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The Fender Music Foundation: Arts Organization Study

Brief Description

The Fender Music foundation is a non-profit national music organization that deals with charity and provides musical instruments to communities, schools, and other facilities across the country.

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The organization’s mandate is to promote musical education by supplying the localities with much-needed musical instruments and raising funds for it via charity and other promotional activities (Who we are, 2016).

Mission Statement

According to the organization’s information site, their mission statement is as followed: “The Fender Music Foundation supports music education programs nationally by providing those in need with instruments and by advocating the benefits of music education” (Who we are, 2016, para. 4).

Vision Statement

In its vision statement, Fender Music Foundation stresses out that the organization understands the impact music has on the lives of many people around the world. Music is a gift to both the musicians and listeners. It has a great positive impact on the soul, health, and creativity of individuals. The organization aims to “help make that gift available to everyone, with the understanding that the process of participating in music is a means to this end” (Who we are, 2016, para. 3). It claims that music should be open to people of all backgrounds, skill levels, and ages. Not everyone has to become a professional in order to enjoy creating or listening to music (Who we are, 2016).

Values and Goals

Fender Music Foundation values generosity, creativity, honesty, talent, and desire to help others achieve their full potential. These qualities are cultivated among those who chose to help the organization. By promoting these values, Fender Music Foundation wishes to bring out the better qualities of everyone involved (Who we are, 2016).

Operational Tasks

Fender Music Foundation follows the classic structure for an art nonprofit organization. In order to function and sustain itself, it performs these operational tasks (Tai, 2013):

  • Event organization
  • Personnel Management
  • Fundraising
  • Accounting
  • Marketing
  • Teaching and Performing
  • Inventory management and repair

Organizational Structure and Positions

The organization includes the following staff and volunteer positions (Galli, 2011):

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  • Music Director – staff position
  • Executive Director – staff position
  • Librarian – staff position
  • Stage Manager – staff position
  • Stage Crew – volunteer position
  • Personnel Manager – staff position
  • Musicians – volunteer position
  • Marketing Director – staff position
  • Membership/Development administrator – staff position
  • Accountant – staff position
  • Audience services – volunteer position

Sources of Funding

The organization has several sources of funding. One of the main income sources are the individual donations and membership fees. Other than that, the organization also receives grants for cultural development from the government and companies interested in promoting music. Fender Music Foundation sells music-related merchandise through its online store. Charity concerts also generate some revenue. Fender Music Foundation states that every dollar earned from these concerts is spent on purchasing and distributing musical instruments to the communities in need (News, 2015).

Fundraising Events

The Foundation participates in numerous fundraising campaigns. For example, in April 2012 it introduced Icon Series Collectibles. They were sold in guitar stores nationwide, and all revenue from the sales went into supporting the Foundation and its members (The Fender Music Foundation, 2012). Fender Music Foundation also organizes annual concerts in schools, with all revenue going into buying instruments. The schools that participated in the event received free instruments for their music classes (FMF surprised Ventura county schools with guitars, 2012).

Board of Directors, Officers, and Members

Since the organization adheres to the dual leadership structure, the board is made of two directors – the Music Director and the Executive director. The members of the organization are defined by their membership status – they hold a position within the organization, participate in many events performed by the organization, and pay yearly membership fees. Those who get themselves involved in the organization’s activities without enrolling into its structure are named volunteers and attendants. They cannot serve as officers.

The officer positions in the organization are as followed (Galli, 2011):

  • Stage manager
  • Marketing director
  • Personnel manager
  • Membership/Development administrator


Fender Music Foundation participates in many small-scale and large-scale events and charity efforts. There is no information about what committees it has, as it is a strictly internal subject for the organization. However, depending on the situation, the foundation could make use of both standing and Ad-hoc committees (McNamara, 2016). Standing committees could be involved with financial matters, fundraising, marketing, executive functions, personnel functions and public relations. The current structure of the organization suggests only two directors deal with these matters. Having committees in place to take care of developing and proposing new measures and ideas to the director board would significantly decrease the workload on both of them. Introducing such committees would improve the decision-making process.

Ad-hoc committees, on the other hand, could be useful for tasks that do not happen on a regular basis. For example, an ad-hoc committee would be efficient at coordinating a major fundraising campaign, planning and coordinating a major concert or an event, suggesting nominations for outstanding members, and doing data gathering and analysis. It is possible to open these meetings to both members and non-members alike, should they express the desire to participate. However, they would need to have the time, skills, and knowledge to perform effectively as members of the committee (McNamara, 2016).

The committees would have to develop plans, procedures, and resolutions to particular tasks and problems, and then submit them to the directorial board for approval. If given the mandate, they would be allowed to take part in coordinating the organization’s efforts. However, it must be noted that these committees are there to assist the directorial board and not supplant them. All decisions made by the committees must first receive approval from the directors (McNamara, 2016).

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Developing Attendance, Affinity to the Organization, and Increased Funding

In order to continue to grow and become even more successful, Fender Music Foundation needs to work on these three points of improvement:

  • Attendance
  • Affinity to the organization
  • Increased funding

Innovative strategies must be used to catch the peoples’ attention and convince them to attend the organization. For example, playing music on the street and offering easy-to-use instruments for passing strangers to play on can be an effective strategy. The musicians would be instructed to teach simple moves and techniques to those interested in trying it out. A drum would be excellent for these exercises, as anyone would be able to play something simple, using it.

To improve the affinity to the organization among current members, Fender Music Foundation must work on creating a sense of community between them. Members should assemble on different occasions, not just for playing music. Having picnics together, playing sports, and performing other community actions would strengthen the bond between members, thus improving their overall affinity to the organization.

The last issue for the organization to improve on is funding. Funding is always an issue for nonprofit organizations, as they cannot do business in a way most for-profit companies could. In order to increase funding, the donors could be provided additional incentive to show for their merit. Issuing hats, t-shirts, and badges of honor should offer an additional incentive for donors who want to let other people know about their good deeds.

Expanding the Organization’s Reach

To facilitate further growth, Fender Music Foundation must also expand its reach to the government, the businesses, the media, and new audiences. Getting governmental support can be a difficult task. Having contacts with the officials at a local level and participating in government-backed programs and contests would help the Foundation secure priority of funding over others.

Businesses are rarely driven by noble virtues – they mostly care about profit. The only way Fender Music Foundation could interest them is through advertising. Contracts could be made with businesses that could provide musical instruments. In return, these businesses could use charity concerts as a platform to advertise their products.

The mass media is always after a show or a big news. Concerts, especially charity concerts, often make it to the headlines. Fender Music Foundation should always contact the local media reporters when planning a performance and invite them to attend the concert and provide media coverage.

Lastly, the foundation must expand its reach towards new audiences. As it stands, the organization’s efforts are aimed towards children, adolescents, and college students. The organization should also reach out to other age groups. The elders often have plenty of time on their hands, and some adults could use a hobby.

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Rewarding and Retaining Talent

Rewarding and retaining volunteers, board, and staff should be the organization’s main prerogative – training new staff and volunteers require time and resources that the foundation does not have to spare. In order to reward honest and dedicated effort, as well as providing an incentive for excellence, an honorary title should be introduced. It could be called “Member of the Month,” or something similar. Members of the month should be chosen by a popular vote. In order to avoid unfairness, no member should be given the honor twice in a row. The foundation should provide small prizes and trinkets to reward the winners. Not only will this measure help introduce a notion of healthy competitiveness among the members, but also establish a sense of achievement. However, the rewards and honors should not be substantial enough to create unhealthy competition, as such would only lead to infighting. Such actions would bring only harm.

Advocacy Actions

Advocacy means protecting the rights of those who cannot stand up for themselves – the children, the elderly, the poor, and the downtrodden (Advocacy & organizing, 2016). While Fender Music Foundation is preoccupied with music rather than welfare, it could cooperate with social justice organizations. Promoting and supporting one another would be beneficial to all parties involved. In addition, there is a good chance of finding talented musicians among the poor – there are many who try to earn a living by playing musical instruments on the streets. These street musicians are often very talented. There is no reason to let such talents go to waste.

SWOT Analysis

In order to have a clearer picture regarding Fender Music Foundation, we must analyze its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (Greechie, 2016):


  • A solid team of experts and professionals, which ran the organization for over a decade.
  • Wide membership base. The organization’s programs have reached over 187,000 people across the country in the last decade.
  • Numerous sources of income.
  • Tax exempt


  • Reliance on charity and grants to support its activities
  • Large organization that is difficult to control
  • Vulnerable to budgetary deficits


  • There are always plenty of grants that the organization could be aiming for, even during a recession
  • Cooperation with businesses will provide a mutually beneficial relationship.


  • Nonprofit organizations are vulnerable to economic crises
  • Inefficient money-spending or theft may cause a scandal and damage the organization’s reputation
  • Small salaries may cause high turnover rate among the staff.

Differences between For-Profits and Nonprofits

For-profit and nonprofit organizations have a lot in common. However, there are many differences between them. While no organization is like another, all commercial businesses possess traits that nonprofit organizations are lacking. The differences could be separated into four groups (Ingram, 2016):


This is a major point of difference between the two kinds of organizations. In general, commercial businesses are created with the purpose of generating profit for their owners and their employees. Noncommercial organizations are created to serve a cause of humanitarian or environmental nature.


For-profit organizations generate their income from sales and revenue. They are the bread and butter of the economy, as they provide services and jobs. Nonprofits, on the other hand, generate most of their income from donors, grants, and government programs. Sometimes they sell merchandise, but most of the income is spent on charity.


The majority of nonprofit organizations do not pay taxes. The laws also make their leaders and founders not accountable for any debts that the organization might accumulate. This is not the case with for-profit organizations. Tax evasion is a punishable offense.

Human resources

For-profit organizations are almost entirely comprised of hired personnel that receive wages, have schedules, and work hours. Nonprofit organizations, on the other hand, usually have a staff skeleton crew and a large number of volunteers and part-time workers. Due to this, nonprofit organizations are often less organized.

Recently, there was a rise of so-called “hybrid organizations,” which represent a meld between for-profit and nonprofit organizations. Goodwill, for example, is one such organization. It provides clothing and support for homeless and poor families while running its own retail and restaurant business. A great portion of its income is sacrificed to charity.

Positive Possible Events

  • Fender Music Foundation wins a big government grant for promoting music and culture in schools and communities. Such an event would improve the organization’s financial status and give it a reasonable amount of media attention.
  • The organization helps raise a talented musician. While this event will not provide any direct income to the organization, helping raise a talent would attract the attention of potential donors and earn praise from the media.
  • Fender Music provides instruments to a community music band. This event would improve the organization’s reputation and further its goals of promoting music everywhere.

Possible Negative Events

  • Members of the organization are caught spending money on personal needs and luxuries rather than the needs of the organization. Such an event would cause a scandal and undermine the Foundation’s reputation.
  • A traumatic accident happens during a concert. Should this happen, the consequences would be very far-reaching. If the organization is responsible of such negligence, the public opinion would turn against it.
  • An economic crisis forces the government to cut off its financial aid. Such an event would severely undermine the organization’s capabilities of sustaining itself. It would force the Foundation to cut on its mission and its employees.


Advocacy & organizing. (2016). Web.

FMF surprised Ventura county schools with guitars. (2012). Web.

Galli, J.D. (2011). Organizational management in the non-profit performing arts: Exploring new models of structure, management, and leadership. Web.

Greechie, S. (2016). SWOT Analysis of a non-profit organization. Web.

Ingram, D. (2016). Non profit organization vs. profit organization. Web.

McNamara, C. (2016). Typical types of board committees. Web.

News. (2015). Web.

Tai, I. (2013). The art of giving: An analysis of arts organizations, their outreach programs, and how they are funded. Web.

The Fender Music Foundation introduces icon series collectables. (2012). Web.

Who we are. (2016). Web.

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