Category Archives: Online fundraising

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

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

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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Audience Development for the Arts & the future of crowdfunding

Today for my guest blog post, I came across a post with some interesting information about the future of crowdfunding. Enjoy!

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Crowdfunding
by Grace Williams
April 23, 2012

I read an article by Craig Newman on Crowdfunding this week. Before I read this article, I was not really familiar with the term “crowdfunding.” I assumed it was referring to fundraising efforts such as Kickstarter. However, Kickstarter doesn’t really bring in serious investors since your return is just the incentives given with specific dollar amounts. This speaks more to investment opportunities in which you get an actual financial return. Bills are apparently making their way through the House of Representatives and the Senate that will allow investors to buy small businesses’ stock online. The article speaks to the great opportunities that come from this, but also cautions readers that it could be used to defraud investors.

I see the great opportunities that could potentially come from the passage of this bill, not just for small businesses, but for the entertainment industry as well. The latest Broadway production of the musical Godspell was funded in entirety by small donations from individuals. This allowed the production to focus more on the artistic side of the production instead of worrying so much about what the investors would think. However, this process could have been streamlined with the passage of these bills making their way through the House of Representatives and the Senate. Instead of donating money, they would be investing. Instead of just getting their name listed in the playbill, individuals across the country could see a return on their investment. Record companies could also fund projects by enlisting the help of the general public. Upon further research, I saw that this bill has been passed. Hopefully the government will be able to regulate the investments to keep investors from being defrauded. It will be interesting to see how this progresses in the next year. [:O)]

Grace Williams is a senior at the University of Southern Mississippi pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Entertainment Industry Management. She hopes to someday be a part of this great wide world of theatrical management. She is passionate about live entertainment.

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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

Although we are not a non-profit, if you would like to support ADS to continue our work, you can donate here.

My eBook

New eBook!  The How of  Audience Development for the Arts: Learn the Basics, Create Your Plan

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How to choose the right ticketing solution for arts audience development

This week I was truly a happy audience development geek when I found Capterra’s ticket software filter.  If you are looking for a ticketing solution, this filter is the best for discovering what you can get for your budget.  Instead of being caught up in the better marketing of some companies, you can now compare features to features to find exactly what you need!

A ticketing program is very important when it comes to audience development.  In fact, it is more important than people realize.  Your ticketing system can either help you or harm you when it comes to audience development.  It is best to have a system where you can track and segment to reach the right people for each particular show or event.  I also feel it is important that the system can track your efforts.  I am a big fan of having the system be able to handle your fundraising and membership tasks as well.  The more you can get closer to an “all-in-one” system, the better off you will be.

It used to be that a system of this nature cost a ton of money.  Only the bigger organizations could afford to buy.  The good news is that during my research for smaller to mid-size organizations (and budgets), I found a list of very affordable solutions that are feature rich and could translate into fantastic audience development opportunities if used to the solutions’ potential.

Here is the list of requirements I wanted for under $7,000, 2-9 users, and Windows/Web based/Mac capable:

  • Barcode / Ticket Scanning (94) – This is important so we can finally start tracking who is showing up!
  • Box Office POS (90)
  • CRM Integration (59)
  • Custom Ticket Designs (83) – It allows you a place for sponsor logos & invites for upcoming shows.
  • Customer Data Collection (89)
  • Customer Database (95)
  • Customizable Branding (87) – A must for audience development.
  • Customizable Fields (94) – Another must for audience development!
  • Customizable Reporting (93)
  • Data Import/Export (103)
  • Database Integration (80)
  • Demographic Data (67)
  • Fundraising (56) – Remember the all-in-one ultimate goal!
  • Installation Support (86)
  • Membership Management (64) – You can handle sponsorship levels with this feature on most solutions!
  • No Fixed Fee (60)
  • Online Ticketing (98)
  • Onsite Ticketing (91)
  • Print-at-Home Fulfillment (90)
  • Remote / Kiosk Sales (70)
  • Reporting (105)
  • Reserved Seating (81)
  • Reserved Ticketing (86)
  • VIP & Discount Tickets (93)
  • Volunteer Management (18) – ChoiceCRM & Glitnir only for this search!  I hope more solutions add this soon.

One feature I decided to cancel on my search was “Online User Selects Seats.”  This would be a nice feature, but if you are budget conscious, I think for now it is best to think of all the other features first.  If they need exact seats, they can call.

I must say that I am not endorsing one over the other, although I have my opinions.  Here is the list of all the ticketing solutions I found that had these features (in order of Capterra’s list, not mine):

logo for Box Office Software

Glitnir Ticketing – Glitnir Ticketing System

2 reviews

[Learn more]

TICKETsage – TICKETsage Custom Solutions

6 reviews

Box Office Solutions (Hardware and Software).  [Learn more]

If you are windows or web based only, there were a few more ticketing solutions in this price range that came up. If you are on a really tight to non-existent budget, I really liked PrimeTix for the lowest costs.  If you want audience development features that a Brown Paper Tickets or EventBrite solution does not have, I would say this is a great alternative to start building relationships with your audience members:

[Learn more]

In my opinion, a ticketing solution needs to be user friendly, have the ability to track your efforts, be customizable when it comes to the data you input (and export), and be able to keep as much of your organizational functions in one system as possible.  Having fundraising, membership, and volunteer management combined with your ticketing, makes sense to me.  You need the ability to capture a complete picture of your audience members in order to be able to build the best relationships with them.  This is why choosing your ticketing solution is important and well worth the time spent on getting it right!

PS  I have spoken to a few of these services. Look for more volunteer management and class management additions on the horizon!

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

Although we are not a non-profit, if you would like to support ADS to continue our work, you can donate here.

My eBook

New eBook!  The How of  Audience Development for the Arts: Learn the Basics, Create Your Plan

Leave a comment

Filed under Arts, arts management, arts marketing, Audience Development, fund raising, Fundraising, Online fund raising, Online fundraising, Volunteer coordination, Volunteer Management

50 Winning Tweets from the 2011 NAMPC (many about audience development)

There are still some tweets and such floating around after the National Arts Marketing Project Conference – Winning Audiences.  Today I saw another tweet about the 50 Winning Tweets from the 2011 NAMPC.  I not only enjoyed the collection of tweets, but the format via Issuu, a free online publication program, is worth the mention too.

Enjoy!

Click Here to view what I am talking about!

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,
Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

The Quarterly E-Newsletter is scheduled to go out in two weeks!  Sign-up for ADS’ E-Mazing Audience Development newsletter soon.

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

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#NAMPC The National Arts Marketing Project Conference – Winning Audiences Day 2

Part 2 of the adventure unfolds!   Yesterday I felt like my head was still at NAMPC while my body was milling around Boulder, CO.  It was a very strange feeling.  This probably can be attributed to not being able to download the entire experience.  I may never be able to do this, but I will attempt to wrap up some of my thoughts and feelings for day 2 of my conference schedule.

Monday

I wanted to mention the breakfast networking opportunity here.  They provided us with a continental breakfast.  It wasn’t bad, but I was severely missing my protein.  However, the chance to have breakfast with a group of people was delightful!  I met some of the best people here.  It was a more relaxed atmosphere since I forced myself to get up to eat at 8AM (I am not a morning person).   Kudos to the conference for supplying these big tables for a more family style network breakfast session.  One of the people I met was Karin Hensley from the National Storytelling Network.  Since my mom is a storyteller, and we had been to the National Storytelling Festival, we had something to talk about!  You never know who you will meet at breakfast.

9:00 – Engage the Crowd to Do Important Things Like Change the World or Meet Your Revenue

This session hosted by Brian Reich was a little bit of a commercial for his upcoming book and for Kickstarter, but many valuable things were said. The main point is that technology has changed the way we function, and there are ways to embrace this new technology to invite our audiences to become more involved.  The perspective is to make sure you tell your story in a way that will spark interest, and to offer incentives that your audiences would enjoy. The funniest comment was, that if your mom doesn’t want to back your project, you are doing something majorly wrong.

Here are my tweets from this session.

10:30 – Winning Audiences on the Go: Maximizing Engagement through Mobile Apps

I really liked this session since David Dombrosky chose a talk show style format where he asked questions he wanted to know and then walked around the audience taking our questions.  The session became a little bit of a 101 since mobile apps are still new to most of us, but I really enjoyed the examples.  The main message was to make sure your website has a mobile version since more people are using their smartphones to access information – this means that you need to style the information down to a mobile format.  If you are squeezing and scrolling, your mobile site is all wrong.  Also, some apps are meant more for branding purposes than for information.  The Royal Opera House chose to do a game app called “The Show Must Go On.”  This app is a little educational to the backstage aspects of putting on a show, but mainly it is for entertainment and to get their brand out.

Here are my tweets from this session.

12:00 Plenary Lunch: Oliver Uberti

For me, this was the most incredible speech of the entire conference.  Oliver Uberti is a remarkable person with an incredible gift.  He is a curious individual that can’t help creating wonderful art, and he is inspired by the world of people around him.  He connects with people to make the impossible, possible.  The main message he gave us is to honor the people that are in your life and connect with them to help each other on your journeys.  He showed us his people connection chart, which completely blew me away that he took the time to figure all of it out.  The arts message was to make sure you can tell your story in as little as one image to bring your stories to life. He gave us several examples of the stories behind the final story photo so we can see that it takes time and effort to come up with excellence.  In his quiet way, he served as an example for all of us to reach for something better.  After his presentation, the room was very quiet for a few moments before the applause started.  It took a little while before someone had the courage to ask a question.  My new friend Greg Fiedler of the Greater Flint Arts Council asked about his spiritual background in order to understand how Oliver became Oliver.   It was the question that was on my mind as well.  How do you become such an amazing human being?

This was a presentation that my phone conked out so no tweets were tweeted.  I was very glad since I was able to absorb this speech the old fashioned way with my full attention.  Every moment was special and worth it!

You can view the presentation here: Livestream/NAMPC.

Before the presentation, I chatted with Bill Nix from the Palm Beach County Cultural Council.  Florida was definitely represented at this conference (Minnesota too).  Bill was gracious to tell me about his collaborative projects.  I hope to get more information in the near future since we traded business cards.

1:45 The New Customer Service: Customizing Arts Experiences for Your Audiences

This session had a challenge of rising up after the Uberti presentation.  They did a fairly good job.  Katryn Geane from Jacob’s Pillow Dance really knows how to engage her audience.  It was refreshing to laugh several times during this session.  It was a well put together presentation with a strong message that you need to go the extra mile for your audiences.  To me, this message is a no brainer, but it is a message that constantly needs to be repeated.  Sometimes we tend to get lazy.  With the new technologies of the day, we really don’t have an excuse.

Here are my tweets from this session (a few are about the plenary after my phone recovered).

3:30 One-to-One Coaching Sessions

I was one of the coaches at these sessions, and I was delighted to speak with four people from very different organizations.  Each situation was unique, but the overall impression I wanted each of them to carry away with is: get to know your audiences to lead you to your audience development programs.  It is time to have focus groups again, social opportunities to meet them in person, customer service that follows up with them, branding that will attract them and databases that capture valuable profile information to cater your marketing specifically to them. It is also time to start outreach efforts so you can meet your potential audiences.  The advice for audience relations programs were different for each person who came to see me, but the bottom line messages I just shared were the same.

5:15 Lightening Rounds of Research

I must say that I was completely brain dead after giving my all to my coaching sessions.  I spent about 5 minutes in this presentation, and I realized I had plenty already to think about.  Plus, this session was not particularly engaging since they were mainly spouting off their research numbers.  I left and found someone interesting to talk to, Drew McManus.  Drew was someone I wanted to meet, and this conference made it possible.  We had a pretty in-depth conversation about the orchestra industry.  Finding out that he is from my hometown area, I’m sure I will meet up with him again for many more enlightening discussions.  The conference proved that it really is a small world.  He knew some of the same people even though I moved from the area during the time he moved in.  My roommate’s cousin-in-law happens to work with my sister.  Strange coincidences, but fascinating to feel connected.

There were Dine-Around opportunities, but I opted for a quiet dinner with my roommate.  We were both utterly exhausted.  Watching some television helped me to unwind a bit too.  I couldn’t think another marketing thought if I tried.  Well, at least until I attempted to get some sleep.   Tomorrow morning was my presentation, and it was playing around in my head all night long.

The next blog will be my last day and final impressions.  Stay tuned for the final day!

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

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Choosing the right Crowdfunding is good Audience Development

Crowdfunding has become a viable resource for raising the funds that you need as an artist and arts organization for your particular projects.  It is also a great audience development tool.  With crowdfunding, you are asking for support from your audience, and it is a great way to find out who in your audience is ready to become more involved with supporting your art!

I was researching for a client to find the right crowdfunding resource for her specific project and set of circumstances.  You may have heard of Kickstarter, RocketHub, IndieGoGo, but have you heard of some of the lesser known such as ChipIn, GoFundMe, and Kapipal?  But wait, there is more!  I found the motherload of crowdfunding lists today, and yes, I am going to share it with you (all sources that are mentioned are on this list).

Welcome to The Crowdfunding Wiki!

There are so many sources out there for specific needs.  There are options that are specific to the type of artist you are (film, music, play production). Some of these resources are strictly for non-profits while some are open to all individuals with project ideas and needs.  Some have time limitations and other limitations such as needing to make your goal before you collect any of the funds, but some don’t have strict limitations.  Some charge for the service, but get this, some are actually free to use (minus processing fees for PayPal).

With all the options out there, how do you figure out which source is best for you or your organization?  I would start by making a list of your needs. You may want to consider the following:

1. Are there age, location restrictions?
2. What are the fees or is it free?
3. Can you collect using a variety of currencies?
4. Do you need a PayPal account or not?
5. Are there limitations to how much you can raise?
6. Do you need to raise the full goal amount to receive the money or not?  Are there extra fees if not?
7. Are there limitations on time limits for raising funds?
8. Do you need to set up gifts for levels of donations? You will need to budget if so.
9. Can anyone use the resource or is it strictly for 501c3 nonprofits?
10. Can you use the money right away or do you need to wait for the deadline? Some resources allow you to use funds right away!
11. Do they have resources to help you spread the word: website, widgets, FB, Twitter, YouTube capabilities?
12. Is it easy for your donor to use?

For example,  my client, who happens to be an international musician, she needed a source that could handle different types of currencies and the ability to use without any address restrictions (since some require you to live in a certain region to use).  We also needed a resource that did not require prizes at each level to cut down on overhead costs.  Lastly, we were hoping to find a resource that was free to use, but still had the ease of connecting with social media and the ability to use digital media to outreach.  After researching this long list, I was able to narrow it down to two possibilities that fit her exact requirements.

For organizations and artists with long term goals, there are some interesting ones out there.  One that I found that has great potential is Give.fm.  This site allows donors to micro-give by increments as minimal as $.10 a day.  They can create a portfolio of causes to give to or simply give a certain amount to one main cause.  This site allows anyone at any income to donate to your cause.  It does cost $5/month/campaign, but for $60, it looks like there is potential to raise more than enough to cover that and your projects.

There are simply too many resources out there to cover all of them in this little ol’ blog, but if you make your list and check it twice, you can research to find the exact crowdfunding resource that will be user friendly for your supporters in order for them to help make your projects come to life!

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

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Filed under Audience Development, fund raising, Fundraising, Online fund raising, Online fundraising