EMSO Treasurer Laura Miller shares why it is so important to support EMSO and other non-profit arts organizations in 2020
Why is financial support so important to EMSO even when we are not rehearsing and presenting concerts?
Back in late March, when the EMSO board decided to take a “wait and see” approach to addressing the new restrictions resulting from COIVD-19, we were fortunate to have enough money in the bank from member dues and funds from the 3M Volunteer Match, as well as a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board (MSAB) that allowed us to cover the 2019-2020 season expenses, plus have some carryover.
Who would have guessed we would still be in a “COVID fermata” today? And while, for safety reasons, we still cannot not perform or rehearse together, we continue to have expenses because the organization still needs to function behind the scenes.
EMSO Vice President and cellist Stephen Thompson has stated it best. He says, “When we are able to gather again, we want to hit the ground running.” In order to accomplish that, we need to keep financially in shape. We do have expenses that must be paid for us to continue to exist. Without financial support, EMSO will end up another victim of this pandemic.
What are donations going to pay for right now? What are they not paying for right now?
Since July, EMSO has been functioning by using the MSAB grant and other non-performance funds that came in the 2020 calendar year. The MSAB board was very creative (and kind) in letting EMSO, and other Minnesota arts organizations, use the grant money for basic operational expenses instead of what they were originally intended for, which in our case was Symphonies for Seniors performances. Right now, our perpetual expenses include paying our administrator; insurance; fees related to our partnership with Merrill Arts Center; costs for website management; and some music licensing fees. We are currently not paying what are typically our largest expenses in a season – salaries for a conductor and concertmaster and venue fees for performances. To date, for what would have been the 2020-2021 concert season, our expenses have been 12% of our pre-COVID-19 projections. The very small amount of income we have received adds up to about 3% of what we would have expected in a normal season.
What are some ways to financially support EMSO during this time?
Anyone can also use GiveMN at any time to make a tax-deductible donation to the orchestra.
We also ask all of our current and retired 3M-employed musicians to log their volunteer hours so the orchestra can receive 3M Volunteer Match donations of $500 per volunteer. It seems likely that even with this shortened season, most members will have logged the minimum volunteer hours required to be eligible for the match. If all of the orchestra’s 3Mers do this BEFORE THE 12/31/2020 DEADLINE, it would really go a long way in keeping EMSO financially secure into the next concert season.
A final resource to consider is matching gifts. Many companies will match donations to qualifying charities allowing donors to double their impact! Please check with your employer to see if this is something they offer. A small donation with a matching gift can make a big difference!
Thank you for supporting EMSO!