Louise Herron AM, Chief Executive Officer, Sydney Opera House; Patrick McIntyre, Executive Director, Sydney Theatre Company; and Justin Miller, Managing Director, Justin Miller Art and ex-Chairman of Sotheby's Australia discussed the challenges facing the Arts and not-for-profit sector at this UNSW Business School alumni event. Lead by Professor David Grant, Senior Deputy Dean, UNSW Business School, the panel shared insights into leveraging company boards, being innovative with a shrinking budget and marketing effectively to reach new audiences and consumers.
Patrick McIntyre of Sydney Theatre Company said balancing the books of a not-for-profit organisation can test the nerve of any manager.
"A not-for-profit business is never really fixed," he said.
"You spend all of your resources to meet your organisation mission. You're not generating profits so there's no buffer from year-to-year. It's like trying to land a jumbo jet onto a cricket pitch."
As government budgets contract, arts organisations are relying more heavily on philanthropy and corporate sponsorship. Positive connections between business and arts organisations are increasingly being formed and the Prime Minster recently held a private dinner for arts leaders where he discussed the importance of private-sector support.
Louise Herron of the Sydney Opera House has placed an emphasis on the stewardship of philanthropists during her tenure as CEO.
"It's really important that they are our advocates," she said.
"I don't believe we would have got our $200 million promise from the state government had we not had their involvement. Philanthropy is about more than just the money. It's about developing the community that helps us go forward. It's the reason sporting clubs have fans. And this is what politicians listen to."