As I sit here working on version 6 of both the marketing expense budget and the revenue projections for my day job I feel compelled to share a word or two about the financial side of this business.
Right now a lot of arts orgs are making their decisions about next year programming.
Which means that somebody out there is making the decision today that is going to cause a lot of havok in their lives a year from now.
I could spend a lot of time talking about how important strong fiscal management is to the arts, but I'm short on time so I'll just say this:
Whenever you are projecting revenue or budgeting expenses, make sure what you are doing makes sense.
You laugh, but I'm serious.
In this line of work, most of the financial problems are caused by somebody put a number on a piece of paper that didn't really make sense and then somebody else signed off on it.
You project that an event is going to sell 30% more tickets then anything similar has ever done before . . . not because you have any real reason to believe it's going to do that . . . but because that is the amount of money you need to make.
When forecasting expenses you neglect to factor in that everything, from material costs to performer salaries, is going to be a bit higher then it was last time around.
You create budgets which leave no room for error, where basically the one way the budget will balance at the end of the year is if EVERYTHING goes exactly how you planned, when we all know NOTHING ever goes as planned in this business.
So please take your budgeting process seriously, because bad decisions now will come back to haunt you.