The Cycle

The Cycle is a theory of organizational activity that prioritizes investment in great art.

Regardless of art form, geography, or size, thriving arts organizations hold several core characteristics in common:
  • Their programming is bold, mission-driven, and balanced;
  • They aggressively market that programming, as well as the institution behind it;
  • The resulting visibility produces a swell of interest and enthusiasm among a “family” of ticket-buyers, students, board members, donors, funders, and volunteers;
  • They make it easy and enjoyable for that family to get more involved—to contribute money, time, or connections; and
  • They reinvest revenue produced by that family in even bolder programming that, when marketed well, entices an ever-larger, more diverse, generous, and connected family.

When this repeats year after year, all stakeholders—staff, board, and family—sense they are part of a strong, successful enterprise, and they grow more generous and productive. Their organizations grow incrementally, donor by donor, and slowly build and maintain artistic and financial health.

The DeVos Institute sees this cycle in successful organizations of all types and sizes, urban and rural, and in the United States and abroad. Institute leadership and staff see it not only in performing and presenting organizations, but also in museums, arts schools, and other nonprofit endeavors like service organizations, historical societies, public libraries, university programs, advocacy organizations, botanical gardens, and zoos.

Indeed, any nonprofit organization that must fundraise to support its work can benefit from these principles.

For more information, please see The Cycle: A Practical Approach to Managing Arts Organizations

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