Our clients include funders, service organizations and individual cultural organizations. Examples of recent projects:
Robert W. Deutsch Foundation – We worked with the foundation to create a program to provide grants to artists. The project included interviews with funders, organizations, and artists in the greater Baltimore area; research and discussions with other artist-grant making programs nationally; and the development of a five-year program plan that was launched in fall of 2013 at the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance as the Rubies Artists Grant program.
DeVos Institute of Arts Management We created a financial dashboard template for the cultural organizations in the DeVos Institute’s Capacity Building program. We consulted individually with the organizations to determine which elements of the template should be included in their particular dashboard, and then customized graphs and tables to fit their needs.
Leveraging Investments in Creativity (LINC) For LINC’s Space for Change program, we provided financial assessments for each organization, reviewing financial history and trends, operating budgets, facility budgets, and operating pro formas and making recommendations to enhance each organization’s financial practices. We provided follow-up consulting to each organization as they implemented financial changes. We presented a two-day financial workshop for staff and board members of LINC and Ford Foundation grantee organizations on basic and advanced financial practices.
The Ford Foundation. We provided financial assessments for organizations supported by the Ford Foundation’s Arts & Culture program.
William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund We analyzed the capitalization of the Baker Fund's cultural grantee organizations and made recommendations for the Fund on related grantmaking.
Cultural Data Project (now DataArts) – We designed the original web-based reports for cultural organizations in a data collection project that began in Pennsylvania and is now in 13 states. The reports enabled participating cultural organizations to run multi-year trend reports on their organization’s financial and program data and to run comparison reports comparing their organization to a group they select from the national database. An organization Annual Report and six standard reports provided the data in tables and graphs, and the user had the ability to drill down into the detail underlying the summary reports.
Baltimore Community Foundation – We served as the lead consultants for a Consultant Services Program and assessed the needs of applicant cultural organizations. We also served as the consultants for governance, organizational structure and management issues, and finance.
Arts Council of Greater New Haven – We provided three years of technical assistance to eight arts organizations in governance, financial management, and strategic planning as part of the Greater New Haven Arts Stabilization Project. We worked with several of the organizations on redesigning their accounting systems and financial reports.
We also have provided an analysis of the participating organizations’ financial trends and compared those trends to organizations in selected communities. For a second group of cultural organizations in the city, we conducted organization assessments and financial analysis, which led to recommendations on how to address the organizations’ financial needs.
Theatre Communications Group – We recommended balance sheet indicators and have advised on their application and analysis for TCG’s Fiscal Surveys since 2002, and led sessions at TCG conferences on analyzing and understanding financial health. Publications include authoring the December 2003 Centerpiece article, “Using the Balance Sheet to Diagnose Your Theatre’s Financial Health”, and a chapter, “Understanding Financial Statements”, for the book The Art of Governance published by TCG in 2005. A version of the chapter, revised for the museum industry, can be seen here.
Here is a sampling of our work for clients. We can provide examples of other types of analysis and assessment on request.
Financial Dashboards – Cultural organizations track many different pieces of data: financials, donor numbers, patron statistics, numbers of events, and so forth. The sheer volume of this data can seem overwhelming, especially to board members who aren’t immersed in day to day management. A summary dashboard conveys the big picture. Areas of concern can then be explored in back-up reports. This sample financial dashboard is just one option that can be created from a basic template. It is customizable and easy to update each month or quarter. Other sample dashboards are available upon request.
Budgets – We’ve helped many organizations develop a budget tailored to their management needs. Here's a primer, "Developing a Budget", to get you started.
Understanding Financial Statements – This essay was adapted for museums from a chapter of the same name in the book The Art of Governance, published by Theatre Communications Group (the original chapter, written for theaters, is available by contacting Cool Spring Analytics). It was intended to assist board members in their financial oversight governance role.
Sample Theater Financial Trend Analysis – This snapshot report was based on a brief site visit to assist a theater that had developed severe cash flow problems. The report clarified the theater’s underlying financial position, which, combined with a change in timing in several financial transactions, led to an unexpected cash crisis. The financial analysis was part of an overall review of financial operations and recommendations made to the executive director and board finance committee. By providing an understanding of the theater’s financial position, it served as the first step in developing a long term strategy to address the crisis.
Capitalization Analysis – This is a summary of a study prepared for the William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund. The study was a review of the financial history of their grantees to understand the trends in the organizations’ capital structure. The report included a snapshot of revenue and expense activity to provide context, but was focused on the balance sheet, per the Baker Fund’s request. In addition to analysis of aggregated trends in four budget groupings, we prepared trend reports for each organization that the Fund was able to share with the organizations to discuss their financial needs.