Young Associates is thrilled to be partnering with WorkInCulture to launch Take the Lead: Principles for Administrative Leadership for the Arts, a new two day seminar series for increasing managerial and governance skills in arts administration. Running October 12 & 13, 2017, instructors from Young Associates and WorkInCulture will deliver sessions on understanding financial statements, payroll, WSIB, and HR. Get more details here.
By Heather Young
In addition to being Principal at Young Associates, I am also a proud member of Arts Consultants Canada / Consultants Canadiens en arts, as are my colleagues Samantha Zimmerman, Anna Mathew, and Jerry Smith. I was privileged to be part of ACCA’s most recent strategic planning retreat, in my capacity as outgoing treasurer. Twelve of us, the current board plus “graduating” directors, shared a day of focused discussion and more than a few bursts of laughter, engaging in a three-year planning process.
As I expect many of us have done with strat planning clients, we began with a review of ACCA’s mission, vision and values. I confess that I’ve always been a little hazy on how to delineate those terms, especially when mandate is added to the mix – so I was relieved that we spent a few minutes confirming a common set of definitions.
At last, it all makes sense!
Mission captures the practical, desired outcome: what should happen because of what we do? Who are we serving, and who benefits from our work? It is an expression of structure, and appeals to the head – our rational side.
The vision is aspirational. It’s a dream that may or may not come true. Captured in a brief, inspiring sentence – think postcard, not novel – it appeals to the heart.
Values are the principles that guide our actions: the compass that helps ensure we stay on the right track.
As for mandate, there was a small difference of views. Some would see it as synonymous with mission. Another view positions it as a legal term that captures our relationship with the government. This makes complete sense to me: for most organizations, the mandate statement in their articles of incorporation or letters patent is drier and more general than the directive they articulate for their strategic plan.
Remember Star Trek?
Well, the vision of the Federation might run something like, “that humanity achieve a more complete understanding of itself through exploring the universe.”
The five-year mission is articulated in Captain Kirk’s iconic opening narration: “to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.”
The values, embodied in the Prime Directive, have inspired endless discussion in fan literature to this day, as a quick Google search will confirm!
And, I expect that somewhere within the files of the Federation’s legal department we could find a mandate statement, couched in formal terms, capturing all of the above from a governance standpoint.
As for ACCA, we had a productive and exciting day that yielded renewed mission and vision statements for the association. ACCA has now released the final version:
Arts Consultants Canada / Consultants canadiens en arts (ACCA) members are valued contributors in a thriving, creative Canada.
Les membres de Arts Consultants Canada / Consultants canadiens en arts (ACCA) contribuent au rayonnement d'un Canada créatif et florissant.
ACCA strengthens the arts in Canada by connecting a network of experts with Canada’s arts community and by encouraging the active exchange of its members’ expertise to advance and promote the development of the sector.
L’ACCA renforce les arts au Canada en raccordant un réseau d’expert(e)s au secteur artistique canadien ainsi qu’en encourageant un échange actif d’expertise parmi ses membres pour favoriser le secteur.
Read more about the ACCA Strategic Plan here.
You spoke and we listened! We've brought together some of our most popular seminars with new, highly requested, training opportunities. From budgeting and cashflow to data management and software know-how. Join the team at Young Associates for two days of professional development gems! These seminars are small, intimate sessions that allow you to have meaningful discussion with fellow colleagues in the not-for-profit and charitable sector. Bring your laptop and work through samples and templates, and leave with tips, tricks, new skills and strengthened skills. There's something for everyone from board and senior management to entry level staff.
Join us July 6th and 7th at the NEW Young Associates training centre.
Book by June 15th with the coupon code summer2015 to receive $15.00 off each seminar.
DATA SMART: More Than “Show me the Money.”
By Samantha Zimmerman, Practice Manager, Senior Associate & Data Management Consultant (Young Associates)
Originally published in the May 2014 ACCA e-bulletin
We’ve all heard about data: the importance of data; the need to keep data safe; the value of turning raw data into actionable information. But what does it mean for our clients? Most organizations are already comfortable making strategic decisions based on their financial data, because GAAP provides guidelines for maintaining financial data so that it is viewed as SMART (Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely); but what about our statistical data? Not only is there no one set of rules for dealing with statistical data, there are also privacy laws that dictate how we must collect, store and use data. It can all be very overwhelming.
The arts sector must also conform to CADAC which requires our clients to analyze and report their statistical and financial data to Government funders. CADAC and its partner funders across the country are becoming more rigorous and demanding in reconciling and verifying statistical data, which makes it even more important for organizations to properly track the necessary data required for CADAC reporting. More and more, clients have been reaching out to Young Associates in search of either full service data entry and processing, or targeted data management support with assistance in collecting data, pulling and reviewing periodic reports (monthly, annual), and reconciliation with bookkeeping software, as well as staff training or prospect research.
There is so much potential for data collection, but the majority of small and mid-size not-for-profit organizations often lack the human resources, the technology/software packages or the time to deal with all the data. We’ve all seen those organizations that are tracking their donations, event attendance and other lists in Excel spreadsheets. Much of the data stored in these Excel spreadsheets lives independently from other organizational data, and many of the lists lack standardization in the collection and presentation of the data.
While most of us are using Excel adequately, the majority will never use it to its full potential. Generally it’s seen as a tool for tracking static data; a moment in time, an individual project, or small pieces of information from a single cycle. How many years has a patron attended that event? How many donors are attending our events as well, and vice versa, are program participants returning as supporters? Young Associates has developed a proven system for helping organizations determine their data goals, and develop systems that work within the means of the organization to collect and analyze the data that gives the true picture. Where the mindset needs to change is not thinking of those Excel spreadsheets as a moment in time, but as a piece of a larger picture. Just as the financial information of the organization tells a story, the statistical data of an organization also has a story to tell.
By Anna Mathew
Young Associates founder and principal associate has been named one of the four faces of innovation in Canada by Metro News. The article profiles four innovative Canadians, praising Heather for her pioneering work in developing sound financial management best practices in the Canadian arts sector.
At first, Heather Young didn’t know much more about arts administration than the students she taught at Humber College in Toronto 20 years ago.
But what she quickly learned in trying to teach sound fundamentals of arts management was that hard information on the topic was difficult to muster — let alone make available to budding artists and art groups. As good innovators often do, she saw a need and filled it.
Young crafted her own materials, including Finance for the Arts in Canada, a textbook and reference guide to aid in running an arts organization. Her company, Young Associates — with a staff of 12 — now serves as a financial management resource for 90 Toronto companies. She’s soaked in years of knowledge working with arts groups in the city — something she believes is essential for innovation.
“Get to know your subject area as intimately as you possibly can,” she said. “You need to know the upsides and downsides of what you’re working on … and in particular the gaps in the available supports.”