to ask itself is whether they care about their image beyond Zion Canyon. After all, their mission statements limits them to Zion Canyon. At the present time Z-Arts makes poor use of its website. The Z-Arts website was really ru- dimentary until a few years ago. As part of its recent Strategic Plan reassessment, the web- site was updated to its present form, a huge improvement over the previous version of its website. However, it is time to improve the website still more. Websites should be analyzed regularly and updated every few years to keep the website from becoming stale. The Z-Arts website has become stale and it needs attention. The Z-Arts image and brand need to be better developed, the re-vamped mission and vision statements should be placed front and center on the main webpage, as well as information for donating to Z-Arts. For an organiza- tion that has survived in a rural, isolated setting for 37 years, there is no reason that Z-Arts should not continue to thrive for years to come. The current Board should take the findings in this fundraising case study as a challenge and implement some of the recommendations. It will help build a case for support of the organization and probably increase donations sig- nificantly. C. Case for Support As Sargeant and Shang explain, the case for support “is the general argument for why a non- profit deserves gift support.” “Nonprofits raise money to meet large community needs...and the case for support flows from defining those needs and how the organization will meet them.” (Sargeant and Shang, p. 189) This is quite an involved process that ultimately results in a case expression that tells the nonprofit’s story to potentially interested parties. The nonprofit’s brochures, foundation proposals, direct mail letters, website pages, campaign letters, newsletters, speeches, etc. should all refer to the case expression that comes out of the case or support. (Sargeant and Shang, p. 194) Z-Arts has neither articulated a clear case for support in its fundraising materials nor on its website. The only fundraising material that Z-Arts creates at this time is the annual appeal letter and the “Join Z-Arts” page on its website. Z-Arts has always been able to meet its fi- nancial needs because of the relatively small projects that it puts on. However, since Z-Arts has grown far beyond what its creators envisioned, Z-Arts needs to now create a Case for Support document and pursue its use in its fundraising materials. Fundraising Case Study Report! 6
  7. 7. The website does not make clear all the different levels of support at which a donor can give. For Membership there are categories of Student ($10.00), Individual ($20.00), Family ($40.00), and Business ($100.00). There are also different Sponsor donation categories of Patron, Benefactor, and Enthusiast, but there is no indication what amount of giving is nec- essary to reach Patron, Benefactor, or Enthusiast level. In fact, on the “Join Z-Arts” page there is not even a giving category available for the Patron, Benefactor, or Enthusiast. Yet, there is then a webpage listing the names of those businesses, families, or individuals who are Patrons, Benefactors, and Enthusiasts. This is definitely a point for clarification. The sponsor page on the Z-Arts website makes clear that Z-Arts receives support from indi- viduals, families, businesses (corporations) in the local area, as well as grants obtained from state arts councils. An annual appeal letter and an annual gala are the only sources of sup- port for Z-Arts outside of the grants that they began to apply for thirteen years ago. At the present time Z-Arts receives 64% of its unearned income from the annual appeal and gala and 36% from grants. Z-Arts only began to apply for grants in the past thirteen years and has been very successful so far. However, Z-Arts has not received support from any corporate or foundation grants, government grants, or corporate sponsorship. It may very well be that Z-Arts has never sought these last forms of support. Z-Arts has every intention of exploring other sources of support for their organization, and this may be the direction that they go. But grants and donations from larger entities outside of Zion Canyon will require the development of a formal Case for Support, and the publication of an Annual Report, something Z-Arts has not done to date. A Case for Support and an Annual Report are recommended. II. Human Resources A. Board The Z-Arts Board consists of three Presidents - - Past, Present, and Incoming - - the treas- urer, and the five program chairs - - Literary Arts, Visual Arts, Performing Arts, Film, and Humanities. The Executive Board consists of the three Presidents and the Treasurer. Z-Arts does not expect all of its Board members to participate in the getting of gifts or sponsorships for the organization. That duty falls largely on the shoulders of the Executive Board. 100% of the Board members are paid members of Z-Arts who renew their member- ship each year. Some Board members donate more than the membership amount, but there is no onus placed on the Board members to do so. However, over the past five years, the trend in donations over and above the suggested membership amount has increased from both Board members and Z-Arts members in general. Fundraising Case Study Report! 7
  8. 8. Since it only began formal fundraising six years ago, Z-Arts is still in its infancy with regard to fundraising, relatively speaking. The Board members have no training with regard to fundraising and the solicitation of gifts to the organization, and no consultants have been used to date, but Z-Arts has done very well so far given these limitations. Z-Arts joined the Utah Non-Profits Association a few months ago and learned for the first time about ethical guidelines and donor rights guidelines for the non-profit industry. At its February 2015 re- treat, the President presented these guidelines to the rest of the Board and advised that the intent is to follow these guideline in the future. To date they have no experience with trying to implement these ethical concepts with regard to fundraising. This will be assessed when they review their Strategic Plan again two years from now. Since the Executive Board bears the responsibility for fundraising, they likewise bear the burden of putting together the Annual Gala, which was only initiated in 2011. Z-Arts had been holding annual Christmas parties for years, but these were not for fundraising purposes then. Last year’s Gala, which was Z-Arts’s 4th Gala, included a silent auction for the first time and raised more money than any previous Z-Arts Gala. Z-Arts was so pleased with the result of this recent Gala, that they plan to do a silent auction again. In addition to auction items donated by surrounding businesses and Z-Arts members, Board members will also do- nate items for this year’s silent auction to hopefully generate excitement about the event. A new Board member in the form of a Development/Fundraising Officer should be considered by Z-Arts. B. Staff Z-Arts has been very fortunate with regard to their one and only paid staff member. Z-arts operated on an all volunteer basis until July 2009 when Z-Arts hired Vicki Bell. Ms. Bell and her husband retired to the Zion Canyon area from Northern Utah where they both worked in the non-profit field for over 25 years. After one year as a paid staff member, Z-Arts had no money to continue this paid position; Ms. Bell then filled in a volunteer position on the Board as VP - Operations position doing exactly the same duties for one year. Thereafter Z-Arts obtained an operations grant and Ms. Bell has continued as the paid staff member since 2011. Although she has not received any formal training in fundraising, development, major gifts, etc., Ms. Bell’s 25 years of experience in the non-profit world provided her with enough on-the-job training to give some guidance to Z-Arts in both fundraising and grant writing. However, Z-Arts has not sent Ms. Bell to any specialized workshops in fundraising fields, grant writing, or use of software for fundraising purposes and she does not consider herself an expert in this field at all. The current staff person has enough on her plate at this time just doing ordinary day-to-day operations of Z-Arts that additional staff, paid or unpaid, will eventually be necessary for Fundraising Case Study Report! 8
  9. 9. any further fundraising efforts that Z-Arts might like to make beyond the appeal letter and the Gala. Quotas, fundraising goals, major gifts, corporate and foundation relations, and sponsorships are not on Z-Arts’s immediate horizon, but certainly can be, if Z-Arts contin- ues on the same trajectory that it has been on to date. Out of its 37 year history, Z-Arts is only in its seventh year with a formal paid staff member, seventh year of formal fundraising with the annual appeal, and in its fifth year with the Annual Gala. If it is to continue on this trajectory, then Z-Arts now needs to pursue formal fundraising training for its Board mem- bers, consideration of hiring another staff person devoted to fundraising, and consideration of purchasing fundraising software to assist in this area. C. Volunteers Although Z-Arts is virtually an all-volunteer organization with the exception of its one and only paid staff member, there are no volunteer Guild or Friends groups in the area to sup- port Z-Arts with regard to fundraising efforts, etc. There are many ex-Z-Arts Board mem- bers still residing in the area that could possibly be called upon to assist in the creation of a Guild. However, Z-Arts will have to expand its programmatic offerings and fundraising ef- forts before such a Guild would be needed. Because Zion Canyon is a small community, many of its residents have served on the Z-Arts Board and they have gotten burned out after serving too long. Long vacations from Z-Arts events has become common practice among ex-Board members, although they continue to be paying members. A Guild group could serve to keep former Board members involved, but on a level that does not require quite the level of commitment and responsibility as that of a Board member. A volunteer coordinator was suggested for Z-Arts as part of the last Strategic Plan reassessment, but has not been explored to date. If Z-Arts can locate a volun- teer coordinator, that person can follow-up on the creation of a Guild at the appropriate time. III. Financial Profile A. Fiscal Accountability Z-Arts really shines when it comes to fiscal accountability. Although Z-Arts has a tiny budget, that budget is exceptionally well managed. The Board reviews the budget and the financial statement at every Board meeting, as well as the quarterly financial documents at the appropriate meetings. These documents are then posted in the private portion of the Z- Arts website for Board members to review when necessary. Z-Arts carries no debt and never has. As laid out below under the heading “Income Pat- terns” it is clear that Z-Arts has exceptional financial management skills. Any donor can feel Fundraising Case Study Report! 9
  10. 10. confident that their donation to Z-Arts will not be wasted. There is excellent documenta- tion that donations are indeed spent on events. Z-Arts has received a large operations grant from the Utah Arts & Museums for the past couple of years, and this has helped pay the administrative costs so that donations can be spent on events. As Sargeant and Shang point out, fundraising benchmarks used in the nonprofit industry are quite arbitrary. For example, Z-Arts’s FACE ratio, the ratio of fundraising costs plus admin- istrative costs against total expenses puts Z-arts outside the high end of acceptable fundrais- ing costs which are anywhere between 10% - 30%. For the 2014 fiscal year total expenses were $25,294.00, while fundraising plus administrative expenses came to $11,382. So the Z- Arts FACE ratio for 2014 was 45%. So far in the 2015 fiscal year, the FACE ratio is 41% Unacceptable according to industry standards. But if Z-Arts’s fundraising expense are analyzed using Return on Investment, the figures show a great return on fundraising investment. Below is the fundraising Return on Invest- ment analysis for the 2015 fiscal year. There will be no more fundraising for the rest of the fiscal year, so these figures are final. E V E N T C O S T S # O F G I F T S A V G G I F T S I Z E $ O F G I F T S R O I Annual Appeal $258 61 $39.26 $2,395 928% Arts & Crafts Fair $459 27 $67.70 $1,828 398% Annual Gala $2,751 51 $157 $8,005 290% Total $3,468 139 $87.97 $12,228 352% Not surprisingly, the direct mail annual appeal gets the best bang for the buck, while the an- nual gala gets the least. This is a very nice return on investment which flies in the “face” of the FACE analysis. B. Financial Operations Z-Arts creates spreadsheets in Excel to keep track of donor development and uses Quick- books to keep track of finances. Because most donations are in the form of cash or check, Quickbooks serves well at the present time. Z-Arts has set up the ability to use Paypal from their website. However, none of these systems “talk” to each other. So far, because Z-Arts is so small, this has not been a limitation. But if Z-Arts grows, the limitations from these systems not “talking” will become apparent. My only criticism of Z-Arts in the financial profile area of this case study is that they don’t make use of sophisticated software for these Fundraising Case Study Report! 10
  11. 11. purposes, when they are readily available and would be very helpful for management pur- poses. The organization does not have any endowment funds to manage, any type of planning giv- ing programs to keep track of, any type of fundraising activities that require a significant monetary investment of any kind to keep track of. As a small organization, these types of financial assets are non-existent. C. Income Patterns Budgets going back to 2009 show a significant jump in income in 2011 that has continued to date. That jump in income is largely due to an increase in the application for and receipt of grants, as well as the addition of the Annual Appeal and the Annual Gala to the fundraising mix. All of this increase is accounted for as unearned income. An analysis of the income between earned and unearned over the last four years is interesting. Y E A R E A R N E D $ U N E A R N E D $ % 2012 $18,738 $7,350.00 254% 2013 $12,939 $12,202 106% 2014 $12,750 $16,665 76% 2015 (not yet complete) $15,825 $17,149 92% When looking at the detailed report from 2012, it looks like there were some errors in put- ting income in the correct earned vs. unearned income categories. Only grant monies were put into the unearned category in 2012 making the percentage of earned vs. unearned enor- mous. That error has been corrected for all of the following years and there is a much more even balance between the two figures. There was the significant drop in the 2013-2014 fiscal year and it appears that Z-Arts is on the road to recovery from that. That drop in earned income came from a loss of members, attendance at Z-Arts events, and attendance at their biggest fundraiser when a Board member very popular with the local community resigned over personal differences with other Board members. Fences have just now been mended, so it remains to be seen if earned income will rise next fiscal year. Z-Arts looks like it has a good balance of support between grants, fundraising, and member- ship, so it is not as dependent upon grants as was expected for such a small non-profit. Looking at the chart below, grants monies have increased for the last three years as have do- nations, but event attendance income has dropped and not quite recovered. This drop in Fundraising Case Study Report! 11
  12. 12. attendance at Z-Arts’s events was explained in the paragraph above and will hopefully pick up again over the next year. Y E A R A M O U N T R E V E N U E S O U R C E % 2012 $7,350 $2,239 $6,000 $10,477 Grants Donations Memberships Events 28% 9% 23% 40% 2013 $10,350 $5,452 $4,840 $8,079 Grants Donations Memberships Events 36% 19% 17% 28% 2014 $11,000 $5,665 $5,510 $7,209 Grants Donations Membership Events 37% 19% 18% 24% 2015 $11,750 $5,249 $5,900 $9,918 Grants Donations Membership Events 35% 16% 18% 30% Overall, the percentage of income from various income categories has stayed relatively sta- ble over the past three years. At the end of the 2013 fiscal year the balance in the Z-Arts checking account was $8,000 and at the end of the most recent quarter it was $20,000. So, here has been good stewardship of monies so far. Z-Arts has not yet set a benchmark for itself of what percentage between earned and unearned income they would prefer to see each year, so that is something that should be researched and added to their Strategic plan and Development plan (when they create one). IV. Organization Activities and Donor Programs A. Activities Z-Arts has five program areas: visual arts, performing arts, literary arts, film, and humanities. A program chair, with hopefully a co-chair, runs each programmatic area -- creating the pro- grams, setting schedules, signing contracts, making travel arrangements for performers or speakers, budgeting for their program area, obtaining grants, printing programs, setting up for shows or performances, etc. Program chairs are only asked to serve for two years, so the quality of the programming in each area fluctuates as chairs come and go. • Visual Arts - Visual Arts puts on small art gallery exhibitions throughout the year, usually featuring local artists. Also, some traveling art shows sponsored by Utah ? are exhibited. Fundraising Case Study Report! 12
  13. 13. Once a year Z-Arts holds a juried art show from ? to ?. The Z-Arts art gallery is sched- uled year round and there is rarely even a downtime between exhibitions. The visual arts program area performs very well. The current visual arts chair is the youngest Z-Arts has had in a while and she has brought in a whole host of new artists. These new faces in Z- Arts’s visual arts program area have even driven new, higher traffic to Z-Arts’s Facebook page. • Performing Arts - This programmatic area focuses mostly on classical music perform- ances and these performances are very well attended. Every year, there is a classical pi- anist and a violinist. The new performing arts chair plans to add guitar performances to the usual schedule. Additionally, the performing arts division has hosted Greek Theatre and Utah Opera performances, as well as a stage at the Annual Springdale Music Festival. The Utah Opera performance was completely filled. However, the Greek Theatre has had problems generating attendance and Z-Arts is currently deciding whether to con- tinue with that. • Literary Arts - The chair for this area is responsible for bringing authors to Zion Canyon who discuss their craft of writing and read from some of their publications. The most well-attended of these programs feature writers who write about the American West, Utah, and environmental issues. Literary art events do not have as high an audience number as the performing art events. A lot of this has to do with an inability to bring in the writers that locals want to see and hear. But the Literary Arts chair has come across a new source of grants for these programs and an ambitious new program for the next year is in the works. If it is successful, then the future will be brighter for this program. Time will tell. • Film - Last season was awesome for the film program, but this was very much out of the ordinary. This field is not doing well and needs help. This is discussed later on in the recommendations section of this study. • Humanities - Much like film, humanities had a good season this past year, but it was un- usual. Humanities needs help if it is going to continue with this success. The current humanities chair is stepping down and a new chair needs to be found and trained. For the past several years Humanities put on a lecture series that attracted fairly small audi- ences. Humanities has had competition in recent years from the Zion Canyon Field In- stitute that also holds a lecture series. The difference in audience attendance between Z- Arts and ZCFI lectures is startling. With its focus on science, the natural history of the area and environmental issues, the subject matter of the ZCFI lectures is more appealing than those provided by Z-Arts which are in the arts and humanities. Additionally, the ZCFI has a source of grant monies for their lectures that Humanities does not. The Fundraising Case Study Report! 13
  14. 14. Zion Canyon community is small and there is no need for two lecture series, especially when one attracts a small audience and the other attracts an audience that is far larger. Last season Humanities stepped away from the lecture series, into an outdoor project, that was very successful. Humanities programs need to continue in that other direction, but will be unable to do so if a new chair is not found. A new Humanities Chair should be a priority for Z-Arts. Z-Arts serves a narrow constituency and they have tried for the past several years to reach a broader audience without success. The residents of Zion Canyon breakdown into two broad categories: First, are the young, outdoorsy types who happen to work night jobs in the restaurants and hotels of this tourist area so that they can spend the daylight hours out- doors hiking and rock climbing, and second, the older, retired types who want something to do in the evenings besides go out to eat. 90% of Z-Arts’s constituency is in the second cate- gory because Z-Arts events are held in the evening and because the subject matter of these events attracts the second category. When the subject matter attracts the younger, first category, they do come, and when the events are held out doors the younger, first category comes. This information should be of help if Z-Arts really does want to broaden their con- stituency. B. Donor Programs Z-Arts has only two donor programs that they run, the annual appeal letter and the annual Gala, and as indicated earlier they only began these programs in the past few years. The an- nual appeal results have remained rather flat over the six-year period that has been tried. The main reason for the flatness of the result is the small population of Zion Canyon. Membership increases are just not possible unless there is a population increase in the Can- yon and the population is rather stable. So the main focus of the Annual Appeal should be on increasing the dollar amount of donations, rather than the number of donations. The Gala, on the other hand, has only been in existence for the past four years, and last year it did very well with regard to fundraising due to the silent auction that was held for the first time. The plan is to continue the silent auction and also to encourage the business sponsors to purchase a table at the Gala. Because Z-Arts is still new to the fundraising requirements of a non-profit, they have not engaged in any special giving, capital, or planned giving campaigns. There are a few spon- sorships that they have involved themselves in such as sponsoring a stage at the Annual Springdale Music Festival, musicians at the Springdale Farmer’s Market on Saturday morn- ing, and the annual Christmas parade in Springdale. Notice, however, how these sponsor- ships are all located in Springdale. Meanwhile, although the Zion Canyon towns of Virgin Fundraising Case Study Report! 14
  15. 15. and Rockville are part of their target audience, there are no sponsorships of any sort in those towns. Z-Arts should consider enlarging their sponsorships beyond the insular town of Springdale. The website,, has mainly focused on proving information about Z-Arts’s pro- gram offerings. Although there is a page where potential members can join, it is rather hid- den and a website visitor has to look for it. Once on the “Join Us” page, there is no case for support that would make a visitor want to join. As indicated in Section I of this study, this needs to be remedied and donor information moved to the main page of the website. Social media is not employed for fundraising purposes. In fact, it is rarely employed at all, and when it is employed, like the website, it is only used to announce events. As Z-Arts be- comes more sophisticated with fundraising, this will change. V. Planning and Evaluation A. Planning Z-Arts put a Strategic Plan in place in 2008 which was updated in 2013. The 2013 updated Strategic Plan clarified the internal structure of Z-Arts, re-examined program offerings, laid out goals and objectives for the next five years, etc. The intent with the Strategic Plan was to make Z-Arts be an effective organization regardless of leadership changes over the years. The internal re-structure created three levels of President - - past, present, and president- elect - - intended to provide continuity to Z-Arts. Z-Arts is still feeling its way through this re-organization with the three presidents and there have been some hitches that need to be smoothed out. For example, review of the Strategic Plan two and a half years later reveals that some goals and objectives that have fallen through the cracks and need to be addressed. Page 9 of the 2013 Strategic Plan included an objective to “Create and fill Board position for Development” and on page 11 planned to accomplish this in the 2014 calendar year. This has not been done and as this fundraising case study shows, this should be a priority for Z-Arts. It is encouraging to see that Z-Arts’s leaders recognized this need in 2013, even if it has not yet been resolved. A Development chair is needed create a separate development or fund- raising plan for Z-Arts that will both increase its visibility in Zion Canyon and its financial base. Steps to fill this should be implemented now. Additionally, page 9 included the objective to create a position of “volunteer coordinator” intended to create a base of volunteers who could be called upon when necessary to help with Z-Arts events. As discussed earlier in “Human Resources: Volunteers” a Guild consist- ing of volunteers to help Z-Arts with both fundraising and implementation of events would Fundraising Case Study Report! 15
  16. 16. be an asset. This volunteer coordinator position could be charged with creating such a Guild. These are only two examples of goals and objectives that have slipped through the cracks. Z-Arts’s Strategic Plan has laid out a good base to build upon. It just needs to be followed through. B. Evaluation and Accountability As indicated earlier in this study, Z-Arts only has two fundraising activities in place - - the Annual Appeal and the Annual Gala. Both are evaluated for financial results very shortly after the events have occurred. Since Z-Arts only began fundraising activities six years ago, they have not yet set any quantitative targets for these two fundraisers. They have kept year-to-year comparisons, however, and these show that the fundraising results have fluctu- ated over this six-year period. At this point in time there are no real consequences when Z- Arts does not meet the amount of money that they had hoped to raise, because their goals are not high. If they make $1,000.00 over and above the costs of putting on the Gala, they are pleased. However, as they get more experienced and more sophisticated about the fund- raising process once their Development Chair is created, undoubtedly higher goals will be set and consequences for failure to meet goals will occur. But that is all in Z-Arts’s future. It does not appear that Z-Arts evaluates its fundraising programs and activities overall each year to see if another fundraising activity should be added to the mix. That is partly due to the fact that Z-Arts does not yet have a Development Chair or a volunteer Guild that the Development Chair can call upon as needed. Z-Arts needs to fill that gap in the next year or two. Concluding Remarks Z-arts took steps to fundraise and apply for grants rather late in its life, but it did well nce it took on that job and I think that the Z-Arts current and past Board members should pat themselves on the back. Now that that is done, it is time to move forward. Some Z-Arts members are ready to lay the groundwork for a re-assessment of the Strategic Plan so that a new Plan can be adopted in a little less than two years. First and foremost is for Z-Arts to complete some of the goals and objectives still remaining in the current Strategic Plan that apply to development. A couple of those goals and objectives are identified above and re- peated in the next few pages that address recommendations for Z-Arts. Other goals and objectives still not completed are not listed here since this study focuses only on fundrais- ing. However, they need to be evaluated and performed just like the following recommen- dations. Fundraising Case Study Report! 16
  17. 17. PART TWO Recommendations Recommendations for Z-Arts have been sprinkled throughout the the first chapter of this report. However, they are collated here for a comprehensive listing and discussion. I. Mission, Image & Case for Support • Mission - Z-Arts needs to re-work the mission and vision statements of the organiza- tion so that they can provide a clear and focussed path for future fundraising. Mission and vision statements should make the reader or the listener want to ask questions about the organization and want to learn. The revision of the mission statement several years ago focussed on a determination of exactly the market that Z-Arts wanted to reach and limited the market to Virgin, Rockville, and Springdale. But that was really more a mar- ket focus, than a mission focus. Just like it is time for Z-Arts to re-work these mission and vision statements, website, it is also time to re-work the Z-Arts website. • Image - During the recent reassessment of the Z-Arts Strategic Plan Z-Arts re-designed its logo, making it more attractive, more colorful, and more powerful. Z-Arts now needs to do the same with the website. It has already been suggested that the re-worked Z- Arts mission and vision statements needs to be front and center on the re-worked web- site, and so should a more distinctive and creative donation button to drive potential donors to the donation page. • Case for Support - There is nothing on the Z-Arts website that makes a visitor want to know more about or give to the organization. Z-Arts needs to focus on creating a Case for Support document, make that case for support on their website, drive potential do- nors to support the organization, and then publish an Annual Report for all donors to see the results of their support. Additionally, the donation page of the website needs a re-design to clarify the different levels of support available to donors. II. Human Resources • Board - Z-Arts should make arrangements for each of its Board members to receive training in ethics, fundraising, and basic administration of non-profits. This does not mean certification of some sort, but instead a half-day seminar here and there. The branch of the Utah Non-Profits Association located in St. George has a facility with ma- terials available for review, puts on seminars for local non-profits to attend, etc. It would be worthwhile for Z-Arts to contact the Utah Non-Profits Association and see if it Fundraising Case Study Report! 17
  18. 18. would be possible for a representative to come out to Springdale and hold a private workshop for Z-Arts Board members. I believe this would be of great benefit to Z-Arts. • Staff - As indicated earlier in the report, the one paid Z-Arts staff member could do with some help. While she has non-profit experience, her experience is in operations, not fundraising. To go where Z-Arts wants to go from here with expanded programs and attendance, Z-Arts has to bite the bullet and hire an additional staff member who can manage the website and pursue fund development. Z-Arts has gotten their feet wet with proper staff and fundraising for the past six years, and it is now time to start swimming. • Volunteers - Z-Arts should follow up on the objective of a volunteer coordinator s set forth in the last Strategic Plan. A potential Guild group to help Z-Arts with fundraising is not in the immediate future for Z-Arts, but is certainly something that Z-Arts and the volunteer coordinator should explore and keep on their radar for when the appropriate time arrives to take advantage of such an organization. Former Board members and in- terested Z-Arts members are good sources for the foundations of a Guild. III. Financial Profile • Fiscal Accountability - No recommendations here. • Financial Operations - My only recommendation in this area would be for Z-Arts to purchase software such as DonorPerfect for keeping track of donor development. Once a Development Chair is in place, that person will undoubtedly like to have such software available for their use. • Income Patterns - Z-Arts should consider setting a benchmark for themselves for the ratio they would like to maintain between earned and unearned income. Right now their income is fairly equal between earned and unearned. IV. Organization Activities & Donor Programs • Activities - Z-Arts needs to develop a distinct mission for the film chair. Z-Arts has largely focused on documentaries in the past, which have poor audience attendance. The two films offered last year - - the silent film with live musical accompaniment and the film on Edward Abbey’s legacy -- were unusual for Z-Arts and both had terrific audi- ence attendance. The silent film involved a professor discussing the history of the film industry and a musician talking about his craft of creating music for silent films. The Edward Abbey film had a discussion session afterward about environmental activism, which is a hot topic for the Zion Canyon residents. If anything, the huge attendance at Fundraising Case Study Report! 18
  19. 19. these types of films should give Z-Arts some signposts on which direction to take the film programmatic area. The other program area where Z-Arts needs some direction, and potentially a mission statement for that area also, is that of the Humanities. For the past several years, Hu- manities focused on a lecture series on Saturday nights that, like film, had poor audience attendance. Last year’s Humanities program of three historical walking tours that oc- curred on Saturday mornings was a big hit. Younger people attended a humanities event for the first time ever and it was the largest audience ever for a humanities event. So the takeaway from this is that younger people attend on Saturday mornings, but not Satur- day nights and outdoor activities attracted more people. Just like with film, Z-Arts should take these results and re-format their Humanities program. As mentioned above, a priority for Z-Arts with regard to Humanities is to find a new Humanities chair. Visual arts, Performing arts, and Literary arts are doing well, so there are no recommen- dations for those fields at this time. • Donor Programs - Although there are many other forms of donor programs that Z- Arts can explore in the future, such as a capital campaign or a special giving campaign, at the present time Z-Arts should focus on tightening up their Annual Appeal Letter and the Annual Gala. A theme for the Annual Gala, such as a Roaring 20‘s Gatsby theme, would generate some excitement among the members as they create their costumes and hopefully result in increased attendance. The appeal letter should be completely re- worked in accordance with Mal Warwick’s book, How to Write a SuccessfulAppeal Letter. The past six appeal letters have not hit the points that Warwick suggests and, in fact, have gone for points that Warwick says to avoid, such as saying how much Z-Arts needs money. An example of a better appeal letter is attached in an Appendix. Also, Z-Arts should consider either hiring a part-time staff member or acquiring a mem- ber of the Board who can focus solely on fundraising. Fundraising is really kind of an afterthought for Z-Arts and this should change to become a focus equal to the program offerings. The website needs to re-designed with an emphasis on fundraising and social media employed. All of this can be placed in the bailiwick of either the part-time staff member or new member of the Board. Lastly, with regard to Donor Programs, Z-Arts should consider sponsoring activities in Virgin and Rockville. Research will need to be done to see what, if anything, there is to sponsor in Virgin and Rockville. Maybe there is nothing, but the effort should be made to check it out. Fundraising Case Study Report! 19
  20. 20. V. Planning, Evaluation, and Accountability This is the main area for recommendations for Z-Art’s future. Z-Arts dipped its toe into fundraising over the past six years, and it is now time to take concrete steps to move for- ward. • Planning - Next year Z-Arts will start the process to update the Strategic Plan so that a new one is ready for 2018. Before then the Z-Arts Executive Council needs to create and fill the positions of Development Chair and Volunteer Coordinator as well as fill the va- cant position of Workshop Coordinator. This is a difficult job in the small community where Z-Arts is situated, but will be well worth the effort. The creation of these two chairs would lift some of the burden that is placed on the one and only staff member and free up her time for other needed duties. There are a few other objectives in the Strate- gic Plan that have also not been followed up, and these need to be done before the next update. • Evaluation and Accountability - Once the Development Chair and Volunteer Co- ordinator are in place, Z-Arts should create an evaluation and accountability program for the fundraising activities the Development Chair creates. The Development Chair will need to research similar organizations in the area and create benchmarks for perform- ance evaluation. There are no similar organizations present in Zion Canyon, but there are in Washington County. Fundraising Case Study Report! 20