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Inside the Margins: A Cleveland Literature Industry Study


Reference Desk



Browse through these tools for nonprofits in the form of guides, templates and examples. Find resources for nonprofit strategic planning, hiring a consultant, developing job descriptions or other important management tools. If you can’t find what you’re looking for here, our Reference Desk includes a list of nonprofit service organizations that may offer the information you need. In addition, Creative Compass offers guides directed at individual artists and creative businesses, which offer a depth of knowledge in each of the site’s main topics.

Establishing a Site Visit

Site visits provide a policymaker with personal exposure to the programs and people in their area that are central to arts and culture advocacy efforts. These visits provide better context when an ask is being made or when the policymaker becomes your storyteller.

Evaluate Your Performance

Measurement is an important and sometimes overlooked component of any project or ongoing professional endeavor. If you are working on a finite project or event, keep records of attendance; poll your audience and track comments, suggestions, stories and ideas that are generated as a result of your work. For ongoing ventures, you might send a quarterly or annual survey to participants, partners or stakeholders to track any transactional data and measure those outcomes over time.

Fiscal Sponsorship

A relatively small number of foundations award grants directly to individual artists; the vast majority limiting their funding to nonprofit organizations only. However, if you are seeking support for a project but are not affiliated with a nonprofit organization, you may be able to locate an organization to serve as your fiscal sponsor.

Follow Up

Learn the importance of following up with a legislator after a meeting and some great tips on how to do so.

Hiring A Consultant

Consultants can bring expertise and a fresh look to your organization. Before hiring a consultant, however, you must first understand what exactly the consultant will be asked to evaluate. Review types of consultants and how to begin hiring a consultant.

Legislative Meeting Evaluation Sample

Here is an example of a meeting evaluation form that you can use when meeting with legislators.

Legislative Visits

Legislative visits are a good way to educate and build relationships with your legislators. Remember, not all visits with your legislator are considered lobbying. It is beneficial to meet with legislators periodically — do not only request meetings when you have a request for the legislator.

Letter Writing Campaigns

Letters and emails are a great way to make your position known to policymakers, make an ask, say thank you, or express your concern about a vote or position taken. Carefully constructed, these letters can provide the impact needed to move an issue forward or influence a decision being made.

Marketing Plan

Further defining your marketing plan can help you better leverage your marketing resources. Your marketing plan can be simple and focused or it can be complex and wide-spread. In addition to defining your target audience, your marketing plan should address four points.

Media Advocacy

Learn about how important it is to advocate through the media, and some ways to create a clear message.

Media Advocacy Tools

Learn tools and tips to sending out your advocacy message through the media.

Phone Calls to Policy Makers

When you are unable to meet with a policymaker or a member of their staff in person, you might need to speak with them over the phone. Having a script or a few bullet points at the ready can help you feel more confident about the ask that you plan to make.

Planning an Event for Public Officials

One of the best ways to get your agenda in front of your public officials is to get them in front of your organization. By planning a media event around an public official’s visit to your organization, you will get additional exposure to your organization and your issues. This event should be educational for the public official, which will be a significant step toward being represented by an official that understands the challenges faced by individuals you serve.

Program Development and Review

When developing and evaluating programming, Arts Cleveland asks a series of questions to ensure its programming remains relevant and aligned with its mission and strategic plan. Use these questions to help guide you through decisions about what you take on; or in the case of decreasing resources, what is providing the most value to your community, and what you can hold off until you can generate new or increased resources.

Sample Brand and Style Guide

Brand is an important consideration for organizations of all size. This is an example of an organizational brand and style guide developed and implemented by Arts Cleveland.

Social Networking Sites and Blogging

Social networking sites can be an effective way to market events and public presentations. These sites can also be helpful in selling art, posting performances, engaging in discussions with audiences and fans, and researching new opportunities and ideas. Before you start popping up new profiles all over the internet, read more.

State Budget Process

The process for developing the state budget is specified in state statute, though most states follow a similar process

State Legislative Process

The process by which a bill becomes a law varies slightly by state, but most follow this general process

Strategic Planning Guide

Arts and culture organizations both locally and nationally are recognizing the need for strategic planning. This briefing paper outlines some considerations a nonprofit should make before engaging in a strategic planning process.

Tips for staying in touch with influencers

Establishing an honest and straightforward relationship with your policymakers can be beneficial when a need arises. It's important these relationships are started early and maintained continuously. In doing so, you can celebrate the work you both do within your community and can trust them to assist when you are in need.