Raising funds an uphill battle for nonprofits like Dallas Symphony

Posted on: August 12, 2010

In Glenn Hunter’s article in the September issue of D Magazine, Dallas Symphony Orchestra President and CEO Douglas Adams recalls recently asking a donor for $1 million over lunch. “The typical response? ‘They say, “You know what? I’m going to find a way to do that. I just can’t do it right now,” ’ recalls Adams, 59, who’s managed the DSO since 2008. ‘I’m hearing that a lot.’ There’s no doubt that the symphony, like many nonprofit groups in North Texas, is struggling to make ends meet in the teeth of a still-sputtering economy. The DSO’s plight is especially vexing to many Dallas businesspeople, however, because of the symphony’s importance to the business community as a symbol of the city’s cultural standing. … Typically, contributions from corporations and individuals represent about 40 percent of the DSO’s annual budget, which was roughly $28.5 million for the just-completed, 2009-2010 season. Ticket sales account for about 42 percent of the budget, while annual payouts from the orchestra foundation’s endowment make up the rest. … According to the symphony association’s latest-available IRS Form 990—covering the period from June 1, 2008, to May 31, 2009—contributions and grants from corporations and individuals to the organization plunged to just $6.6 million, from $10.4 million the previous year.”

Posted August 12, 2010