Category Archives: Volunteer Management

Quick post – more random thoughts for audience development for the arts

I am off to Austin, TX for a family wedding.  I wanted to post a little something before I leave.  Today I have been thinking a variety of random thoughts due to interactions with people:

  • Are we getting caught up on the words?  I had someone ask about whether I thought “Community Engagement” was overused.  This phrase may be overused, but maybe we need to focus less on the words and more on the actual action of building relationships within our community.  After hearing some other typical phrases over and over, eye rolling can happen.  We need to remember that it is the actual action we take, the people we meet, the people we invite and form friendships with, that is what really matters!
  • Be careful of founder’s syndrome.  Some of us get caught up in a job being ours that when it comes to getting the help we need, sometimes we do not ask for help.  Instead, our thoughts are along the lines that no one else can do it better, so we better keep the job to ourselves.  There are two reasons why it is best to push through founder’s syndrome.  Number one, you will burn yourself out quickly.  Number two, you are missing out on an opportunity to let others get involved, lend their energy, and share a passion for your mission.  Start asking for help and let yourself work with the amazing people that come across your path.
  • Volunteers are special people, so treat them well.  There is an #artsmgtchat happening on Friday that I will have to miss.  The topic is Volunteerism in the Arts.  The best way to find and keep volunteers is to set up a volunteer management program.  Find out how people want to volunteer and contribute and then help them become successful.  Also, it is a good idea to have an incentive thank you program, and to be sure to communicate with them and get their feedback on their preferences for volunteering and benefits.  Happy volunteers are more likely to become loyal volunteers.
  • Big Bird and Binders – The debates have been a little comical, however, we can turn this dramady into action.  Now is the time to start heavily promoting the arts and helping to further the cause of equality for women by serving as good examples (the arts have a little ways to go on this matter).
  • WOM, a friend, an email…I surveyed one of my client’s events that happened last weekend. Again, the majority of people were there because they heard it from someone they knew or from a personal email we sent out.  Audience development works!
  • Time with people is time well spent.  I saw a picture on FB of a group of friends that stack their cell phones on the table so everyone enjoys the time they have with each other, and not with their cell phones.  When is the last time you gave someone your full attention?  Audience development is about connecting with people, and we certainly will not be able to connect fully if we can’t give another person our time.
  • Have a great rest of your week and a fantastic weekend.  I will see you on the flip-side!

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

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

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

My eBook

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Filed under Arts, arts advocacy, arts management, Audience Development, Volunteer Management

Quick observation – Top 10 list of how to manage a successful arts organization

I have been reading several articles about arts organizations that are finishing in the black.  They have these top 10 management directives in common:

1. Their budgets are not overly extravagant.  They are making sure to cover costs and attempt to build a surplus.

2. They are investing in endowments.  All of the articles that I have viewed state that the organization has an endowment and that they attempt to add to this endowment each year.

3. They fundraise constantly and use audience development techniques to convert single buyers and donors into frequent buyers and donors.

4. There is a team of people working together to promote their events, raise the money they need, and to build relationships in their community.  They provide the energy to get this important work done!

5. They are using the 4 C’s of audience development.  They connect with people, become a part of their communities, they collaborate, and they show they care about their audiences.

6. They have an outreach plan and programs.  They get out of their boxes and share with their communities.

7. They have a strong volunteer program and work with volunteers to cut costs for what they need to get done.

8.  They are frugal where they can be – they turn off the lights and don’t overspend on supplies.

9. There is a good relationship between artists and administration/boards.

10. They produce quality art for their potential and existing audiences.

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

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

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

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, Audience Development, Fundraising, Volunteer Management

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

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

Audience development and keeping your volunteers happy from the start

So, I signed up online to volunteer for a nonprofit in my area.  I received a form letter beginning with “Hello!”  The volunteer sign-up form had my name as the first field.  Why didn’t they use my name?  Did they want to start off on the foot that I didn’t matter as a unique person?  They do want me to volunteer, right?

I am amazed at how many organizations that are in need of volunteers actually do not treat their volunteers as well as they could, and often they start off on the wrong foot.  Keeping volunteers happy from the beginning is of major importance for many reasons.  For one, they will be doing work that is needing to be done for free (you want and need their help).  Secondly, because they now have an inside look at your organization, their new perceptions can be extremely helpful or harmful.  In this day and age of social media and having 200+ friends alerted to our thoughts throughout the day, it could take only a few people saying something good or bad to have it spread like gangbusters.

Yes, keeping volunteers happy takes a little bit of time and effort, but having people that will actually do good and spread the good word for you is well worth those extra few seconds to address them as a person. Treat your volunteers with respect and gratitude right from the start and you will be happy too.

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

Join us for our next webinar:
March 16th – Noon ET

Working with Mobile Technology to Develop Your Audience
With the rapid adoption of web-enabled cell phones, smartphones and tablet computers, what options are available to arts professionals who want to engage their audiences via mobile devices? How can artists and organizations implement these options cost effectively without taking focus away from the art?

        

Shoshana Fanizza, Audience Development Specialists
Co-hosted with David Dombrosky, Chief Marketing Officer, InstantEncore
Co-produced with David Weuste, Rosebrook Classical

To Register: Click Here! 

**********************

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 management, Audience Development, Volunteer coordination, Volunteer Management, volunteering

Audience development for the arts end of year a-musings (Part I)

Today I have been thinking about the year 2010. With all the “Best in 2010” articles floating around, it can’t be helped.  In the near future, I will be sifting through my tweets to find the best tweets for the 2010 Audience Development Twitter Awards.  At this moment though, I have been giving much thought to New Year’s resolutions.

2010 is nearing the end and a bright and shiny 2011 is due any day now.  What would you do differently next year?  What new ideas, programs will you want to implement? In terms of audience development, here is my “best of” advice to my fellow artists and arts organizations:

  1. Find your niche!  I cannot stress this enough. With all the new artists and arts organizations popping up, it is extremely important now to differentiate yourself from everyone else.  If you have not discovered your niche, ask yourself the following questions. What do you do better than anyone else?  What is your main focus? If others have similar missions, what makes you different from them?  In a world of saturation, you need to define what makes you special.  This defining will help get you in touch with others that relate to your niche.
  2. Brand yourself correctly so the right audience can find you.  After discovering your niche, make sure your brand matches and helps promote your niche.  It is time to individualize your marketing.  In my humble opinion, the reason why some artists and arts organizations get overlooked is due to the fact that their branding is just like everyone else’s.  I see the same old types of photographs, messages, missions and programs that everyone else is doing.  No wonder people may think the arts are not new and exciting!  It is time to be the artists that we are, creative individuals that push beyond the status quo.  Let yourself be brilliant and brand yourself so there is no doubt as to who you really are.
  3. Put the passion back into everything you do.  It is such a buzz kill to hear artists belly aching about not being recognized, not being paid enough, not selling enough, not having enough gigs… Guess what?  The audience can pick up on these vibes.  We need to ask ourselves again – Why am I creating art in the first place?  We need to put the passion back into creating and enjoying our art.  This positive vibe will also be perceived by the audience and will translate into positive actions.  Let’s be completely honest.  Maybe the arts are suffering due to lackluster offerings.  Maybe we are lackluster since our passion has been replaced by righteousness or the “we deserve better” act.  Art comes from the soul.  Without passion, the soul cannot produce high quality art.  With passion, the soul will be joyful and create offerings that other souls will be drawn to.
  4. Don’t be afraid to ask for support.  All artists and arts organizations need support, but many of us are afraid to ask for it.  Why?  I had a discussion yesterday about this very point.  I came to the conclusion that the reason we may have trouble asking is that we do not define our art in terms of a tangible product.  Maybe this needs to change.  The arts (proven time and time again) have many beneficial gifts for our society.  They benefit the individual and our communities.   This means that the arts can be defined in a tangible sense.  The arts are worth supporting due to these benefits.  Do yourself a favor and get over being shy of asking for support.  You have a product that is worthy of support.  Define all the benefits of your art and make it easy for someone to relate to the reasons why your art is worth investing in.
  5. After you realize you are worthy of support, ask in a personal manner.  This is the other reason why people may not be supporting your art.  You need to ask personally!  We as individuals are inundated with donation requests.  Sending a form letter is going to end up with all the other form letters, “filed” in the trash mainly.  The reason people give to one particular cause over another is when they feel connected with the cause.  Connect with people again and ask them personally for support.  If you know so and so, don’t send them the same old form letter, write a personal ask to them or take them out for coffee.  Form letters are not working anymore, and we have been hiding behind them due to our fears of asking for support.  Get up the courage to relate personally again.  You will find all the support you need this way.
  6. Collaborate more! Due to the saturation point and the economy, we need to collaborate more, not less.  We need to get over the mentality that there is not enough to go around and instead share in the bounty that is here.  I want to challenge you to find at least one creative collaboration for 2011 and put your passion into it. Take the time to look around you and see how we can help support each other!
  7. Discover the talent that is in your own back yard to expand your resources.  I hear people talk about capacity issues, but there is an easy solution.  I could get in trouble for discussing this one, but I feel that we are too hung up on qualifications and letters after our names.  Of course, if you need to see a doctor you want a qualified one.  I myself am applying to an Arts Administration Master’s program next year to give myself a little more polish.  However, the talents of individuals can go unnoticed and unused due to this mentality.  For example, I was looking for a graphic design artist.  I interviewed several for the job.  There were some that had the fancier degrees and some that didn’t.  I actually ended up hiring a person that was intelligent and talented, someone without the fancier degree.  You see, education is important, but so are the individual gifts, talents and experiences that we have.  Do not overlook someone simply based on credentials.  Do not place someone strictly based on credentials either.  Instead, take the time to discover that person’s individual gifts and how they can be useful.

To be continued tomorrow…

 

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

Workshops are available!

Does your arts organization or artists group need some new energy?  Our workshops can generate enthusiasm for audience development.

Contact us for more information!

Hourly Phone Sessions – Do you have a question about audience development or need feedback or advice on a project or challenge?  ADS can help!

Donate to the Audience Development Specialists Grant Fund!

YouTube Gallery – Do you have an amazing way you use YouTube to promote your art?  Let ADS know, and you might see your YouTube highlighted on our new gallery!

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Filed under arts management, arts marketing, Audience Development, Volunteer Management

Putting the Care into audience development

I have not posted about the 4th C of audience development in a while which is Care.  In order to build a happy and loyal audience, we need to show that we care about our audience members.  I would like to share a personal story that can relate.

My family was one of the families that was evacuated during the Fourmile Canyon Fire in Boulder, CO.  We had to take our three cats to the Humane Society of Boulder Valley.  I was so grateful that my cats had a place to stay while we were at a friends’ house (cat allergies and dogs prevented us from bringing the cats).

I decided to visit my cats every day to show them they were still cared for.  I think these visits helped them feel a little less scared.  It made me think about the Care in audience development.  Are you “visiting” your audience when they are not with you?  Are you following up to make sure they are cared for?  They may scare away if they are not cared for.

The perks of me visiting my cats every day were many.  My cats were a little more comfortable due to these visits.  I brought some food for them and gave them some stretch time away from their cages.  Being there every day opened me up to volunteering an hour or so to help out during a time extra help was needed, which of course made me happy to do something kind for their kindness.  Lastly, my kitties became momentarily famous since we were available for an interview for our local paper.

I tend to believe that Care can be the bringer of good opportunities when we open this door of audience development.  Imagine what happy and satisfied audience members can bring!

So how do you put more Care into audience development?  Here is a top 10 list:

1.Provide solid follow-up if they need support.

2. Implement changes to the best of your ability that will make them more comfortable.

3. Give them an outstanding experience – high quality.

4. Thank them before, during, and after the event.

5. Give them your enthusiasm and passion for your art – Care about your art is contagious.

6. Ask for their opinions -get their feedback and show them you have listened.

7. Provide impeccable customer service before, during, and after the event.

8. Build a relationship with them. Let them have center stage at times by listening to their life stories.

9. Ask them to get involved in ways that they are comfortable and wanting to get involved.

10. Find a way to do something special for them – send a birthday greeting, special coupon or gift to show your appreciation.

Adding Care to your audience development will add so much more.  Most of the time I find that adding Care adds audience!

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza
Audience Development Specialists
http://www.buildmyaudience.com
Facebook/twitter /E-mazing Newsletter /Blog

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

Workshops are available!

Does your arts organization or artists group need some new energy?  Our workshops can generate enthusiasm for audience development.

Contact us for more information!

Hourly Phone Sessions – Do you have a question about audience development or need feedback or advice on a project or challenge?  ADS can help!

Donate to the Audience Development Specialists Grant Fund!

YouTube Gallery – Do you have an amazing way you use YouTube to promote your art?  Let ADS know, and you might see your YouTube highlighted on our new gallery!

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Audience development and the name game

Name (from dictionary.com): –noun

1.a word or a combination of words by which a person, place, or thing, a body or class, or any object of thought is designated, called, or known.

When we are born, one of the first tasks of a parent is to name their newborn.  Parents usually put much consideration into naming their children.  There are books and websites with a plethora of choices because names have meaning, names are an identification for a lifetime, the choice is important.  At times a name can be a cherished heirloom handed down from generation to generation, our namesakes are special to us.  Our name, in one sense, is a brand for life.  We can change our name legally, but most of us become attached to the name our parents give to us.

Well then,  how does a name relate or translate to audience development?  One of the 4 C’s of audience development is “Caring,” and the quickest and easiest way to show you care about your patrons is to make sure you know their name – to remember their name, how to pronounce it and spell it correctly.  Learning someone’s name is the beginning to building relationships with people so it is important to get the name right.

I have been posting every once in a while the audience development tip of the day: learn their name and make sure you spell and pronounce their name correctly.  I thought it was time to finally expand upon this so there is no confusion as to why this seemingly common sense tip is a big deal.   Let me give you a few examples.

When I was a box office manager, actually in any of my sales/customer service positions, I made it a point to get to know my customers and to learn their names.  One day during a major subscription drive, we were dealing with close to 500 different patrons.  One of our patrons preferred to come in to renew his subscription.  I had met him after one of the concerts the year before.  I greeted him with, “Hi Bob!  Are you here to renew your subscription?”  He looked at me in awe and exclaimed, “Wow!  You remembered my name!”  We went on to have a conversation about his programming tastes, and I helped him choose the best subscription for him.  I also found out about his main hobby, which translated into a nice item for our silent auction later in the year.  This conversation, subscription sale (an upgrade from his original plans), and his increased involvement via a silent auction donation all occurred due to the fact that I remembered his name!

In terms of pronouncing and spelling names correctly, I will share another personal story.  With so many communications coming at us, our name spelled incorrectly is an easy filter to not bother with that piece of information.  My name, Shoshana, is often mispronounced and misspelled.  Most of the time it can be quite amusing, but at times when people are approaching me to ask me to become more involved or to donate, I am not amused.  Most people aren’t.  If our name is misspelled, we zone in on it and feel a little slighted.  If I see an ask letter from an organization that has misspelled my name, I tend to recycle those requests without opening.  If someone continually mispronounces or gets my name wrong, I tend to not want to be supportive with their request.  You see, if you do not care enough to get the name right, one of our biggest identifications in life, then it is showing that you do not care about the person.  The person will not want to donate or become more involved if you are unable to get the easy task done of spelling their name correctly.   Not spelling their name correctly will show that you only care about what you can get from the person.  If you have name mistakes on your list and they are not corrected, it is communicating that these people are only a number to you.  Names matter due to our identification with our names.

Getting someone’s name right is important in any form of communication.  Misspelling a name in an email or even a Twitter DM will be noticed by the person.  The person can communicate that you misspelled their name, but if you become savvy to the error, don’t be shy and apologize for the error.  It will show that you do care enough to notice and correct.  Our names are important to us.  Let’s show others we care by getting their names right!

It may take some time and energy, but a great way to connect with your patrons is to simply pick up the phone or send a more personalized letter asking them for proper spellings.  When you are meeting people, take the time to not only learn peoples’ names, but how to properly pronounce them.  Learning someone’s name correctly can open the door to bigger and better opportunities.  If you do not have a good memory for names, you can use little mnemonic tricks such as associating something about their physical appearance with their name.  Getting someone’s name right shows that you care, and they will be more interested in you and your communications (your needs) in return.

So the next time you are doing a mailing or meeting people, play the name game.  You will get extra bonus points for getting the name right!

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza
Audience Development Specialists
http://www.buildmyaudience.com
Facebook/twitter /E-mazing Newsletter /Blog

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

New Services!

Hourly Phone Sessions – Do you have a question about audience development or need feedback or advice on a project or challenge?  ADS can help!

Donate to the Audience Development Specialists Grant Fund!

YouTube Gallery – Do you have an amazing way you use YouTube to promote your art?  Let ADS know, and you might see your YouTube highlighted on our new gallery!

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