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SMU DataArts Analytic Reports

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Telling your story with data

After you enter your data each year into a Cultural Data Profile (CDP), that data is available to you in the form of pre-formatted analytic reports that allow you to track your trends in performance and benchmark your organization against others in the field. 
When making the case for your organization, numbers tell a powerful story. Annual, trend, and comparison reports are designed to help you articulate your strengths, assets, challenges, and opportunities. They have been used effectively in board meetings, donor cultivation, marketing efforts, and more, for simple messaging and in-depth analysis. 
The SMU DataArts suite of analytic reports will grow over time.  The current set of reports includes:
  • Annual Report
  • Programs & Attendance:
    • Program Activity
    • Attendance
    • Arts Education
  • Financial Activity:
    • Revenue Details
    • Expense Details
  • Marketing Report
  • Fundraising Report
  • Balance Sheet:
    • Balance Sheet Report
    • Endowment & Reserves Report
    • Loans Report
  • Capacity:
    • Staffing Report
    • Workspace Report

Each of these valuable reports can be generated in trend mode and show up to three years of data side-by-side.

The Program Activity Report, Marketing Report, Fundraising Report, and Balance Sheet Report can also be generated in Comparison mode and used for benchmarking.

Comparison reports compare your data to a pool of other organizations' data for one fiscal year. You can customize comparison pools using flexible criteria including discipline, region, and budget size. ​

Comparison Reports:  Average and Median columns
The data for your comparison group will display in two columns: Average and Median. The Average column shows the average (or mean) value for each line item. The average is the sum of all values of your comparison group divided by the number of organizations in the comparison group. The Median column shows the median value for each line item. The median is the mid-point in a series of numbers, where half the numbers are above the median and half are below the median. SMU DataArts offers both average and median calculations. The mean (average) is sensitive to extreme high and low values when the comparison group is small. Medians are less sensitive to extreme values and are generally a better indicator of central tendency for smaller comparison groups.
Annual Report
Annual reports provide a summary of your organization’s financial activity, program activity, and attendance in useful tables and graphs.  The annual report is a valuable communication tool that can help executive directors, board members, potential donors, and other staff or volunteers to better understand important high-level financial and programmatic information about your organization.  The annual report can also be used to make realistic projections based on your organization’s past performance.
Ideas for using your annual report:
  1. Plan for the future: Use the annual report to craft projections.  Because the data is historical, the report is a great starting point for thinking systemically about your organization’s past and future. The report already includes two fiscal years side-by-side for easy reference. Each section contains a percent change (“% chg”) column to help you analyze your data longitudinally. Use the report in staff meetings to plan for the coming year.
  2. Distribute to your board: Include the annual report in your board book. This report serves as a summary of the previous two years’ finances. It allows your board members to evaluate past performance in order to inform future decision-making.
  3. Post to your website: Upload the annual report to your website to illustrate your organization’s financial and programmatic activity. The report can also be included in a media kit.
  4. Share with prospective donors: Bring a copy of the annual report to meetings with prospective donors.
  5. Submit with progress reports: Include the annual report with other required materials that you send to grantmakers as part of an interim or final report. This report can help define your organization’s needs and illustrate your financial health.

Programs & Attendance
There are four analytic reports that focus on your organization’s programs and attendance: Program Activity, Attendance, Arts Education, and Pricing. These reports contain information about your organization’s free and paid attendance, membership, ticket, and other pricing, and programmatic activities.
Questions to consider:
  1. Have ticket prices and marketing efforts affected our attendance?
  2. Are there any one-time events that make our numbers look skewed?
  3. Are my program offerings reaching enough people?  Are my attendance numbers where I want them to be?
Financial Activity
The Revenue Details and Expense Details reports contain detailed information about how funds came into and were spent by your organization. The reports show each revenue and expense line item that contains data, a percent change calculation between years, and a vertical analysis, which calculates the percent of total or subtotal for each line to help you see which items have the most impact on your financial picture. Each report also contains metrics and graphs to add context.
Questions to consider:
  1. How much is your organization relying on in-kind contributions to operate?
  2. Are your revenue streams fairly consistent from year to year, or does your revenue have a multi-year cycle, or an even more variable pattern. How do you use your revenue trends to plan for the future?
  3. Can your organization cover all operating expenses with earned revenue, contributed revenue, or a combination of both?
  4. What methods does your organization use to allocate expenses between program, fundraising, and administrative?
Marketing Report
The Marketing report allows you to examine your expenses associated with marketing as well as their impact on your program revenue and attendance.
Questions to consider:
  1. What are all of the ways to describe participation at your organization?
  2. How have ticket prices affected paid attendance?
  3. Are there any one-time events that make the numbers look skewed?
  4. Are your program offerings reaching enough people? Are your attendance numbers where you want them to be?
  5. If you charge for programs, are the types and number of program activities generating sufficient revenue to meet your goals?

Fundraising Report
The Fundraising report allows you to examine your fundraising activity and to analyze the return on investment of your fundraising expenses.  The report highlights the number of contributors and calculates average contributions by donor type, and includes key fundraising metrics that allow you to analyze your fundraising efficiency and learn how much it costs to raise each contributed dollar. 

Questions to consider:
  1. Do your fundraising efforts have a significant impact on your contributions?
  2. Are you relying on the same sources of funding from year to year? How reliable is each funding source?
  3. How do your fundraising efficiency metrics compare to those of other organizations?
  4. How are your average contributions by funding source changing over the last three years? Do those changes point to needed adjustments in your fundraising strategies?

Balance Sheet Report
Three reports focus on your organization’s liquidity, capitalization and financial health. The Balance Sheet report allows you to analyze trends and changes in your organization’s assets, liabilities, and net assets. This report contains critical ratios and percentages that can help your leadership understand the overall financial picture of your organization. The Endowment & Reserves report and the Loans report contain details about these two areas that affect your cash flow and financial planning.
Questions to consider:
  1. Based on your balance sheet, how financially healthy is your organization?
  2. What level of working capital is sufficient to cover emergencies, opportunities and contribute to reserves?
  3. How much debt are you carrying? How has this changed over time?  How is your debt affecting our ability to create or expand programs?
  4. How does your endowment compare to the endowments of other organizations? Is your endowment providing enough income to positively impact operations?


Two capacity reports explore your organization’s ability to do work by highlighting staffing and workspaces. The Staffing report focuses on how many people it takes to make your organization run including employees, independent contractors and other professional fees. A section of the report highlights artists with data tables and charts, and another highlights the contributions of board members. The Workspace report contains full information about the places where your organization lives and works, including office space and all of your programmatic spaces. 

Questions to consider:
  1. How many people work for your organization? If your organization has seasonality, how does that number change throughout the year, and what else changes at your organization as your staff size grows or shrinks?
  2. How hard or easy is it for participants to access your programs? Are your program spaces situated close to where your audience lives? Close to public transit?
  3. If you were to increase your programming, at what point would you require additional staff, and could your current office space accommodate additional workers?




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