Monday, November 29, 2010

12 Reasons Not to Give

The year is ending and with that comes the deluge of requests for donations. Non-profits know that many people wait until the end of the year to decide on their giving. We’ve received loads of pleas for gifts. They all have good reasons why we should give. You have probably heard many of these good reasons, but what about the reasons not to give? We’d like to present you with a dozen good reasons to not give to Colorado Art Ranch this year. If, after due consideration, you choose to contribute anyway, well, we’ll take it.

All the money goes to big salaries.

Yes, well, mama needs a new yacht. Lest we be lumped with Bernie Madoff and Bill Gates, we’ll make a full disclosure here:

2007 Executive Director Salary $15,000

Artposium Coordinators (2) $4,000

2008 Executive Director Salary $3,000

Artposium Coordinator $2,000

2009 $0

2010 Intern (5 months) $2,000

Colorado Art Ranch is a fly-by-night organization.

True, we do not own property and are almost always on the move, but we typically drive-by-day. Our director logs over 30,000 miles/year within the state of Colorado as he sets up residencies, Artposia, Saloon Salons, collaborations and future projects.

Colorado Art Ranch does not serve my community.

We do not serve every geographical community in Colorado. That would be cool, but not really feasible at this time. We do serve a community of thinkers who enjoy exploring the intersection of art, science and land/human issues.

The bastards didn’t give me a residency.

We wish we could offer more residencies to artists and scientists, but, alas, these are expensive. We are limited to offering space based on the number of bedrooms we can rent. We have served over 60 artists-in-residence so far. Our acceptance rate is consistent with the 300 residencies in the US (about 13%).

The Artposia is rarely or never in my town.

Our records indicate that our audience rarely comes from the host community. The Artposia rely on audience support to pay for space, yummy food, great speakers and thoughtful workshops. We have lost money on six out of seven Artposia. Our accountant has suggested that this may not be sustainable. We have started a new program called Saloon Salon to build up audiences in local communities. When we have support, we can bring the Artposium to a community.

NPR gives me a coffee cup if I donate.

Hmmm, we don’t want to be left out here. Tell you what, anybody who donates $100 or more can get a free coffee cup. We have a nice one here that says Minneapolis Police Department on it. It is thermal and leaks a bit from too many trips to the dishwasher, but it’s yours for the asking. We also have a few Webroot mugs.

I can’t figure out where the ranch is.

Good call. It doesn’t really show up on a map because its, well, virtual. The ranch is a metaphor for values such as land stewardship, connectedness to the land, helping family and neighbors, and thinking broadly.

Colorado Art Ranch is just another arts organization.

You looking for a fight? The second word in our name is Art and we promote the arts as a catalyst for change in the world. Art is not just what happens in a studio, museum or performance space. The whole world is engaged in art on some level. We want creative long-range thinking to be part of politics, schools, corporations, communities and nations.

I don’t get that mining thing

Hardrock Revision is different from our traditional residency and Artposium models. We will bring together people from the arts and other disciplines to explore uses for a shuttered gold mine. The local community will be very involved (since they own the outcome) and consideration will be given to heritage, recreation, tourism, safety, water quality, rural economic development and aesthetics.

There are a huge number of worthy causes out there.

Yup, we give to more than Colorado Art Ranch ourselves and think you should too. Some charities address immediate problems and have very tangible results; some may support a particular religion; some help with bigger picture ideas. Each individual should consider their own values and support those organizations that share those values.

Colorado Art Ranch does not own anything, why do they need money?

Actually, we do own a video camera and a cell phone. Our expenses are mostly travel and program. We have not invested much in fundraising or administration. We would like to be able to fund some staff positions so the organization can sustain itself. It’s pretty hard to hire someone and not offer a salary; job candidates tend to balk at that.

There is a recession on, so no sense giving until it’s over.

We hope it’s warm and dry in your cave. Our lives are going on now. Things will never be like they were (good, bad or indifferent) and we have to figure out the best ways for human beings to live on this planet with all its challenges. We are offering chances to think about issues from many viewpoints and to see how connected these issues are.