My Nonprofit Reviews
Review for Philadelphia Songwriters Project, Ardmore, PA, USA
My first exposure to PSP was when my former business partner forwarded me a voicemail message from founder Dena Marchiony. I returned the inquiry, and we ended up partnering on dozens of events. I served three years on the PSP Board Of Directors, and my recording studio business has sponsored many PSP programs and provided professional services to the group.
In the arts, many people have the influence to "put on a show," and indeed, much of PSP's core programming has been about putting together showcase events. Two main elements distinguish PSP, in my view. One, a relentless focus on helping emerging artists to develop their professional careers, evolve in their craft, and come together as a community. Two, major successes at promotion and unearthing corporate support for its programming. Thus, a group that once looked like "the little arts group that could" has put together a track record of producing programs that delight and sometimes shock with their scale and quality of execution.
The Beyond Measure program was a prime example — an exceptionally ambitious program on an artistic and logistical level. The program faced tremendous challenges in raising the necessary cash, but PSP leadership never stopped moving, adapting, and willing the event not only into feasibility — which was hard enough — but to a high level of excellence. The result was an event in which hundreds of artists, ranging from high school students to senior citizens and longtime music pros, collaborated in a one-of-a-kind performance. The artistry came together in an impressive fashion, and huge number of participants and concertgoers came away with a transcendent experience of artistic possibility and community. We're proud to have played a small role in this event, donating services in kind.
PSP most recently is becoming well known for its songwriting contests, which are highly competitive affairs that make a significant impact on the careers of both finalists and the eventual winners. Like many other PSP events, the contest exemplifies the group's facility with provoking a response from a large number of artists within the community. It also exemplifies the group's ability to develop partnerships with major corporate entities, including several regional music festivals and major concert promoters. Finally, the artistic excellence of the end result is clear.
My experience with PSP extends to a many other programs, and I expect to be involved with more in the future, but I chose these two as examples of what makes PSP a standout arts non-profit.
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
... my work with songwriters, both before and after their interactions with PSP. I have seen important connections form among songwriters, attitudes shift with regard to career strategies, and artists benefitting long-term through their association with PSP.
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
... make more of an effort to design programs that will appear to major grant sponsoring organizations. PSP has garnered major corporate support and huge in-kind donations, but maintaining reasonable cash flow has always been a problem. PSP programming is designed with real vision, which I admire greatly. It probably would help for specific programming to be aligned not only with that vision, but also with the preset priorities of grant-awarding organizations.
Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?
How much of an impact do you think this organization has?
Will you tell others about this organization?
How did you learn about this organization?
Approached by its founders as it was being organized.
What is this organization's top short-term priority?
Continued excellence of programing, and cash flow.
What is its top priority in the long run?
Developing greater buy-in and participation from membership and fiscal stability.
When was your last experience with this nonprofit?