Communication and Information Management in the Nonprofit Arts Sector

Jan 01, 2016 | by
  • Description

A survey of a representative sampling of arts organizations finds that their internal and external communication includes a variety of traditional and technological methods, each varying in its preferred usage and perceived effectiveness. While this study was intended to establish a baseline of communication perceptions, behaviors, and impacts, the following conclusions may be reasonably drawn from the survey responses:

  1. Communication from arts administrators and organizations, and from others to them, is a major occupier of time. Email in particular dominates average weekly time expenditures.
  2. The field's perception of the value and impact of the increased information available to it, and the communication it sends and receives, indicates a struggle with that volume, with a large bloc believing the sheer volume is--or is becoming--unmanageable.
  3. While the increase in information being communicated and being received is perceived as having a positive impact on organization productivity, there is a bloc of respondents that believes it is negative on a personal level.
  4. Despite the struggle with managing communication of all types and the pervasive feeling among the respondents that there are significant negative impacts on their time and ability to do their jobs, most arts organizations do not have any formal plan to address these issues.
  5. Due to the limitations of this survey, it is unclear the extent to which arts organizations are aware of, and are dealing with, communication and information issues, including the challenges posed to staff personnel.
  6. Most arts organizations do not have the resources to engage a full-time communications officer.
  7. Administrators are challenged to relate the increased information to their specific needs.
  8. It may be a myth that executive summaries in reports are the preferred method of reviewing information by arts administrators.
For many organizations, this respondent's observation encapsulates the challenge with communication and information management: "We have 20th century resources in a 21st century environment."