• A mail survey was conducted of 1000 arts and cultural organizations in 29 counties in California. The survey included nonprofit organizations, for - profit and public agencies. It asked about difficulties the organizations have experienced because of rental increases, in hiring and retaining staff.
• In all, 208 surveys were returned as undeliverable, 24 self identified as not an arts organization, 18 that their organization was no longer active and 451 returned a completed survey. This represents a return rate of 61 percent of the valid address.
• Approximately 68 percent of the organizations in the sample were nonprofits, 20 percent for-profits and seven percent public agencies. The remaining five percent selected "other." Organizations typically were small; 30.6 percent had budgets under $25,000 and only 23.6 percent had budgets over $500,000.
• The arts disciplines most often represented included music (24.1 percent), visual arts (21 percent), theater (16.3 percent) and dance (14.8 percent). Most often found primary purpose included performance group (34.2 percent), gallery I exhibit space (17.4 percent), arts service organization (15.9 percent), and performance facility (15.8 percent).
• Approximately 60 percent of organizations rented, and thus were potentially vulnerable to unaffordable rental increases. All budget sizes except the very smallest organizations (those with budgets under $25,000) were equally likely to rent.
• The overwhelming majority of organizations that rented had not seen their rents increase by dramatic amounts in the past year. Only 10.7 percent of organizations that rented saw increase of 10 percent or more. Only about eight percent had had to give up space in the last year because of unaffordable rental increases.
• Almost half of the organizations that rented felt themselves at least somewhat vulnerable to loss of space because of rent increases. Almost 16 percent thought that it was very or extremely likely that rent increases would make their space unaffordable in the next year. Organizations that felt this more likely were those with smaller budgets, and those that whose primary discipline was dance.
• There was no difference in perceived vulnerability between organizations located in the larger metropolitan counties and those in the smaller. However, Bay Area organizations were more likely to see their rents - 1 - increase compared to the rest of the state. Rents had risen more than 25 percent for 18.5 percent of Bay Area organizations compared to 5.9 percent of those outside the Bay Area. Organizations with smaller budgets felt themselves equally vulnerable to unaffordable space in the Bay Area and elsewhere. Only the largest organizations with budgets over $500,000 felt themselves more at risk than their counterparts elsewhere in the state.
• If the number of surveys returned as undeliverable is taken as a very crude indicator of organizations that have had to close or have moved, then there was no difference between the Bay Area and the rest of the state. Thus, this survey provides no evidence that Bay Area arts organizations are having to relocate or suspend operations at greater rates than the state as a whole.
• Half of the organizations in the survey that hired staff stated that they had difficulties in retaining staff because of what they could afford to pay. Of organizations that needed to hire staff, approximately 70 percent had difficulties in hiring for the same reason.
• Both large and small organizations had equal difficulties in hiring. The smallest organizations were either more likely to have no difficulties or to have major difficulties in retaining staff, while the larger organizations were more likely to have some difficulties in retention.
• There was no difference between nonprofit, for-profit and public agencies in their difficulties in hiring staff. For-profit organizations were less likely to evidence difficulties in retaining staff, but the differences, while statistically significant, were not large.
• While there were no differences between agencies located in the major metropolitan statistical areas and the remainder of the state with regard to problems in hiring and retaining staff, there were dramatic differences between the Bay Area and elsewhere. Thirty percent of organizations outside the Bay Area had no difficulties in hiring because of pay, while only 12.4 percent of Bay Area organizations reported no difficulty. Fourteen percent of Bay Area organizations had major problems in retaining staff because of salary compared to the 7.6 percent found in the rest of the state.
Silverman, Carol (2001). California arts organizations: how are they affected by rent and labor costs? Working paper (University of San Francisco. Institute for Nonprofit Organization Management); no. 23. San Francisco, CA: Institute for Nonprofit Organization Management, College of Professional Studies, University of San Francisco.