Differing from for-profit businesses whose primary goal is gaining profits; nonprofit organizations possess a double-bottom line. Because of this characteristic, nonprofit organizations not only pursue financial sustainability, but also focus on achieving their social missions. Therefore, developing a measurement that can comprehensively reflect the nonprofit organizations' overall performance becomes a challenging undertaking. It's an undertaking that this study chooses to face head on by employing sustainability as a multidimensional measurement of a nonprofit organizations' performance. This study also seeks to find out how organizational structure affects the sustainability of nonprofit performing arts organizations as a whole. Based on the Profit-Maximizing Model, Cobb-Douglas Production Function, Agency Theory, Resource Dependency Theory, and TCC Group's sustainability formula, this research reveals three major findings according to the data from one hundred nonprofit symphony orchestras throughout the United States. First, there is a strong relationship between the organizational structure and the sustainability of nonprofit performing arts organizations. Second, among all the elements that contribute to a nonprofit's organizational structure, the board of directors' factors are most influential to the organization's sustainability. Third, in order to build an effective board, including board members with supportable capacities and skills and developing an appropriate size and structure of voting members can largely benefit a nonprofit performing arts organization with a higher level of sustainability.


Verdon, Lisa






nonprofit, performing arts, sustainability, organizational structure

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2012 Shitong Zhan