Monthly Archives: September 2013

Giving a Give Program a try

Happy Friday!  We made it!  Today I am more in a solution mode than thought mode.  Thank goodness!  My last post was about burn out and what to do about it.  I have been thinking about the “free” economy and what it is doing to us collectively.

We all like free, and we all seek free in order to find solutions.  However, if we constantly get free, what do you think this all the time free is doing to the people that are supplying the free?

I constantly hear that giving something for free will open the door for more business.  Is this still true?  Many people are starting to become stuck in this free mode.  “I love the free advice from your blog,” but are people willing to start paying for it?

Our free information world is beginning to cause a few challenges.  The people that are attempting to supply the information, for free, are starting to have to shut down due to all the free-ness.  If you value their advice, the advice is worth paying for at some point.  The cycle of free needs to end or we will end up without the fantastic advice that we need and want in the first place.

So, in order to help end the cycle, which I myself have been contributing to, I am starting a Give Program.  I hope you will follow pursuit.  Here’s the deal:

  • I will keep track of the blogs and other free information sites that I have come to rely on.
  • Every month I will decide on a person to donate or contribute to based on how often I visit and read their information.
  • I am making sure to value the people that are making a difference and showing them my appreciation with this gift.
  • I am making note of what happens to me during this program.

You may recall that during my time off I completed a 29 Days of Giving program.  You don’t have to be as strict as giving every day.  The point of this program is to recognize and contribute to the people that give you good ideas, advice, and you have come to rely on for guidance.

Please consider joining me.  It takes very little money per gift to make a difference.  Today I donated my first gift to Drew McManus for his continual efforts to supply sound advice, guidance and information to the orchestra sector through his site Adaptistration.

You see, we all rely on energy.  Many of us are giving energy, and we are rarely seeing this energy returned.  You can help end this cycle by giving a little here and there to the people that are making a difference.  It’s your choice.

Have a great weekend, and I hope you will share your thoughts about this program!  Please share with people that might want to join in.

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.***

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Low energy and its causes

Today I am having a low energy day.  There might be a number of reasons why these days happen.  Low energy days, months, years, can happen, but why do they happen?  These moments are the building blocks of burn out syndrome.  Before discussing what we need to do to get our energy back, perhaps we need to focus on the causes so they don’t happen in the first place.

So, what can cause low energy?  Here are a few of my thoughts:

  • Physical reasons – Not enough sleep, depression, poor eating, etc. can cause low energy.
  • Not enough kudos – Yep, not feeling appreciated could lower your energy.  This could mean kudos in terms of monetary compensation as well as gratitude.
  • Too many energy vampires – Too many people using your energy for their purposes can get you into an energy slump.
  • Not enough support – When you feel you have to do everything yourself, your energy cannot sustain this scenario.
  • You commit to too many people and projects – Many of us have trouble saying no.
  • Emergency situations – Your adrenals go into overdrive and you are left feeling utterly exhausted!

There may be other reasons as well, but these seem to be the top causes of low energy and the road to burn out. 

What happens during these low energy moments?

  • Fizzled passions
  • Thoughts of giving up
  • Wanting to cancel
  • Cravings for a really long nap
  • Entertaining new directions

Aha! Entertaining new directions.  This means that low energy moments could have a big purpose in our lives.  They do trigger the thoughts that something is not quite working right, and it might be time for a change.  Low energy moments do have this silver lining and can help you get back on a track that feels better for you.

But, how does this relate to audience development?

You can’t give your best to others if you yourself are in a low energy lull.  This seems to be happening to many nonprofit orgs and arts businesses, mainly due to chugging along the same old path that continues to drain our energy and continues to not work. 

Another way low energy relates to audience development, if you continue to take and take from your audiences and not give back to them in ways to increase their energy, this causes a vicious cycle to happen.  Your audiences will burn out on you and eventually your arts business will burn out as well. 

For example, I heard from a past volunteer of an organization.  She said she was burnt out because they took so much energy from her. She is no longer associated with this organization and rarely attends events by them.  She needed time away to recuperate. They lost a sensational volunteer and audience member because they didn’t give back to her.

How can we turn the energy around?

You can end this low energy cycle by using the best of audience development, which is appreciating your people in ways that bring more energy and joy.  This will start a high energy cycle instead. What can you do to help them be happier?  What are your audiences’ wants and needs that you are able to fulfill? You reap what you sow, so why not sow better energy so you can reap better energy?

Wouldn’t this be much better?

– Shoshana

PS Give and take is best when balanced.  Look to see if you are causing any imbalances in yourself, your life, and other people’s lives. 

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Your website and your audiences

I just finished reading the article Three Ways the Role of Your Website Has Changed. Is Your Nonprofit Keeping Up?

The major reason why websites may not work in your favor is when you build it to be all about what you want and need and not about your audiences’ wants and needs.

One of my favorite audience development quotes is:

Your audience gives you everything you need. They tell you.
There is no director who can direct you like an audience.

-Fanny Brice

When building a website, make sure you have an audience panel to judge it for you.  Have them run through the website to give you feedback on what they like and what is missing for them.  If your website does not provide the information needed and wanted from an audience perspective, why bother having it?

Your audience can direct you to be the best you can be for them, which will translate into more audiences for you.

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Buying my eBook will help you and me!

PS We are starting to dry out, and we have hopes to rebuild our living area next week.  In the meantime, consider donating to my campaign for funding to the Humane Society of Boulder Valley.  Thank you for your support!

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What if your audience was flooded?

As you may know, dear reader, I am from Boulder, CO, and I am going through the disaster from our “Hundred Year Flood.”  My road has been barricaded for the past 5 days.  If I leave, I can’t get back to my house.  My house is currently flooding and we have a wet vac (lent by a friend) and a little Bissell steam carpet cleaner going almost non-stop to keep up with it.  Our food supply keeps going down, and we have no warm water except for what we boil on the stove.

I am thankful for electricity or we probably would have been evacuated.  There is something “romantic” about defending your home, yet it is also extremely exhausting.  I believe I burn my full day’s worth of calories during the day, and I am eating light.  Another benefit, yes, you might lose some weight, but I wouldn’t recommend this type of diet.

I have been thinking though, why haven’t they sent a van through with supplies to the people that are attempting to bail out their houses?  They know that we might need supplies.  They are blocking off the road to try to keep the traffic down to fix the road. The latest is it won’t be open until Wednesday, and they will issue a $1,000 fine if you try to bike/hike out.  Strict safety might be over killing the need for food.

As far as I know, they have sent through the cable and phone services, why not services for supplies?  It makes me feel like our area is not as important as others since we may not be as desperate.  Shouldn’t everyone that is going through hardship though be taken care of?  It would be as easy as setting up a van where friends and family could bring supplies with our address and have the one van deliver an area at a time.

Of course this had me thinking in terms of audience development.  What if your audience was flooded?  Would you ignore one section of the audience in favor for another?  Are you forgetting about a segment of your audience that you haven’t thought about in a while? Are you serving all of your audiences?  You never know who you might be leaving in the lurch.

-Shoshana

 

 

 

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The Moment – Using the moment to build audiences

After a conversation with Pierre-Arnaud Dablemont, a pianist from Brussels, he touched upon the concept of the moment being a core reason why people attend a concert. Has classical music (and the arts) been ignoring this important reason? This was my thinking out loud session about using the moment to build audiences. Thanks, Pierre-Arnaud!

Head to Pierre-Arnaud’s website for more of his brilliant thinking:
www.pierre-arnaud-dablemont.com/

Email subscribers, you will have to click on the link to take you to the blog post.  Thanks so much!

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

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Sold Out Run podcast with me!

Podcast!

On Wednesday I chatted with Clay Mabbitt of Sold Out Run about audience development, my thoughts on A/V content, and how to use audience development for a specific event.  Please enjoy and let us know what you think!

I want to take the opportunity to add to a comment I made in the podcast, which came off as a little bit unthoughtful.  I had mentioned that it is good to know your audiences and their preferences and use this information for your programming.  I stressed that you don’t have to dumb down your programming.  You can still challenge your audiences as long as it is relevant to them.  Then, here is the statement I regret saying:  You don’t have to do musicals all the time.

This podcast was mainly for a theatre based audience.  There have been discussions within this community about programming musicals in order to fill the houses.  I did not mean that musicals are a form of dumbing down your content, although it sounded a little like that and might be perceived as me being insensitive.  What I was pointing out is that you can still program a variety of works to fill the house if you use audience development strategically.

I happen to love a good musical.  And, if your company is all about musicals, then of course, do what you love to do!  Audiences do enjoy musicals.  I hope I have clarified my split section choice of poor wording, and those that might have been offended, please forgive me.

Thanks again for being you, and have a great weekend!

-Shoshana

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“People don’t come because they don’t care.”

An article hit me in the face this morning.  Wham!

Arts: Misreading the declining audience problem

I needed it too.  Despite all the attempts to change the experiences to fit new audiences’ preferences, we do have an underlying problem that we should be focusing on.  Here are a few quotes from this article:

With the turning of the calendar now to September, orchestras and opera companies begin their new seasons and a simmering anxiety about declining audiences bedevils executives and their boards.

Inevitably some organizations act on the widespread but generally erroneous assumption that people don’t attend orchestra concerts because of the formalities of the concert hall, the ways in which patrons dress or behave or because the concert experience itself isn’t “diverse” enough.

Change of attitude

It’s not, however, the experience of attending an orchestra concert that needs modification, as if encouraging patrons to cheer and whistle between the movements of a symphony is all that’s needed for sell-outs. Rather, it’s the public attitude toward orchestral music that needs to be cultivated.

The decline comes not from the formalities of the concert hall experience, but from the erosion of the idea that classical music is worth knowing. People don’t come because they don’t care.

…It will require much more [than pop cross-overs and informal dress and presentation]. It will take a strong conviction that the effort is worth it and the courage to explain the ways in which orchestral music is more richly rewarding than some other musical forms. Such conviction however, is increasingly difficult in today’s egalitarian culture that insists all art forms are of equal value.

Absent that conviction, only the music that’s most aggressively and shamelessly marketed will get into the ears of children. And then not only orchestras will be the losers.

The article sites two instances of audience development efforts being executed successfully to outreach and connect with potential, new audience members.

The underlying issue is that people do not have the benchmark arts as part of their everyday lives anymore, and this is why they don’t care about us.  In order to get people to care, we need to care about taking the time and effort to outreach and show them why our arts matter, and why the arts would matter to them personally.

I have always felt that shifting the experiences and experimenting with new presentations can be used as a gateway to an art form.  As mentioned before, it could be time to evolve in several ways since our world is changing.  I do agree though that informal this and that may not do the trick if the underlying problem of apathy is still there.

This is one of the many reasons why audience development is crucial for today.  It’s not about the spin, it’s about getting people to care again, to realize that the arts can open them to a knew way of thinking and feeling.  It’s about the good stuff of why we are artists in the first place.  Sharing what really matters and outreaching to people that are ripe for this sharing is the way to go.

It’s about getting to know people again, building relationships, and sharing what truly matters, the arts!  So, although I feel it is time to experiment and potentially find some new rhythms of producing arts, it is more crucially important to reach and connect with people again.  This will make all the difference in the world because these efforts will bring care back into the equation.  We certainly want people to care about the arts again.  Right?

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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