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Finances of Performing Arts Organizations in Canada in 2006-07

December 8, 20088 December 2008

Government expenditures on culture / Museums and art galleries / Performing arts organizations

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This report from Hill Strategies Research finds that, on average, performing arts organizations generate $2.70 in revenues for every dollar received from governments. The report also shows that fundraising revenues grew the most between 1996-97 and 2006-07.

The report examines the situation of non-profit performing arts organizations in Canada, based on the 2006-2007 Business for the Arts Annual Survey of Performing Arts Organizations. A total of 216 Canadian performing arts organizations participated in the survey, including 117 theatre companies, 64 orchestras, choirs and other music organizations, 15 dance companies, 13 opera companies and seven multidisciplinary organizations. Organizations responding to the Business for the Arts survey are based in all 10 provinces and two of the three territories.

Total operating revenues for the 216 performing arts organizations were $557 million in 2006-07. Total expenses ($550 million) were slightly less than total revenues, leaving a season surplus of $7 million, or 1% of total revenues. This surplus resulted in an increase in the overall accumulated surplus of the 216 performing arts organizations, which amounted to $15 million (3% of total revenues) at the end of 2006-07.

The revenues of the performing arts companies responding to the Business for the Arts survey represent 90% of the estimated $617 million in operating revenues for the non-profit performing arts sector, based on Statistics Canada’s Performing Arts Survey.

The report finds that performing arts organizations generate $2.70 in revenues for every dollar received from governments. This figure includes $1.84 in earned revenues (largely from box office) and $0.86 in private sector revenues (fundraising from individuals, businesses and foundations).

Earned revenues represented one-half of the $557 million in total revenues ($276 million). Revenues from government sources accounted for 27% of total revenues ($151 million), while private revenues amounted to 23% of total revenues ($130 million). The largest single share of total revenues came from box office revenues ($210 million, or 38% of total revenues). In fact, this amount is larger than total government or total private funding for the 216 organizations.

The 216 organizations presented 38,000 performances to a total audience of 10 million.

For the 105 organizations with a consistent reporting history between 1996-97 and 2006-07, growth in total revenues was 32% after adjusting for inflation. Total expenses nearly kept pace with total revenues, growing by 29% after inflation.

Of all revenue categories, private sector revenues grew at the fastest rate between 1996-97 and 2006-07 (53%, after inflation). This is nearly double the growth rate of earned revenues (27%) and government revenues (25%). Fundraising from individuals has become an increasingly important component of performing arts organization revenues, doubling in value between 1996-97 and 2006-08. In the past 10 years, there has also been a substantial shift in corporate funding from donations to sponsorships.

While the number of performances increased by 29% between 1996-97 and 2006-07, attendance at the 105 performing arts organizations increased by only 3%, from 7.5 million in 1996-97 to 7.8 million in 2006-07.

Among four different organization sizes, the revenues of the smallest organizations grew the most, led by earned revenues.

The report also provides profiles of theatre companies, music organizations, opera companies, dance companies and multidisciplinary organizations in Canada.

All organizations participating in the survey have access to a new benchmarking tool that allows them to compare their own data with other organizations in their discipline and size category. The tool was developed by Business for the Arts and is available on their website at CD-ROMs with full survey data have been sent free of charge to participating organizations and are available for others to purchase from Business for the Arts.

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