by Skye K. Richendrfer, October 20, 2013
“Overhead” seems like such an unglamorous label to affix to my roll at the Celtic Arts Foundation (CAF). But no matter how you slice it—that’s me. While it is true that my work might be more eloquently explained as “finance” (figuring out how to pay for stuff), “development” (money grubbing), or “program” (searching for venues and performers), or perhaps my favorite; “marketing” (getting butts in the pews) the simple fact is that it costs money to do all of those things. My usual refrain is that “sure seems like a lot of work to get the chance to play a few tunes!”
One common misconception about non-profit organizations is that somehow a numeric ratio of overhead to program is a magical indicator of effectiveness. Having been around the block in the public sector and fulltime in the non-profit sector now for ten years, my key learning is this: it costs money to do stuff! While probably premature to call the Nobel Economics Prize committee to inform them of this enlightenment, it isn’t far off to claim that as philanthropic and economic realities ebb and flow, the constant remains that it “costs money to do stuff!”
Thanks to the extraordinary generosity of our friends and members, CAF has been extremely effective in capital campaign fundraising for our new Littlefield Celtic Cultural Center— to date raising about $750,000 in donations and pledges. While the excitement of all the wonderful programming that will occur in our new facility is palpable; the other reality is that some sucker has got to figure out what things will cost and how to pay for it!
That’s right, more overhead looms like the autumn fog we’ve seen so much of around our region in the past weeks. Fortunately, and thanks in no small part to the financial sophistication we have with some current and past Board members, we’re in the midst of doing long-range detailed budgeting. Part of our new funding strategy is to seek operational funding from Foundations to support new programming, but it goes without saying that to do quality Celtic programming, means figuring out details about a fair number of currently unknown factors.
In the meantime, our building project progresses, with schematic plans being created by architects, and set to be unveiled at our upcoming November 3rd Standing Scones Scottish Brunch Fundraising event (learn more about that here).
Construction is slated to begin around May 1 of 2014, and the new facility completed by December of 2014. And true to form, we’re already working on the grand opening event in 2014, now we just have to figure out how to pay for it!