Monthly Archives: June 2013

In your face arts advocacy!

ARTS in your faceI am still processing my Americans for the Arts Conference notes, but I do feel ready to talk about one of the points I made in my wrap-up blog.   I do feel that arts advocacy needs to be a main focus.  Right now, we have a little bit of momentum in terms of selling the arts as good for education and for the economy.  I like to call these advocacy points the vegetables of arts advocacy.  In the past I suggested a list of options for Popcorn and Candy arts advocacy.

Further, I have suggested 9 simple arts advocacy actions for daily life as well as formatted a slide presentation A Day in the Life – The Arts Are Everywhere! Arts Advocacy.

The main idea I am trying to get out into the universe is the fact that it would be best if we were more “in your face” as a reminder of the arts in our everyday lives instead of “excuse me, this is why the arts matter.”

Today I came across the article How music creeps in our lives without notice.  Why is this happening?  Every day we have the arts surrounding us, supporting us, entertaining us, expanding us, etc., but are we (our general populace) really relating and connecting these moments back to arts awareness?

This is why I feel we need to implement a campaign with all hands on deck to be a wake up call to the general public.  A campaign that is everywhere, done in a down to earth manner that people can understand, take notice, and be a part of.

If we can come up with a simple, focused idea that is easy and fun to share, an idea that also has an artistic, creative flair, I think we can grab the attention to put focus back onto the arts in our everyday life.

Creeping into our lives without notice?  Well, this simply needs to stop!  The arts are too important to be considered ignorable.  Isn’t it time to give the arts the mass attention and support it deserves?

If you have any ideas and suggestions for this type of campaign, please, pretty please, comment.  We need all the idea generation help we can get!

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

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“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

Please consider supporting ADS so we can continue our work.  Donate here! 

***Purchasing my book will help support ADS and our mission.***

My eBook

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Filed under Arts, arts advocacy, Audience Development

Digital Fundraising – how can I get into the action?

I came across a motherload of digital fundraising infographics via William Deckers’ Digital Fundraising Pinterest board.

What I am seeing that we can no longer ignore is the majority of people surveyed participate in online activities.  Here’s an infographic that demonstrates:

At this point in time, the majority of fundraising is still done via offline methods, but I feel we are about to see a change since our audiences are shifting to the new way of donating online.

And, of course we all know that the younger generations are increasingly using digital formats in their lives.

We are also seeing an increase in donations per digital formats since last year.  Meaning, people are becoming more acclimated to donating online.

So, how can we get into the action?

Just like any other fundraising campaign, I do suggest that you sit down and plan out your strategy and get as many people involved in spreading the word as possible.  Through my basic research, here is a list of  digital fundraising formats to consider:

  • Your website – As long as it is highly visible, well marketed, and easy to use, donating via your website is still the easiest form of online fundraising.  If you happen to be using a CMS for your website, such as WordPress, there are plug-ins available for sprucing up the functionality of your online donations. PayPal has a widget that you can use to make it really simple, or if you are set up on Google Checkout, or Amazon’s platform, there are widget options for you as well.
  • Third Party Fundraising Services such as Causes, Razoo, Network for Good, are an easy way to get into the online donation game.  Be sure to compare their fees and marketing abilities.
  • Text to Give options! More people are donating via text donation campaigns due to the increase in mobile phone usage.
    In 2008, the American Red Cross raised over $190,000 via text donations, and this is when the technology was fairly new! If you are interested in setting up your own mobile donation campaign, check out:

  • Tweet donations – One of the new formats is the ability to receive a donation via a tweet on Twitter.  If you have a good following, this is a great way to see which of your followers will evolve to become donors.  These programs allow people to sign-up and store payment information to be coordinated with their Twitter accounts. Some of the new ones connect you to your PayPal account.  Of course the organizations need to register too. When the donor tweets the specific code that is set up by the organization, a donation of a certain amount will be withdrawn and paid out to the organization.Currently there are not many service providers for this type of donation program.  You can look into Givver if you are interested.
  • Facebook donations – Many of the donation services have Facebook apps that will coordinate with your Facebook Page.  If you are interested in receiving donations via your Facebook Page, be sure to select a service that has an established app you can install.  If you are not already using a service that has an available app feature, you can sign up directly with Causes.com.
  • Crowdfunding – Many of you already know about Kickstarter, but there are many other options out there to start a crowdfunding campaign.  Please see my past post Choosing the right Crowdfunding is good Audience Development for suggestions on how to choose the right option for you.

In any case, you will want to choose the format that your audiences want to use.  Go where your audiences are, and if you do not know where to go, ask them in your next survey!

Digital fundraising does not have to be daunting if you treat the process with the same care as you would for any other offline form of fundraising.  The key is to build relationships online before, during and after using these new formats, just as you would with your regular fundraising campaigns.  Once you dip your toe into the world of digital fundraising, I think you will find it fun and rewarding.

If you know of any new digital fundraising formats, please reply and share with us!

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

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“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

Please consider supporting ADS so we can continue our work.  Donate here! 

***Purchasing my book will help support ADS and our mission.***

My eBook

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Filed under Arts funding, Audience Development, fund raising, Online fund raising, Online fundraising

Before and #AFTA13 – A look back on 4 days at a convention in Pittsburgh

Today I am downloading my experiences from the Americans for the Arts 2013 conference in Pittsburgh.  It was 4 days of focusing, discussing, and brainstorming about how we as arts advocates, agencies, administrators and emerging leaders, can bring arts to the forefront of American thinking.  All in all, I thought they did a fairly good job of creating a conference with relevant and innovative speakers with topics that are common considerations to many of us.  Pittsburgh was a fun city too!  I enjoyed the hometown atmosphere with the plethora of culture.

You can read a full story of the conference via our tweets here!

There were only a few suggestions for next year I would like to get out of the way before launching into all the positives.

  • I needed more food.  There was not enough protein to keep me going, and what was offered was very miniscule in comparison to other conferences. I would pay a small extra fee if I could get a little more food geared towards a balanced diet.
  • There were not enough sessions and panelists that spoke to and for the small organizations.  The smaller organizations outweigh the bigger ones, so it would be helpful to broaden the perspective for this group of organizations, agencies and administrators.
  • We could use a pre-conference for local arts agencies.  The sessions were great, yet we could use more time to get into the nitty gritty of our challenges and to share our ideas and solutions.
  • More sessions for visual arts organizations would be good, and more representation of the visual arts at the conference in general would add some color!
  • I love the sessions that have case studies presented.  Would it be possible to have follow up sessions to get more of the “how to” process?
  • “Emerging Leaders” would be better if not about an age or demographic group set.  There could be a leader that comes out of the older demographic too.  We are all in this together!

Now it is time for the positives.  There were a great deal of positives!  I feel on the whole, we established some common themes that are worth exploring, brainstorming and implementing.

  • Hosting at cities that are truly inspiring is a plus – Pittsburgh’s culture rocks! Incorporating the local culture for our enjoyment made the conference come alive!
  • The theme about telling your story in more personal ways to reach people, of listening to their stories, of creating connections, collaborations and community through your stories, was awesome!  I hope we all take this message back with us and do something about it!
  • Funding is a little skewed towards bigger organizations.  What can we do about this?  The smaller to mid-size organizations are at a more intimate relationship with local people of communities, and it is incredibly important to fund these organizations to create arts for (and from) all.
  • We need to ask in order to get funding. The feedback is that most organizations and people do not fund simply because they are not asked.
  • Building relationships is key!  An audience development mentality is needed now. Many people will not fund or go to the arts without these relationships.
  • Collaborating can reap major benefits, as long as each party benefits from the partnership.
  • Diversity can start with a dialogue and with immersing ourselves in another’s culture.  Through the arts we can create a bridge to understanding one another.  We can create awareness of cultures past, invisible cultures, and vanishing cultures so we can remember, reflect, and reconnect with the full aspects of our (human) being.  I once read that the DNA that creates the physical racial differences is less than 1%.  The fact that we are melting more quickly into the same pot needs to be taken into consideration.  The shifting demographics prove that we are becoming “all minority all of the time” (Manuel Pastor).  It’s time to be open to having open conversations and be open to change so we can create arts for all.
  • Arts advocacy should be a main focus now.  We are all in an arts bubble, and we understand why funding, supporting, and promoting the arts is crucial.  Let’s figure out an arts campaign that not only will speak for us, but will speak to the regular populace.
  • With that said, we can bridge the gap by becoming the solution to our world’s challenges.  Martin Luther King, Jr. did not say, “I have an issue, ” he said, “I have a dream!”  We can bring the dream of the arts as a creative solution to our communities’ challenges, which will in turn shed awareness for how vital the arts are to our society.  Projects like “STEAM” and the National Arts and Technology Centers can inspire people to know at the core level of their lives what the arts can do for them.
  • Lastly, it would be good to evolve our audiences into the role of partner to help us be relevant to them.  We can accomplish this through surveys, focus groups, and a good old fashion conversations with individuals.  The younger generations want to be more hands on; they want to participate.  As I have attached to my email for over 5 years now, a quote by James Stewart says it best: “Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”

I still have yet to download my notes, to fully process the entire experience.  In the future I aspire to write a few individual blog posts on the aforementioned.  I will also be giving a presentation for my city in September so we can on a local level consider how to implement these fantastic ideas – something I recommend you do in your own cities and regions too.

I also encourage you to keep in touch with the people that you have met and continue to build the relationships.  You never know what can brew from these connections!  I myself was excited to meet up with people I have met before, and the new people I have been introduced to are equally amazing, a bunch of talented, thoughtful people that truly care about the arts.

Thank you to the Americans for the Arts and the city of Pittsburgh for another great opportunity to get more intimate with the arts.  It was a fabulous conference that served to stir our minds, build our connections, and get the creative juices flowing for new possibilities.  Now it’s time for some action!

If I missed any of the main points or themes, fellow attendees, please reply! 

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

Please consider supporting ADS so we can continue our work.  Donate here! 

***Purchasing my book will help support ADS and our mission.***

My eBook

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How to make “free” work now and use the “it” factor later

It

There were two articles that have me thinking more this morning.  The first one, Hidden costs of free tickets by Deborah Stone.

Giving away freebies may not be the best way to grow your audiences but how do you set the right discount?

UK Arts economist Tim Baker told arts marketing professionals at the Australia Council Marketing Summit that they needed to be strategic about the incentives they offered.

Baker, who is Director of leading UK-based arts consultancy, Baker Richards, and Vice-President of its US sister company, The Pricing Institute, was speaking about pricing strategies for arts marketing.

He said free entry was often less valuable than strategic discounting because people took the freebies but didn’t come back. If they paid something –even very low – they were more likely to see the service as something worth paying for and would return and pay more.

Discounts and freebies do have to be handled carefully.  There is a chance that the audience will get too used to discounted prices and take your art for granted.  The fact that free does not guarantee that people will come back is also a consideration.  I recommend reading the entire article since it highlights some of the best ways to promote discounts.

My thoughts after reading this was the simple thought I have had before, free could work if you have a follow up program in place.  Free should not be just about getting people to come and sample, but also for you to build a relationship with them.  Make them feel important by following up and offering them a way to stay connected to you and your art.  I do not see the majority of artists and arts organizations using follow up programs to convert these free (or discounted) audience members into future loyal members.

Also, free could be a fabulous way (I agree with the 2-for-1 strategies) to get your current audience involved in bringing new audience members.  This works on so many levels since your audience becomes more involved (deepening their experience with you) and you end up broadening and potentially diversifying your audience as well (similar and different people will attend).

So, I agree that free can be undervaluing your worth, but if used in the right way, it could bring exactly what you were hoping it would.

The second article that caught my eye this morning was Jade Simmons: Elvis, Meryl & Michael at the Cliburn: The Intangibles of “It”.

The audience didn’t even know this kid, but they loved him, from his stride to his stringendos, even with only one prelim recital under his belt and a long grueling road ahead in the Fourteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. So how come he made them swoon so? Because he had “it,” that thing that makes you like music you once ignored, that makes you cheer when that’s not usually your way of behaving.

She goes on to compare three different performers of the Cliburn Competition, their special qualities, to Elvis’, Meryl Streep’s and Michael Jordan’s “it” factors.

There are a couple reasons why her thoughts have sparked a few of my own.  First, I applaud her ability to connect the dots from pop culture to classical music.  We need more of this mentality to create the relevancy that is missing today.  Secondly, it made me consider the “it” factor further.  It’s not just about individuals with this special quality.  Organizations can also have an “it” factor that makes them hook you.  These organizations stand out from the crowd and apply their “it” to everything that they do.  You feel fantastic working with them!

Perhaps we need to consider what our “it” factor is or how to reveal the hidden “it” factors we possess, bring them out, and make them shine.

Once we are using our “it,” we might not need to discount or give tickets away any longer since we will attract the right people that love our “it.”   Free can open the door for them, and the “it” will have them coming back for more!

Feel “free” to comment about your “it” to share…

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

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