Arts and cultural organizations in participating states now have access to a user-friendly online management tool designed to strengthen their organizations, lessen the burden of preparing grant application materials and simplify the generation of reports that can help to make an effective case to donors and policymakers for their support .
Benefits of participation
The CDP provides nonprofit arts and cultural organizations with the tools necessary to streamline financial reporting, quickly and easily track trends in their own performance and benchmark themselves against others. As a participant, you enter historical financial, programmatic and operational data into a standardized online form at the end of each fiscal year. After that, you can instantly generate annual reports to view financial, attendance and program activity data for a fiscal year, as well as trend reports to display three years of your organization’s information side by side.
Through the use of comparison reports, you can compare your organization to others by budget size, discipline and geographic region. All data is displayed in aggregate and you can be sure that your organization’s data will never be disclosed. Altogether, there are 77 different reports you can run to make your case to grantmakers, board members, potential donors and policymakers.
In addition, you can rely on CDP technology to reformat the data to match the needs of different participating grantmakers, greatly reducing the time required to provide the same information in multiple applications.
In participating states, arts and cultural organizations of all types and sizes use the CDP. They represent virtually every facet of the arts and cultural sector, including dance, music, history, traditional and folk art, museums, zoos, arboreta, aquariums and much more. Although most are 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations, the CDP is also used by arts programs housed in larger, non-arts organizations (e.g., Theatre Department of a university or arts program within a branch of local government) and non-incorporated arts organizations (e.g., festivals or collectives).
Participating organizations complete a Data Profile at the end of each fiscal year, using information from board-approved audit/reviews or board-approved year-end financial statements. The types of data collected include basic organizational information, revenues, expenses, marketing activities, balance sheet items, investments, loans, and a wide range of non-financial information (including contributor numbers, attendance, facilities, pricing, capital and endowment campaigns, program activity and staffing). Even the smallest organizations use the Data Profile by completing only the line items applicable to them. Click here to view instructions for filling out the Data Profile.
The CDP staff provides support to all participants through toll-free help desk assistance, free access to a team of financial consultants by phone, and statewide on-location and online training. The Help Desk and User Support staff are highly trained in the functionality of the CDP, and the team of financial consultants specialize in accounting for nonprofits. All CDP staff have experience in the cultural community. The CDP Help Desk and financial consultants are available Monday through Friday, 9am–8pm ET. Click here to find the contact information for all participating states’ Help Desks.
Ensuring data integrity
Although all information entered into the Data Profile is self-reported, the CDP system performs a rigorous, automated error check to ensure internal consistency. The system’s error check will make sure that all financial totals are calculated correctly and all interrelated non-financial information is entered. Once all the issues found by the error check have been corrected, you submit your Data Profile into the database and can immediately run a variety of reports using this information.
As an additional level of quality control, CDP Help Desk and User Support staff review each submitted Data Profile (in the order it was received) for any potential inconsistencies that the automated error check cannot detect. After this initial review, CDP Help Desk and User Support staff send an email to you with suggested revisions and ask that you call to discuss them. After making the applicable changes, you submit the Data Profile again. This reviewed data is included in the system’s comparison reports, as well as projects undertaken by researchers/consultants.
If the CDP is not yet in your state, please contact CDP staff to tell us more about arts and culture in your region. If the CDP is in your state, visit your state’s CDP site to start entering your data. Once you submit just one year of information, you will have instant access to powerful reporting tools