Random thoughts on audience development for a wacky Wednesday!

Pictures from iPhoneCamera 130

It’s one of those days when I have too many different thoughts to process and am having a difficult time picking just one to focus on.  So, here is my next installment of random thoughts.  Let me know which ones you would like me to develop further!

  • Some organizations/artists have a catch-22 situation in terms of doing personal emails.  Personal emails have proven to be quite effective, and email is still the number one social media avenue. If you want to build your audience, this is an easy way to do it!  However, there might be a capacity issue that excuses attempting personal emails.  They do take time.  So, should an artist/organization make the time to build their audience or keep doing what they are doing due to time issues and have lower attendance?
  • I just took a survey regarding online art sales.  I prefer going to an artist’s studio and purchasing in person.  Seeing the art and the artist makes it more special than the online marketing formats.  Is this just me?  And, what would the art world look like if they focused on more in-person formats instead of the online marketing galleries?  Could they possibly use the new “Hangout” technologies to get the best of both worlds?
  • I have a presentation coming up for the Boulder County Arts Alliance – Audience Affairs: Audience Building for All and Your Top 20 Tips to increasing everything.  If you happen to know anyone in the Boulder/Denver area, please do invite them to join me.  We all need to build our audiences in one way or another.  It is good to go to events that give tips and education on audience building!
  • I love when people contact me, yet I wish some of them would contact me during times they do not need/want anything from me.  Are you doing your H.A.Y. (How are you) calls/emails?
  • Is it good to live in a society with social media everything?  It seems like every experience we have now is linking to a specific social media format.  New formats seem to be cropping up everyday.  Is this a good thing?
  •  I have seen the challenges that occur when a specific person leaves an organization, and then a big gaping hole is there until the position is filled again.  It’s the same issue when an organization or artist hires a consultant.  The consultant does a good job, yet when he/she leaves, the organization or artist falls back to the pre-consultant situation.  I’m thinking an educated, team mentality would be good to establish so these sink-holes do not gulp us up.  How can we achieve this?
  • Evolution in the arts is happening, slowly yet surely.  We can decide to join in on the fun or stick to our traditions.  Either choice could be the better choice.  It all depends on your mission and your passion.  There is a place for traditions as well as the new.  What audiences do you wish to serve and partner with?  This will lead you to your answer.
  • Why are CEO’s of organization that are in financial straights making the big bucks?  Are they cutting their salaries to be part of the solution?  Are they relying on cutting everything else instead of their salaries?  It is a shame when a non-profit organization starts behaving more like the United States Congress or the humungo over inflated corporations.  Great benefits and pay for us, cuts to programs, benefits and salaries for them.  How is this attitude helping the arts?
  • In the past week, two successful Kickstarters of people I know reached over $10,000 each.  Fundraising for your art and passion is possible, especially when you have connections with people and ask for help.  I received one of these notices from their mother.  Audience development works!
  • Let’s switch to a “What’s in it for us?” mentality.  The me, me, me is getting quite taxing. Even social media is being called out for its narcissistic tendencies.
  • We create our worlds.  If you want to get something accomplished, focusing on creating and implementing solutions is what we can do.  The solution doesn’t always have to fit into society’s neat little boxes.  Remember, those boxes were created by people too.  Who is to say what is best, especially if what is “best” is stalling our own progress.  As long as it doesn’t harm anyone, why not go for it?

Again, let me know which ones you would like me to develop further!

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,


Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists



“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


Filed under Arts, Arts funding, arts management, Arts technology, Audience Development, Fundraising, Online fund raising, Online fundraising

3 responses to “Random thoughts on audience development for a wacky Wednesday!

  1. I’d be curious to see more about personalized e-mails. I had always assumed that they were more effective, yet once when I used it on a list of decent quality, it had the highest unsubscribe rate ever. I think people were creeped out somehow, or felt their privacy had been violated. But that was just me surmising – not hard data. Was this an age-based reaction perhaps? It doesn’t seem to happen with donors, just with audiences.

    • Interesting question. I do believe there are certain situations where personal emails can “creep” someone out. One scenario is when people are a little too personal without knowing the recipient well enough. The sender has good intentions, but if the email is way too “best friendly”, it can be a huge turn off. Definitely cater the message to the current level of the relationship. A personalized email can still be carried out in a more business-like fashion.

      Age could have something to do with this too. There might be generations that are not used to receiving a friendly, personal email from an organization or artist and it might catch them off guard. I am Googling to see if there is any research that would shed some light, and unfortunately, I have not found anything yet. I’ll keep look since it is a very interesting thought.

      In the end, the better we know our audience members, the easy it will be to figure out what type of personalized message to send to them. Err on the side of friendly yet not too personal is my advice if you are uncertain.

  2. Pingback: Random thoughts on audience development for a w...

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s