NASAA is the only organization dedicated exclusively to state arts agencies and their needs. Everything NASAA does is designed to help state arts agencies and maximize their value to the public and to state government. By participating in NASAA, state arts agencies increase their knowledge, secure resources and gain strength through a national community. Ultimately, the benefits of NASAA's work accrue not only to members, but also to the American public, as NASAA helps state arts agencies fulfill their many citizen service roles.
NASAA advocates for federal dollars and protects that portion of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grant budget dedicated to state arts agencies. NASAA provides national representation for state arts agencies, ensuring that their policy and resource interests have a persuasive voice in Washington, resulting in:
growth in the total NEA budget, which benefits both state arts agencies and other NEA grantees;
continued policy flexibility that allows state arts agencies to spend federal dollars in accordance with state priorities, with minimal federal restrictions and red tape;
equitable distribution of NEA funds among state arts agencies.
NASAA also helps members build resources at the state level by:
Advancing a compelling case for state government support of the arts;
Promoting state arts agencies and their accomplishments to policymakers;
Equipping advocates with handy case-making tools;
Providing advocacy training for state arts agency councils and other arts advocates;
Identifying other sources of federal revenue—beyond the NEA—available to state arts agencies and arts organizations.
NASAA makes the collective experiences and wisdom of the state arts agency field a resource for every member. NASAA creates a welcoming and supportive professional community which members use to expand their knowledge, networks and sphere of influence. These benefits include:
Communications that keep you abreast of current news and trends
Conferences that provide opportunities for learning and networking
Orientations and "boot camps" for new leaders
Peer group networks
Recognition and promotion of outstanding leaders and programs
When all member agencies share in the support of NASAA's work, the costs of services are significantly reduced for each state. In 2009, for example, NASAA delivered more than $2 million in services to state arts agencies. If each of the 50 states had to individually shoulder the full cost of those benefits, those expenses would exceed $40,000 per state. But cost sharing through NASAA dues (in which members pay on a sliding scale based on budget size) makes the services and benefits affordable for all. NASAA also leverages member dues to secure additional public and private funding.
Because of NASAA's federal representation work, state arts agencies also receive a significant financial benefit by participating in NASAA. For every dues dollar invested in NASAA last year, the average state arts agency received more than a $90 return in federal funds. NASAA can create individualized "return on dues investment" profiles for any state arts agency. Contact Kelly Barsdate for assistance.
The above benefits are "core services"—standard benefits available to all NASAA members at all times. NASAA's primary knowledge, representation and community services fall into this category and are supported through dues and matching funds secured by NASAA.
In addition to core services, NASAA also offers supplemental services—customized training, facilitation, research or planning services offered on a fee basis to members and other markets. Learn more about supplemental services here or by contacting Kelly Barsdate at the NASAA office.
Becoming a NASAA Member
If your agency is a NASAA member, you as an individual are, too! All current staff or council members of a member state arts agency can tap the full array of NASAA's benefits, access our materials and call on us for help. Make sure you are on our distribution list for information by contacting Dora Shick at the NASAA office.
If you are a former state arts agency staff or council member, you can stay in the loop by becoming a NASAA contributor. Your gift to the NASAA Annual Fund helps NASAA provide essential support to state arts agencies while keeping you connected to the people, issues and ideas that are important to you.