Nonprofit Revenue Planning and Development was the first of two classes on nonprofit financials in my MSW curriculum. A major portion of the work for this course was an “action learning project” that required us to analyze IRS form 990 information and audited financials, explore websites and offerings of three theaters (Cleveland Public Theatre, Great Lakes Theater, and La Mama), listen to interviews/panels with people in revenue generating roles at CPT, make a bunch of pie charts, and recommend revenue generating opportunities for CPT. The final project, and executive summary, had some requirements – explain your approach, limitations, and findings; use good grammar and spelling; organize it well and format it consistently; show clarity; give credit to your references; treat it as a professional document, not a journal. Still we had a good degree of flexibility – no specific format (such as APA) was required , no minimum or maximum page count, no required page orientation, etc. It was freeing! The prompt for the executive summary was this:
Your Executive Summary should be written as if Cleveland Public Theatre has hired you to be a consultant to the organization and their board regarding their revenue. You are charged with providing insight to the Board of Trustees about how they might grow their revenue and/or strengthen their revenue-generation capacity. This requires you to use the data you have (Revenue Inventory, Benchmarking, PEI, etc.) to ground your recommendations in their financial history and trends.
Read the Executive Summary of Revenue report (10 not text heavy pages in landscape format)
View the Executive Summary of Revenue presentation (17 slides) below:
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