CDP: User-Friendly Enhancements on the Way

In 2008, I was director of the Guild Complex, a staff of one and the de facto grant writer. As grant deadlines ticked down to the final hour, my hands would shake sometimes over the keyboard as I tried to break out or rearrange revenue and expenses into the requested format. When the Cultural Data Project (CDP) arrived in Chicago in 2009, I couldn’t believe that I could input numbers once and for the rest of the year click on various foundations’ names to have the financials configured in the right format for each application. It saved me more than a couple times during a last minute deadline push.

Over the last year, CDP has been working to streamline the process for inputting data – particularly for small arts organizations — and good progress has been made. (I have been beta testing for them – and will continue to do so over the next 18 months — to ensure that the perspective of small arts organizations is heard.) Filtering questions now pop up when entering a new year’s information to eliminate profile questions that don’t apply. This is just the start of CDP’s comprehensive upgrade, which will roll out in phases from now through 2016.

As part of CDP’s evolution, they are developing a financial fluency curriculum to help organizations better understand their numbers. They are working to connect their platform with QuickBooks so that financial figures can be migrated to CDP – in other words, one input for both. And, they are working to translate data into practical day-to-day management tools such as calculating cash on hand as days of operation.

Information provided by CDP is invaluable to helping organizations have a clear understanding of their financial health, which is essential to supporting creative innovation and artistic vitality. For these reasons, GDDF has been a lead supporter of CDP since its introduction in Chicago and will continue to promote user-friendly enhancements for all of our grantees.

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