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Friday, July 4, 2014


(This open letter appeared in ImagineMag!, an online arts magazine of which the establishment was supported by the Arts & Culture Trust (ACT). It is made available in arrangement with the Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) and the Dramatic, Artistic and Literary Rights Organisation (DALRO). See ACT’s website

An open letter by Amy Gould to all funding organisations – be they Governmental, Business or private individuals as well as Non Profit Companies.

I speak in my capacity as a Director of a NPC that is both a training and performing dance company and having dealt with both Government and Private Agencies re funding and policy.

Government Funding as well as Corporate and Business funding appears to be based on their policy requirements – understandable.

There does not seem to be much difference between big business and government policy. If business policy is contrary to governmental policy it does not bode well for that company. That does not mean that this is a bad thing – unless the policy that government is following is not based on sound knowledge and for the betterment of society and that those requesting funding have not merely adapted their request for assistance to suit what they know to be a specific company or government policy.

Private funders would seem to be based more on personal likes and emotional impact – again, understandable and acceptable. If they have earned it they have the right to decide what to do with their money.

But Funders please consider the following if your intention is to assist NPCs:
Keep applications simple.
Clearly state objectives.
By all means use Experts, then Apply Common Sense.
Accept that all NPCs are not the same. Some are small companies, some medium and some large. Many do not have adequate staff to cope with running the organisation and all the red tape that appears to be needed.
Is it needed?
Never forget small companies can adapt quicker to change than the bigger more cumbersome companies.

Training is often a long and painful process for the student and the teacher and cannot be speeded up without the expectation of loss of quality along the way. Acquiring experience in the work place is a necessity. Make sure that if you are going to fund training it is for the long haul. This is the only way to build solid foundations and quality of work.

If you are going to fund Productions make sure the amount you are allocating is reasonable and in keeping with the scope of what is needed. If the project is worth supporting provide as much as is asked for within reason. Too small an allocation and the result can be so diluted as to be all but worthless. Timeframes impact on feasibility for raising sufficient money because NPCs are often hampered by a regulation requirement from certain agencies that funding is spent in the year it is allocated. And when the payout is late the problem is compounded.

One needs resources to build and grow and that means money in the bank for growth. One should be attempting to constantly be profitable for future growth. Profit does not mean you have money for frivolous expenditure it means you can save for unexpected and rising costs and new work. And paying people reasonable and justifiable amounts for what is often extremely labour intensive work.

Now let us change the Name of Non Profit Companies, as it does to me at any rate suggest one should merely be covering costs or breaking even, to NPG – Not for Personal Gain and reward companies that make a profit.

I welcome input from all sectors as I personally feel we will never get quality of anything unless we are prepared to spend more time and money on training and develop very clear objectives in whatever field we find ourselves.

Honesty and reality is called for on both sides of the funding table. – Amy Gould