Other Research Reports

Reports are available of conversations between TCG Board Members and TCG Member Theatres, as well as findings from collaborative projects between TCG and other arts organizations. For questions or more information, contact Ilana Rose, associate director of research & collective action.

The New Normal

The New Normal reports are based on conversations between TCG Board Members and TCG Member Theatres examining the state of the theatre field in 2009 and 2010.

March 2010: The New Normal: One Year Later: A Report Based on TCG's Board "Phone Tree" Conversations

This is a follow-up to TCG’s February 2009 report, The New Normal, which examined the state of the field in response to the global economic crisis of 2008. The original report was based on conversations between TCG board members and TCG Member Theatres. One year later, TCG’s board of directors again activated the “phone tree,” reaching out to 476 Member Theatres in January and February 2010 to see how theatres were faring. This report summarizes those conversations, based on the following four questions:

1. What short-term fixes did you undertake that will have/had long-term impact?
2. What do you think the core challenge is in the coming three years for your own theatre and for the wider field?
3. What’s the most exciting thing you’re working on now, or what do you want to be working on but can’t?
4. Finally, a one word answer: Are you in better/worse/same shape now as at this time last year?

March 2009: The New Normal

In December 2008 and January 2009, TCG's board of directors reached out to the 495 Member Theatres to gauge the state of the field during the challenging economic time. The board asked three basic questions in this report:

1. Have you done anything in the short-term to deal with the current economic situation, and if so, what?
2. Have you done anything in terms of long-term planning in response to the current economy, and if so, what?
3. Do you have specific suggestions for how TCG can help you get through the current economic situation?

These conversations generated enormous responses from theatres all over the country—nearly 200 Member Theatres participated in phone calls or email discussions with board members. Members shared their strategies, brainstormed best thinking on a variety of issues, and gave us insight on how their organizations are thinking and planning during this difficult economic time. The New Normal is an executive summary of these "phone tree" conversations.

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Performing Arts Research Coalition (PARC)

TCG completed a three-year collaborative research project with four national service organizations—The League of American Orchestras, the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, Dance/USA, and Opera America—that was funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts. Working with the Urban Institute, the PARC group improved the way performing arts members in ten site cities collected and analyzed data on their sector, so they could offer a more unified and factually based voice on issues of common concern. The collaborative process and the standardized survey models will remain in place and may be replicated in other cities. PARC also sought to develop a common set of financial and administrative questions for the national service organizations to ask their members in their respective annual fiscal surveys. Using this data for fiscal year 2001 and 2002, PARC produced a report including the country's leading performing arts organizations, as well as hundreds of smaller professional organizations.

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The Value of the Performing Arts in Five Communities: A Comparison of 2002 Household Survey Data in Alaska, Cincinnati, Denver, Pittsburgh and Seattle

PARC's first landmark study of five cities measures not only attendance, but also the value placed on the performing arts by attendees and non-attendees. The study reveals audiences for the performing arts are large and diverse, and support for the performing arts is broad, with far-reaching cultural, social, and educational implications. In 2002, more survey respondents attended a performing arts event at least once—more than respondents who attended a sporting event in the same time period. Attendance at arts events was perceived by attendees and non-attendees to be of significant value to communities and especially important to the development and education of children.

The Value of the Performing Arts in Five Communities 2: A Comparison of 2002 Household Survey Data in the Greater Metropolitan Areas of Austin, Boston, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Sarasota, and Washington, DC

While some have suggested older attendees dominate arts audiences, research from the second PARC study indicates a weak relationship between age and attendance levels.

The Value of the Performing Arts in Ten Communities: A Summary Report

In June 2004, PARC published a summary report comparing and synthesizing the results of its previous two studies.

The Finances and Operations of Nonprofit Performing Arts Organizations in 2001 and 2002: Highlights and Executive Summary

PARC also published its report based on financial and administrative data compiled from its surveys of 1,469 performing arts organizations.

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Nonprofit Listening Post Project

Organized by Johns Hopkins University, the project involved over 1,000 not-for-profit organizations from various fields including social services, health, environment, community and economic development, and arts and culture (represented by members of TCG and the American Association of Museums). These organizations served as "listening posts" on the major developments in the not-for-profit field. Periodic surveys were administered covering a variety of topics including: indicators of financial health, partnering, governance, human capital development, and technology with regular "soundings" of findings that were disseminated over five years.

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First Sounding: Government Budget Cuts Put Squeeze on Nonprofit Sector

With the first sounding, 63 percent of the respondents rated recent local, state, and federal government budget cuts as a "very significant challenge." According to the survey, these budget strains come on top of pressures resulting from the national economic downturn, which has constrained private charitable giving. View the press release for the first sounding.

Second Sounding: Stressed but Coping: Nonprofit Organizations and the Current Fiscal Crisis

The second sounding revealed that 90 percent of not-for-profit organizations surveyed experienced significant fiscal stress during 2003 but also found that 64 percent of these organizations boosted their revenues in the face of often-difficult economic pressures and expanded their activities. The authors state that "what this survey shows is that American nonprofits have become, in many cases, highly entrepreneurial organizations, responding actively and creatively to new fiscal pressures. At the same time, however, the survey also makes clear that these pressures are exacting a toll." View the press release for the second sounding.

Third Sounding: The Health Benefits Squeeze: Implications for Nonprofit Organizations and Those They Serve

Looking at a nationwide sample of over 250 not-for-profits, the survey of the third sounding revealed not-for-profit organizations are being especially hard hit by escalating health benefit costs. With not-for-profit employees making less than private sector workers, health benefits are one of the most important attractions of not-for-profit employment. A striking 93 percent of sampled organizations reported providing health insurance coverage for their employees, and nearly two-thirds of these organizations reported health benefit cost increases of 11 percent or more over the past year, well above the reported increases for all firms. Determined to avoid negative impacts on those they serve and unable to raise additional funds, more than 60 percent of organizations reported being forced to shift more costs onto their employees, while others eliminated raises or reduced other employee benefits. View the press release for the third sounding.

Fourth Sounding: Nonprofit Governance and Accountability

This report of the fourth sounding offers up-to-date information on actual governance and accountability practices of U.S. not-for-profit organizations. More than 600 not-for-profit organizations in the United States were surveyed for the report (including over 100 TCG Member Theatres), which reveals that the overwhelming majority of organizations responding have boards of directors that are already significantly involved in the key oversight functions that not-for-profit boards are expected to perform.

Fifth Sounding: Investment Capital: The New Challenge for American Nonprofits

For its fifth sounding, the Listening Post Project surveyed 600 not-for-profit organizations nationwide (with 49 percent responding) to learn about the capital needs of these organizations and the ease or difficulty they face in meeting these needs. In a 14-page report detailing survey results, it is shown these organizations have significant investment capital needs, but despite these needs, many not-for-profits have limited knowledge of major capital resources such as insurance companies and pensions funds—and those that do have knowledge report substantial difficulty in accessing them. For example, 91 percent of participating organizations reported needing capital support for technology (the area of greatest need, according to the survey), but only 37 percent of these organizations reported success in raising the needed capital. Download the report for detailed survey results with conclusions and recommendations.

Sixth Sounding: Nonprofit Fiscal Trends and Challenges

Survey results from the sixth sounding show, despite continuing fiscal challenges, the percentage of not-for-profits reporting severe fiscal stress fell between 2003 and 2006. Reflecting this, a substantial majority—76 percent—of not-for-profit organizations in all fields and of all sizes reported generally successful financial performance during 2006. The study follows up on similar surveys of not-for-profit fiscal trends and challenges conducted in 2003 that provided the data for the second sounding report, "Stressed but Coping: Nonprofit Organizations and the Current Fiscal Crisis."

Seventh Sounding: Report on the Nonprofit Investment Capital Roundtable

In order to explore the problem of not-for-profit access to investment capital (which was the subject of its fifth sounding) in greater depth, the Listening Post Project held a roundtable session on February 28, 2007. Roundtable participants sought to gain insights from not-for-profit practitioners, investment capital providers, and other experts and determine what changes, if any, might be needed. The seventh sounding report summarizes the major findings emerging from this provocative session.

Eighth Sounding: The Nonprofit Workforce Crisis: Real or Imagined?

In the face of concerns about a workforce crisis in the not-for-profit sector, survey results from the eighth sounding indicate not-for-profits have been surprisingly successful in recruiting professional and support staff despite significant challenges. Nearly 85 percent of organizations reported recruiting for such positions in the preceding year, and well over 80 percent of these reported satisfaction with the qualifications and commitment of the candidates they attracted. In addition, a substantial majority also indicated satisfaction with the salary requirements of their recruits.

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