Each year, participants of the Rozsa Arts Management Program (RAMP) present their organization's board and RAMP faculty with an Action Learning Project, or ALP. This project applies their learnings from the program into a real world plan to move their organization forward. Andrea Pass, Artistic Producer of The Footprints Dance Project, completed the RAMP in June 2016, and Footprints shared her experience with us.
There were two projects Andrea identified for her Action Learning Project (ALP) that would support the growth and sustainability of Footprints Dance Project when she applied to the RAMP program: the creation of a human capital development plan that would align with the strategic plan, or a fund development plan. For her Action Learning Project, she chose to analyze the society's funding gaps, focusing on understanding the diversity of revenues: operational, project, ongoing and one time granting opportunities.
The RAMP program provided a wealth of information and resources to draw on. One of the key moments in the program was a discussion with Haskayne professor Dr Scott Radford about the current and future state of Footprints. He asked a key question…”Who outside of the arts funders was interested in children/youth issues or health issues? How could those areas be leveraged for additional revenue support and what assets did we already possess that would assist the organization?”
The ALP took on more of a research focus analyzing strengths, weaknesses, current funding, project vs operational support, one time vs recurring grants, and restricted vs unrestricted funding. The ALP research identified that a donor/sponsor program offered the greatest flexibility and growth potential, in the area of unrestricted funding.
The board of directors were thrilled with Andrea's presentation of her ALP. The project has recently been used in grant applications to Alberta Foundation for the Arts (AFA) and Community Initiatives Program (CIP) for building the Footprints website and development plan. The ALP also prompted a pilot year where the directors targeted their networks to allow the society to explore the potential of raffle ticket sales, stock donations, costume/dance shoe resale and inclusion in a sponsorship training program (ArtsVest). The Footprints team learned a considerable amount through the pilot project related to donations and sponsorships. This fall, the team is set to work on the strategic plan which will guide the society over the next 5 years. At the same time, the directors will formalize a fundraising plan which will draw on the learnings of the last year and utilize the information that resulted from the ALP.
One of the key things the RAMP program allowed our organization was the time and resources to examine and think meaningfully about strengths and opportunities in our realm. To that end Footprints has had the good fortune of employing a crackerjack team of artist instructors. These professionals have developed specialization in delivering arts programs to diverse populations. At the moment Footprints is leveraging this team to work on a research project aimed at advancing physical literacy skills. The reach of this project extends far past the Canadian border, providing yet another opportunity for Footprints to gain support or additional revenue to support key programs and staff.
Without the RAMP program this rapid advancement would not have been possible. Each faculty member from Haskayne School of Business in the RAMP program provided valuable information that enlightened so many different areas. Having a general goal for the ALP going into the RAMP program was helpful in maintaining focus. Andrea felt the information presented was so broad and far reaching that it touched almost every part of an arts organization.
The ALP was really a jumping off point for Footprints. We are all very excited to see where we are able to take things from here. We are so grateful for the opportunity to participate in the RAMP program and for all of the connections to all the other arts organizations. The program is a valuable contribution to the arts sector in Alberta.
What will your organization's success story be? Find more information about RAMP enrollment here. Applications close June 19th, 2017.
The Footprints Dance Project Society of Alberta is a Calgary based, non-profit community organization dedicated to the arts and in particular, dance.
Their mission is to ensure children and youth facing economic, physical, and social barriers, have an opportunity to experience and enjoy the arts. They provide free performing arts programs, classes and performance opportunities to children and youth. Founded in 1999, the Footprints Dance Project has provided arts programs to over two thousand children and youth age 3-18, in various communities throughout Calgary.
To learn more or apply for courses, visit www.footprintsdance.com/how.htm