The operating environment for nonprofit cultural organizations today is daunting. Demographic shifts, changing participation patterns, evolving technology, increased competition for consumer attention, rising costs of doing business, shifts in the philanthropic sector and public funding, and the lingering recession form a stew of change and uncertainty. Every cultural organization is experiencing a combination of these shifts, each in its own way. Yet, while some organizations are struggling in this changing context, others are managing to stay healthy and dynamic while operating under the same conditions as their peers. These groups are observable exceptions, recognized by their peers as achieving success outside the norm in their artistic program, their engagement of community, and/or their financial stability. These are the “bright spots” of the cultural sector.
This report commissioned by the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation describes the five characteristics shared by cultural organizations that are successfully adapting to today's changing conditions.