Chamber Music America
Chamber Music America (CMA) is a national service organization that provides the chamber music community with an array of professional resources and benefits. CMA’s membership spans from thousands of individual members to ensembles, presenters, artist managers, composers, and educators. In 2006 Dr. Thomas Wolf and Alan Brown were commissioned to create a new strategic plan framework for CMA to successfully navigate the changing cultural tides. CMA sought to update its vision, mission, values, and goals to remain culturally relevant. To address this challenge, WolfBrown conducted an online survey of CMA members, an organizational assessment, and confidential interviews with key stakeholders.

Three versions of the online member survey were administered - one for each membership type: organization members, business members, and individual members. This allowed the survey data to be analyzed by membership type. From the 4,069 members, 628 surveys were returned which resulted in an overall response rate of 21%.

Across the membership types were some overarching results, indicating the greater needs of all members. Overall there was a 95% incidence of use of CMA’s magazine, indicating that it is one of the greatest links between CMA and its members. High usage was also found in CMA’s other publications and website, showing that they can all be used as a greater form of communication for CMA. In the future, members hope that CMA can provide more assistance to ensembles and presenters in developing marketing materials, creating a research database, and enhancing capacity-building programs. Most members would like to see CMA develop its role as “a communicator of information about the chamber music field”, especially with improving the business methods associated with presenting. Results also highlighted the individual needs within each membership type. The importance of specific programs varied; organization members indicated high usage of grant programs, business members found most value in the annual conference, and individual members indicated that they used CMA’s publications the most.

Findings from this research facilitated in the creation of a detailed plan framework for 2008 - 2012. The framework includes several goals in which the CMA hopes to achieve to fulfill its long-term vision. These goals include: building larger audiences; expanding financial support for members; creating a research database; and improving electronic communication. All of these goals will advance CMA's mission of ensuring that chamber music remains a vital part of contemporary culture.