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Arts Service Organizations

I had an interesting conversation this morning about arts service organizations (the grandaddy of them all is the League of American Orchestras, www.americanorchestras.org). These groups are theoretically designed to serve their constituencies. They have their own challenges as organizations, particularly their funding. They theoretically should be supported by their constituencies; all too often, that group, facing their own financial challenges, find it difficult to keep up the annual payments.


To earn the right to be supported by constituents, arts service organizations must make clear how they serve them. The Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, for example, has specific messaging for its members (https://www.philaculture.org/what-we-do). And their most important work, advocacy, has its own section (https://www.philaculture.org/action).


In my time as an organizational leader, I served on various arts service organization boards. My colleagues and I always kept one question in front of us: what can we do together that we can't do by ourselves? The various answers guided our work. Members of service organizations have a right to expect value for their money; good service organizations deliver.

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