When the business and arts communities work together in partnership, wonderful things happen. Bonds become tighter, mutual understanding flourishes, and skills and wisdom get shared – making each sector better and stronger along the way.
There are many skills that the arts community can offer businesses (think theatre and improv workshops for improving conflict resolution and public speaking, or painting workshops to strengthen collaboration and team building). But when it comes to the other side, some may think advertising dollars and sponsorships are the only way to show support. But there are many other ways to help that hold just as much value.
Perhaps you’re a moving company that can help a theatre group transport set pieces and props; or perhaps you’re a business with warehouse space to spare for a group that needs to stash some supplies for a while. Or maybe you have a marketing consultant onboard that can help an arts group with their communications plan. Businesses have all kinds of ability and assets that can be beneficial for the arts.
That’s what Diamond Design has discovered. From the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra and the Atlantic String Quartet, to emerging musicians through their Concert in the Square series, the Churchill Square business has been supporting many arts groups in various ways since they opened their doors in 1991.
In more recent years, owner Pat Thompson (who comes from an arts background and played in orchestras himself growing up) says he’s come to realize other ways in which the business can lend a helping hand – namely on the back-end side of things.
“Recognizing the challenges that many small arts groups face with respect to accessing professional services to run their organizations, we looked for ways to assist organizations in addition to the traditional way, i.e. cash donations, auction items, etc.,” he says.
When Diamond Design realized they had some extra capacity in their finance department, they contacted Business & Arts NL to offer bookkeeping services to groups in need, starting with Perchance Theatre in Cupids.
“Over the course of a year, our in-house finance department computerized their financial records and provided education on best practices to ensure they were able to maintain accurate and current records,” Thompson says.
“By providing this foundation of both education and best practices, organizations are in a much stronger place with regards to meeting payroll, payables and receivables, CRA filings and applying for grants. This year we are delighted to provide the same support to Shakespeare By The Sea.”
Thompson says it’s the little things that can make a big difference. And while cash donations are always welcome to arts groups and charities, he adds, an in-kind donation for professional services is valuable too.
Having a strong arts community, he says, benefits the community as a whole.
“We encourage local business to look inside their companies for additional capacity in the areas of accounting, advertising, marketing, public relations, legal, etc. and make these services available to arts groups as part of their ongoing commitment to the arts and our communities.”