For Arts Nonprofits, Attendance at Events Unlikely to Influence Donors
Arts and cultural nonprofit organizations promote arts appreciation and strengthen communities by providing a wide range of arts programs in music, theater, visual arts and dance. These organizations rely on donations to exist. One way that the nonprofit sector currently measures these organizations' successes is by the number of people who attend their programs. However, new research from the University of Missouri finds no evidence to support the idea that donors are influenced by high attendance numbers; in fact, large audience numbers may actually lead to fewer donations.
"Performance measurement has emerged as a new way to ensure accountability of nonprofit organizations that rely heavily on charitable giving," said Mirae Kim, assistant professor in the MU Truman School of Public Affairs. "Philanthropic culture has long emphasized greater accountability of nonprofit organizations, often creating strict measures that can impact how a nonprofit operates. However, we found that arts nonprofits that perform better according to philanthropic standards are not necessarily rewarded with more contributions from individual donors..."