TAs Thriving: Tip #6 Annually explore the 990s of arts organizations in your region

To change the system, and receive what we are valued, is hard work.

Don’t give up.

This is an act of self-love.

6. Annually explore the 990s of arts organizations in your region.

A 990 isn’t a complete picture of an organization’s financial records, but it is a starting place in your assessment of what they value and prioritize.

  • Where are they receiving income?
  • What are the sources of that income?
  • How do expenses between programming, management, and costs break down?
  • Who are the top paid employees?
  • What are their salaries and other compensation benefits?
  • Have employees received consistent raises? Have you? (look at all three years)
  • How does your compensation/raise compare with top paid employees’ salaries/raises?

I don’t question the top paid employee’s salary (Okay. When it’s astronomical, I do, but that’s another blog post). I recognize management and the entire administrative team work hard. Teaching Artists work hard too. We need their support to make a living wage, especially since we are often front-line employees for their organization.

Get informed about all the nonprofits in your local region! Things trickle down. Larger organizations have set standards in the field, creating an environment where few small businesses thrive, and most independent artists suffer. It doesn’t have to be this way. We have to get creative.

First, we have to get informed. Get your free account on Candid/Guidestar today and explore these critical tax documents!

It may be helpful for you to recognize that applying these tips, my creative colleagues, is an act of self-love.

You deserve to thrive.

Capitalism does not permit an even flow of economic resources. With this system, a small privileged few are rich beyond conscious, and almost all others are doomed to be poor at some level. That’s the way the system works. And since we know that the system will not change the rules, we are going to have to change the system.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Published by jlridgway

Theatre Teaching Artist | activating artistry and moving the collective soul

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