Tag Archives: arts funding

Audience development for the arts – #Auddev chat 3/23 – Professional/Amateur audience perceptions

For our Monday Moment, take a moment to look at the #auddev chat we had on Friday, 3/23.  We were having a discussion about professional/amateur audience perceptions.  Do audiences perceive the differences?  Are they willing to pay more for “professional?”  How do we define “professional” vs. “amateur” anyway?  Why are some amateur companies funded as well as professional groups?  If “professional” means being paid, how do we factor in “guest artists” into the equation?  There were other questions and issues that came up as well.  One of the questions that didn’t come up is why are some “amateur” groups doing better than “professional” groups in terms of audience and funding? and Why are they considered in the same pool for various grants?  Should they be separately funded?  They are all “non-profits” despite “professional” or “amateur.”

What is your stance on these issues?  Please feel free to comment in the reply box below!

From User Tweet
AudienceDevSpec Welcome to #auddev chat! Today I am here with @maricarjagger events organisation and marketing professional out of Portsmouth, UK.
AudienceDevSpec Hi @maricarjagger #auddev
AudienceDevSpec Please use the hashtag #auddev to chat with us.
RachealMc MT @audiencedevspec: Welcome to #auddev chat! I’m here with @maricarjagger events organisation & marketing profess. out of Portsmouth, UK.
AudienceDevSpec The main question is: Do people differentiate going to professional vs amateur performances? #auddev
RachealMc RT @audiencedevspec: Please use the hashtag #auddev to chat with us.
AudienceDevSpec RT @maricarjagger: Yes. The question is whether we should differentiate between amateur and professional events through pricing. #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @maricarjagger So, meaning that the price of professional should reflect a higher price? #auddev
RachealMc RT @audiencedevspec: The main question is: Do people differentiate going to professional vs amateur performances? #auddev
AudienceDevSpec Right now I think there is all sorts of murky blur lines happening between “professional” and “amateur”. #auddev
THEATREtc RT @RachealMc: RT @audiencedevspec: The main question is: Do people differentiate going to professional vs amateur performances? #auddev
RachealMc @audiencedevspec That’s recently come up here in Toronto with a vengeance. #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @RachealMc Can you give me an example? #auddev
RachealMc @audiencedevspec Our Actor’s Assn attempted a protest of one of our largest production companies over bringing in a non-union tour #auddev
Silagh Yes, audiences do have different perceptions between professional and amateur productions. #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @RachealMc Yes, the Union issue comes into play in this discussion. Were they charging the same ticket price too? #auddev
maricarjagger RT @AudienceDevSpec: Please use the hashtag #auddev to chat with us.
AudienceDevSpec What also gets blurry is who is to define who is professional and who is amateur. #auddev
RachealMc @silagh they do have different perceptions, but the question is what classifies amateur vs. professional? #Auddev
JessieRelephant RT @AudienceDevSpec: The main question is: Do people differentiate going to professional vs amateur performances? #auddev
maricarjagger @AudienceDevSpec @RachealMc I didn’t event think of the Union as part of the equation! Interesting #auddev
AudienceDevSpec There are companies that say they are professional, but the quality may not be. Will the audiences know the difference? #auddev
Silagh Some audiences expect lots of parents with video cameras at amateur performances. Even if not kids in show. #auddev
RachealMc @audiencedevspec In the US being non-union does not automatically mean amateur, but it does here and the stigma’s huge. #auddev
RachealMc Absolutely. RT @maricarjagger: @AudienceDevSpec Should we price a professional show more than an amateur show? #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @RachealMc Wow, so in Canada there actually is a standard based on “Union”? #auddev
RachealMc @audiencedevspec 100%. #auddev
maricarjagger @AudienceDevSpec @RachealMc We were discussing recently whether a ‘professional musician’ necessarily one who has a degree in music #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @RachealMc The lines completely blur in the US. I have been to amateur performances in one city that are professional in others #auddev
RachealMc @audiencedevspec Yes, they were charging a comparable ticket price. #auddev
RachealMc @audiencedevspec It becomes trickier because it was originally a US union tour & got downgraded before it arrived here. #Auddev
AudienceDevSpec @RachealMc How does one get into the Union then? Are there quality standards or just a fee to pay? #auddev
RachealMc @maricarjagger @AudienceDevSpec @RachealMc some of the most gifted & skilled musicians I know don’t. #auddev
maricarjagger @AudienceDevSpec @RachealMc I suppose there lies the difficulty with pricing! #auddev
AudienceDevSpec Will an audience member choose a higher price ticket for the perceived extra quality? #auddev
RachealMc @audiencedevspec When I lived in Miami it was like that, same for my experience in Houston. #Auddev
AudienceDevSpec @maricarjagger @RachealMc I have seen the same pricing for amateur/professional. #auddev
RachealMc Great question. RT @audiencedevspec: Will an audience member choose a higher price ticket for the perceived extra quality? #auddev
AudienceDevSpec This also relates to grants and other funding as well. #auddev
clydefitch Pivots on what “extra quality” is, no? MT @audiencedevspec: Will audiences choose higher price tickets for perceived extra quality? #auddev
RachealMc @audiencedevspec It’s much easier to get into CAEA than AEA. I got in with a letter. Many ADs won’t even look at a non Eq resume. #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @clydefitch So defining quality is an issue as well. #auddev
RRCreative RT @AudienceDevSpec: Will an audience member choose a higher price ticket for the perceived extra quality? #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @RachealMc Union is a matter of having a company claim they are professional? #auddev
AudienceDevSpec I do feel a professional company has the choice of pricing higher than their local amateur company. We pay more in other industries. #auddev
AudienceDevSpec It gets tricky when amateur companies price on the higher side, then the professional company may be pricing too high for audience. #auddev
maricarjagger RT @AudienceDevSpec: Will an audience member choose a higher price ticket for the perceived extra quality? #auddev
AudienceDevSpec I know that professional companies that I consider professional get frustrated when amateurs call themselves professional. #auddev
AudienceDevSpec RT @maricarjagger: A concert by a world renowned chamber group £15 & last week a local piano teacher charges £15 for her concert. #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @maricarjagger Was the chamber group upset by this? #auddev
maricarjagger A concert by a world renowned chamber group is £15 here and last week a local piano teacher charges £15 for her concert. #auddev
AudienceDevSpec Some Unions require an audition to get in, but some are fee based from what I am seeing/hearing. #auddev
maricarjagger @AudienceDevSpec As a promoter, I was! We were careful to make sure the prices are affordable, but what is affordable? #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @maricarjagger Most reports point out that $25 or under is “affordable”. People will pay more for what they want. #auddev
AudienceDevSpec What is also interesting is sometimes the amateur groups get more of an audience than the professional ones. #auddev
RachealMc MT @maricarjagger: @AudienceDevSpec …We were careful to make sure the prices are affordable, but what is affordable? #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @clydefitch An amateur group can have a star show up too. #auddev
clydefitch @audiencedevspec Also, wouldn’t you agree “extra value” varies (or differs) by genre, setting, time of year, magnitude? #auddev
maricarjagger @AudienceDevSpec That begs the question whether less people will want it if the event is more expensive? #auddev
RachealMc @audiencedevspec @maricarjagger That is a key question. #auddev
RachealMc @maricarjagger @AudienceDevSpec I’ve worked with companies where the gross over spending & wastage is sickening. #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @maricarjagger That is a major question to consider. People will spend money on what they value. #auddev
AudienceDevSpec I think it is about asking your audience for their perceptions before you price. What is worth it to them? #auddev
RachealMc @maricarjagger @AudienceDevSpec The costs are then passed on to the audience & they wonder why people complain of high prices. #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @RachealMc @maricarjagger So some professional companies don’t have to price as high if not wasteful. Good point! #auddev
maricarjagger @AudienceDevSpec I’m sure they will value something they know well and that means ‘touring’ artists cannot win #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @maricarjagger Great point, which is why #auddev is so important so they get to know!
maricarjagger In the case of the local pianist I do realise there’s an element of ‘who you know’ determining attendance. #auddev
RachealMc @audiencedevspec @RachealMc @maricarjagger I think we all need to be realistic about the economy & spending patterns. #auddev
AudienceDevSpec So the audience needs to perceive as valuable to them and see the value in the extra cost of the ticket. #auddev
AudienceDevSpec I do wish there were more standards for “professional” “amateur”. Being subjective, it may never happen. #auddev
maricarjagger @AudienceDevSpec Are we saying that cultural offering need some longevity to afford time for audience development? #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @maricarjagger I’m not sure I completely understand your question. #auddev
AudienceDevSpec Join us for #auddev chat!
maricarjagger @AudienceDevSpec Audience development needs time, right? #auddev
dloehr @AudienceDevSpec The reason my theatre co. uses “professional” is simply to distinguish between hobby & vocation. We also tour. #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @melissaimpact Interesting, so now we have more labels in the mix. LOL! #auddev
RachealMc RT @audiencedevspec: I do wish there were more standards for “professional” “amateur”. Being subjective, it may never happen. #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @dloehr Do we have a list to define professional vs. amateur though. Couldn’t an amateur company tour. If they get a little pay…#auddev
melissaimpact @AudienceDevSpec While not a fan of over-labeling, I think this one fills a definite need & eliminates some confusion. #auddev
AudienceDevSpec I see some professional companies say they are community oriented, which also gets a little tricky. #auddev
maricarjagger @AudienceDevSpec @dloehr So your definition is if this is your job (not hobby) then you are a professional? #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @melissaimpact Semi-pro is a label in the music world that is similar. #auddev
dloehr @AudienceDevSpec We tour outside of the region, though. Our community group is largely shop owners, people with day jobs… #auddev
melissaimpact @AudienceDevSpec The trickiness lies in the polyvalence of the word “community,” here used in a diff way than “community thtr” #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @maricarjagger @dloehr Right now, people piece together their income, so if they are paid, could be one of their jobs. #auddev
dloehr @AudienceDevSpec …who can’t afford to take the time away from those jobs. #auddev
RachealMc RT @dloehr: @AudienceDevSpec The reason my theatre co. uses “professional” is simply to distinguish between hobby & vocation… #auddev
melissaimpact @dloehr @AudienceDevSpec Other issue is that many working at small thtrs of our own for no/low pay are pros working at larger thtrs #auddev
AudienceDevSpec MT @clydefitch: Often I feel amateur vs. professional = issue for professionals, not amateurs. #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @clydefitch Really great point! #auddev
dloehr @AudienceDevSpec But we try to work with them whenever possible; there’s no class warfare here, just different goals. #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @dloehr I know professionals that can’t afford it either. LOL! #auddev
melissaimpact @dloehr @AudienceDevSpec “Amateur” and “professional” are inaccurate when tied only to pay grade in the arts #auddev
AudienceDevSpec Here’s a monkey wrench, a professional could (and does sometimes) work for an “amateur” company. #auddev
dloehr @AudienceDevSpec @maricarjagger I’m only talking about my town’s community group in terms of touring, btw. #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @clydefitch You can use the #auddev hashtag. You have great points for everyone!
dloehr @melissaimpact @AudienceDevSpec Right. #auddev
maricarjagger @AudienceDevSpec @clydefitch It’s money and income, it’s close to everyone’s heart! #auddev
RachealMc RT @melissaimpact: @dloehr @AudienceDevSpec “Amateur” and “professional” are inaccurate when tied only to pay grade in the arts #auddev
AudienceDevSpec RT @clydefitch Also, what defines amateur/professional? Most professional actors don’t live off their work but never ID as amateur. #auddev
maricarjagger @AudienceDevSpec @clydefitch If you trained for years and pay lots of money for college, do you want to earn less that the hobbyist? #auddev
AudienceDevSpec There are some groups in my town that claim to be pro, but quality wise, they really are not in MHO. #auddev
dloehr @melissaimpact @AudienceDevSpec Tho I didn’t–and don’t–use the term “amateur.” #auddev
maricarjagger @AudienceDevSpec I this case I have no quibble with them if they charge less for tix #auddev
AudienceDevSpec I think it is some of our perception that amateur are “stealing away” from professional that is the basis. Am I right? #auddev
melissaimpact @AudienceDevSpec Not sure you can tie “professional” to quality-All it covers is whether this is your career as opposed to a hobby #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @maricarjagger We would need to first establish who is pro and am and then figure out pricing as an industry. #auddev
RachealMc @audiencedevspec as “Guest Artists” I would say almost all performers have done it here. #auddev
clydefitch @maricarjagger @AudienceDevSpec Obviously not. I’m not celebrating the amateur vs. professional divide, I’m acknowledging it exists. #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @melissaimpact However, there are “amateurs” that can produce professional work. #auddev
melissaimpact @dloehr @AudienceDevSpec Me neither–I think most thtr pros do not. It’s “professional,” “professionally-oriented,” and “community” #auddev
RachealMc @maricarjagger @AudienceDevSpec @clydefitch When I interviewed Brian Dennehy, he said theatre school was… #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @melissaimpact I have performed in some “community” groups that were as good if not better than “professional” #auddev
maricarjagger @AudienceDevSpec and that is difficult to establish and also regulate #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @melissaimpact Don’t they deserve to charge more then? #auddev
dloehr @melissaimpact @AudienceDevSpec Yup. #auddev
RachealMc @maricarjagger @AudienceDevSpec @clydefitch … the absolute worst thing an actor could do. #Auddev
AudienceDevSpec @melissaimpact Oh I agree about the label, but they could charge more because they are awesome! ;O) #auddev
maricarjagger @RachealMc @AudienceDevSpec @clydefitch In a sense you’re right, going to school doesn’t prove you have talents…#auddev
AudienceDevSpec @melissaimpact We were talking about ticket pricing in all this as well though. #auddev
melissaimpact @AudienceDevSpec Pricing isn’t just abt quality or value–often we price low b/c we’re trying to remain accessible. #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @RachealMc So the price of that “guest artist” ticket for the amateur group would go up. #auddev
melissaimpact @AudienceDevSpec Pricing is about accessibility more than quality for most of us, I think #auddev
AudienceDevSpec RT @melissaimpact: @AudienceDevSpec Pricing is about accessibility more than quality for most of us, I think #auddev
melissaimpact @AudienceDevSpec Big pro thtrs make a minority of income as earned, majority as contributed #auddev
RaymondMcNeel @clydefitch @AudienceDevSpec Per the Latin, an amateur does something for “the love”. (Oh, and Charlie Sheen is a professional.) #auddev
RachealMc @audiencedevspec generally, the prices would be the same. The company would budget for the extra costs. #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @maricarjagger @melissaimpact So true! But then, this could make the ticket price equal to the amateur price. #auddev
maricarjagger @melissaimpact @AudienceDevSpec Our prof concerts are accessible by ticket price, but not covering the full cost of the musicians #auddev
melissaimpact @AudienceDevSpec @maricarjagger Pricing more abt marketing than abt income for nonprofit thtrs–majority of their $ is contributed #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @clydefitch @rachealmc @maricarjagger Plus, amateur companies can be non-profit too. #auddev
melissaimpact @maricarjagger @AudienceDevSpec That’s the case for almost every 501c3 arts org in the country. High price isn’t a marker of quality #auddev
melissaimpact @maricarjagger @AudienceDevSpec Low price isn’t marker of amateur. Big co.s use a plethora of price pts, some very low for outreach #auddev
RachealMc @audiencedevspec @clydefitch @maricarjagger As can professional companies up here. #auddev
melissaimpact @AudienceDevSpec @maricarjagger Big LORTs use lprice pts equal to smaller co.s as part of various outreach efforts all the time #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @melissaimpact @maricarjagger So if the price isn’t an indication, which we have established, will the audience get it? LOL! #auddev
melissaimpact @AudienceDevSpec @maricarjagger Will they get what? #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @melissaimpact @maricarjagger The price is the same for both pro and ama. So, will they understand who is who? #auddev
clydefitch @rachealmc @AudienceDevSpec @maricarjagger Curiously, it’s theatre that forever thrashes these issues. Er, amateur folk art, anyone? #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @melissaimpact @maricarjagger We may not see price as a distinguishing value, but our audiences might. #auddev
melissaimpact @AudienceDevSpec @maricarjagger I think that’s true to a certain extent, depending on the marketing & culture of the producing org #auddev
RachealMc RT @audiencedevspec: @melissaimpact @maricarjagger We may not see price as a distinguishing value, but our audiences might. #auddev
melissaimpact @AudienceDevSpec @maricarjagger Big co.s offer luxury exp at high price pt- better seats, etc– outreach at lower price pts. I think #auddev
Becca_E_Smith @RaymondMcNeel @clydefitch @AudienceDevSpec love that, but what abt pros? Is a pro in it for the $ or just some1 who gets paid? #auddev
melissaimpact @AudienceDevSpec @maricarjagger the marketing of the experience is key. Are you there for a luxury exp? Or are you there to #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @Becca_E_Smith @RaymondMcNeel @clydefitch That’s a new kettle of fish there! #auddev
maricarjagger @AudienceDevSpec @clydefitch @rachealmc Ego aside I think the important issue here is whether a pro can compete in the marketplace #auddev
clydefitch @audiencedevspec @RachealMc @maricarjagger No more than boiling complex, nuanced socioeconomic trends to 140-word tweets. #auddev
RachealMc @audiencedevspec @clydefitch @maricarjagger @clydefitch I think ego plays in any industry. #auddev
AudienceDevSpec @maricarjagger I think you just rang the ding, ding, ding bell with that one! #auddev
melissaimpact @AudienceDevSpec @maricarjagger see something cool you can share w/friends? The same big co can offer varying experiences #auddev
clydefitch @audiencedevspec @RachealMc @maricarjagger More seriously, for some it’s totally tied to ego. Others don’t fret about labels. #auddev
melissaimpact @AudienceDevSpec @maricarjagger A GREAT example of this kind of varied experience/varied price point is @berkeleyrep #auddev
melissaimpact @AudienceDevSpec @maricarjagger This convo is so interesting, but I have to go teach! Loathe to leave you brilliant ppl. Thank you! #auddev
AudienceDevSpec I think @clydefitch is right. All labels aside, it is going to come down to what is great & what is good. #auddev
clydefitch @becca_e_smith @RaymondMcNeel @AudienceDevSpec I don’t think pro = monolithic mindset. Tho most people don’t turn down $, generally. #auddev
AudienceDevSpec It’s been a quick, intense and interesting hour at #auddev chat.
AudienceDevSpec Thank you to: @clydefitch @melissaimpact @RachealMc @maricarjagger @Becca_E_Smith @RaymondMcNeel @dloehr for stopping by! #auddev
maricarjagger @melissaimpact We can reconvene the conversation another time with @AudienceDevSpec #auddev
AudienceDevSpec Feel free to keep chatting at #auddev
AudienceDevSpec I will have a transcript of this conversation on my blog Monday morning. #auddev
maricarjagger @AudienceDevSpec @clydefitch @melissaimpact @RachealMc @Becca_E_Smith @RaymondMcNeel @dloehr Thank you all for the eye-opener on #auddev
maricarjagger @AudienceDevSpec Thanks for hosting! #auddev
Becca_E_Smith @AudienceDevSpec thanks for hosting! #auddev
AudienceDevSpec We know that professional and amateur are clearly challenging to define. Price is not the indicative factor either. #auddev
AudienceDevSpec What will ring true is not the labels, but the quality of the work. Everything else is merely technicality in MHO. #auddev ;O)
RachealMc @audiencedevspec @clydefitch @melissaimpact @RachealMc @maricarjagger @Becca_E_Smith @RaymondMcNeel @dloehr Thank you all! #auddev
AudienceDevSpec Whew! That was a fantastic conversation. We now return to our normal #auddev hashtag.
AudienceDevSpec .@maricarjagger Thank you for the topic! #auddev
AudienceDevSpec If you have a topic for #auddev chat, please contact me.
clydefitch Thanks to: @AudienceDevSpec @melissaimpact @RachealMc @maricarjagger @Becca_E_Smith @RaymondMcNeel #auddev #FF
maricarjagger @AudienceDevSpec Fascinating subject and I look forward to more #auddev sessions

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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Audience development diversity, but at what cost?

Let’s pretend it is Welcome Wednesday just for this moment.  Due to my workload, I was not able to post my guest blog that was scheduled.

On Monday I found the following article:

Portland introduces new diversity goals for local arts and culture groups seeking public funds http://bit.ly/zgoefv.

This article has caused a bit of discussion.  Mainly, most of us are in favor of promoting diversity, but forcing diversity in this fashion might be a little too extreme.  My colleague Drew McManus over at his blog Adaptistration found a thoughtful comment on Joe Patti’s Butts in the Seats blog (love the blog, but hate the name).  Mainly Patti declares the need for the guidelines of this program to be more clearly stated, and that simply taking action for more inclusion may not transfer to true inclusion.  I recommend reading his thoughts.

Again, due to being busy this week, I have not been able to put my own thoughts into words, but my friend and colleague, Amy Wratchford did a fantastic job of formatting a very thorough rebuttal.  My thoughts echo this line of thinking.   Please welcome Amy as our guest blogger, and let us know what you think by replying.

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Amywratchford’s blog

Misguided Means to Unintended Ends: Portland’s arts diversification plan

This article came across my Twitter stream this afternoon and immediately piqued my interest.  On the surface, a city like Portland linking funding for arts organizations to racial diversification of their boards, staff, contractors, and eventually audience sounds like an innovative and progressive idea.  Diversification of voices around the table is a good thing and we should all invite a variety of voices to the conversation.  However, linking vital public funding to blanket benchmarks can’t be healthy.  While I understand this policy is still in its infancy and “years from completion,” the information covered in the article is plenty to make me wary.

Here are some of my concerns:

  • Arts organizations, their missions and their audiences, are as diverse as the city itself.  Suggesting that every organization should be striving for the same benchmarks goes against the very reason they are distinct organizations in the first place.
  • What about organizations that are not producing work that speaks to a large and diverse audience?  We, as an industry, have decried funders dictating programming for decades.  Is it OK here because diversity for diversity’s sake is seen as a good end result?  There should be room in a vibrant arts ecosystem for niche companies and each of those will serve a different audience.  You can’t force an audience to be interested in a type of programming and you shouldn’t force an organization serving a distinct audience to turn from its mission in order to secure public funds.
  • Requiring a certain level of spending (30% of their budget is the “ideal” mentioned in the article) on communities of color is misguided.  How would this play out?
    • Do the Mayor and City Commissioners understand that each dollar an arts organization spends is already stretched to the limit and that few companies can simply divert funds in this way?
    • Does this mean a forced quota for staff, artists, and contractors?  What happened to allowing companies to hire the best person for the job, regardless of ethnicity?
    • Throwing marketing money at underserved communities may be the antithesis of actual engagement of these communities
  • Why just enforce ethnic diversity?  I’m willing to bet that there isn’t a direct correlation between the gender split of the staff and boards of Portland’s arts organizations and the population of the city as a whole.  What about gay voices at the table?  The disabled community?  Religious beliefs?  Socio-economic status?  Diversity comes in all shapes and sizes and each organization daily contends with reaching out to those audiences who could be interested in their work.

Instead of making arts organizations jump through ever more hoops to reach benchmarks unrelated to their mission, how about some of these ideas:

  • Rewarding organizations for diving deep into the communities to which a company’s programming speaks?
  • Judge an organization on their dedication to fulfilling their mission and the steps they take to engage and broaden their audience in ways that make sense for them?
  • Celebrate diversity in all its forms within the arts community

I applaud the Portland city leadership for looking for ways to encourage diversity.  I just fear they are heading down a path that will be detrimental for all involved.  As always, I’d love to know what you think.  Please continue this conversation in the comments below. [:O)]

Amy Wratchford is managing director of the American Shakespeare Center.  As the company’s chief administrative and financial officer, Amy oversees finance, marketing, development, and other business management functions for the ASC.  Before joining the ASC, Amy served as managing director of Synchronicity Theatre in Atlanta, a theatre dedicated to supporting women artists, forging community partnerships, and developing new work.  Previously, she worked in a number of capacities in theatre in New York City, including producer, director, and actor.  She earned her bachelor’s degree in Acting from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and a master’s in fine arts degree in Performing Arts Management from Brooklyn College.

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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

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! 

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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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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

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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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Filed under arts management, arts marketing, Audience Development, fund raising, Fundraising, Online fund raising, Online fundraising

Audience development needed – Van Cliburn proves the arts deserve it!

I saw another listing of an orchestra filing for Chapter 11 today.  Right now I am hoping and praying that more people will start seeing the value of audience development and do what they can to give it a fair try.  It is sad to see artists and arts organizations in trouble, especially when they have so much to offer.

Yesterday was my favorite pianist, Van Cliburn’s birthday.  My Twitter friend @alanayu alerted me to a NY Times article last weekend:

Basking in Russia’s Love Long After a Musical Triumph

This article points out the love that Russian music lovers have for Van Cliburn and that he was an ambassador for the United States during international high-level meetings between the Soviet and American leaders.

It pointed out how special he was to them.  They gave him the nicknames, “Vanya” or “Vanushka.”

A Russian violinist, Artur Shtilman, recalled the tremulous words of a janitor who said the performance had left her strangely transfixed: “This young man, really just a boy — he plays, and I sit and cry. I myself don’t know what is happening to me, because I have never listened to this music, and I simply cannot tear myself away.”

Special artists and arts productions can do this for us – touch us so emotionally that  it changes us in those moments to be open to much, much more.

I was digging through YouTubes of Van Cliburn yesterday to post various clips in celebration of his birthday.  I found this absolutely amazing clip that made me feel exactly how the janitor from the article describes.  I was an emotional wreck with all the different emotions washing over me.  I share this clip with you now to show you that the arts are worth funding and that audience development is very much needed to ensure the future of the arts today.  Audience development will provide support for the arts by helping to build audiences and getting them more involved by supporting further through volunteering, donations, sponsorships and more.  Some people are naturals at it, which I feel Van Cliburn very much was.  He formed relationships with the people of a country that seemed almost impossible at the time to relate to (so we thought).  Through his music and his personality, they are still his friends and supporters, and he is still their “Vanya.”

I hope you enjoy this clip.  Notice the picture of the full house crowd intently listening to every note.  To me this example stands for everything that is beautiful about the arts.

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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Audience development & arts advocacy for arts funding

These are strange times.  For every arts cut story I find in news sources across the country, there is at least a story to match of an arts group raising money to help a community.    Today there was an arts cuts article for Wisconsin, and meanwhile in Joplin, MO, there was an article of an arts festival raising funds to help rebuild the community after the devastating tornado damage.

Artists and arts organizations have been attempting to reason with politicians for many years now.  There is overwhelming evidence that the arts help us in numerous ways – economically, medically, historically, etc., etc., etc., yet for some reason there are still politicians that simply want to cut the pennies to the arts in order to save pennies.  Instead of saving money, they are actually losing money, and a whole lot more.

The evidence has been stated many times that the arts give back financially many times over compared to the money put in to fund arts programs.  Why the deaf ear and the blind eye to this fact?  In a sentence, we as a people have not done enough arts advocacy or audience development for the arts. 

The tides are starting to change though.  I now am seeing arts advocacy articles, op-eds, letters to the editor pop up from time to time.  Arts celebrities are starting to come forward in a public manner with their words and their wallets.   Some politicians are fighting for the arts now.  Some.  I hope in this decade the scale starts tipping in favor of all politicians supporting the arts, but that might be a pipe dream.

So instead of dreaming, waiting and hoping, I encourage anyone and everyone that reads this blog to find one way to contribute to arts advocacy and one way to support an arts organizations or an artist by helping them to build relationships with people in their communities.  We obviously cannot count on the politicians to vote in our favor anymore.  The idea of us voting them in to serve the public interest may also be a pipe dream now.  They seem to have their own ideals and agendas they are pushing, and their own corporations and private interests that are pushing them.

To sum up this rambling post, the arts are there for us and support our communities in a variety of ways, isn’t it time for us to stand up and support the arts!

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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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

Audience development – lessons to be learned

Today I came across this article:

Fund for the Arts ponders new ways, director in post-Allan Cowen era

It was a very open and honest article about mistakes that have been made and the consequences that resulted from these mistakes.  If arts organizations want to not only survive, but thrive, we need to point out these mistakes and begin a new direction for implementing the solutions that are as plain as day.  Yes, we need to implement, not just identify.

I have decided to scan the article mentioned above to highlight the mistakes and lessons to be learned:

Lesson 1

The Fund for the Arts began the post-Allan Cowen era Tuesday with calls for more transparency, an allocation process that involves more local organizations, and better communication among board members and with the community.

This was the very first thought from this article.  More transparency.  The public needs to know what is going on. What money is needed, where the money is going, how the money donated is working, how the organization is running – transparency will open the door to old and new supporters and a more efficiently run organization.  As far as the “allocation process that involves more local organization,” to me this means opening the doors to new partnerships and supporters as well.

Lesson 2

“We need to revisit the mission and breadth of the organization,” said James R. Allen, chairman and CEO of J.J.B. Hilliard, W.L. Lyons Inc. and chairman of the fund’s 2011 campaign.

Every organization needs to take the time to reevaluate and revisit their mission and the essence of their organization.  Is the mission still true today?  Is it needed?  Do changes need to be made?  Is the organization still needed?  How can it function better?  The answers will give you a clue as to what is and isn’t working to date and what actions need to be taken next.

Lesson 3

“We need to reassess ourselves,” added Angela Leet, owner of Chamberlin Enterprises. “Do bigger and better things for our community.”

I would only assess this lesson if in Lesson 2 you found to still be a necessary organization with a necessary mission.  When you get to this point, it may not be a matter of doing bigger and better things for your community, although that is always something to strive for, but it may be a matter of simply doing things for your community.  Are you benefiting your community?  In what ways?  Can you document how you benefit your community?  Spend a little time not only reassessing, but defining and documenting.  Then, strive for more.

Lesson 4

“It can’t be all talk and no action,” said Murphy.

This is where many artists and arts organizations can get into trouble.  All talk and no action.  I see campaigns and marketing strategies to help the public to perceive your organization in a better light, but if you do not supply the actions to back these statements up, you are going to look even worse than where you started from.  Not only show your plans for the future, but highlight the steps that are taken to show that you mean business, that you are taking action.

Lesson 5

“Before we can move forward with the strategic plan, we really need to talk to the community as a whole — from the individual who gives $2 a pay period to the folks who write checks for thousands of dollars each year,” he said.

Communicating with all of your supporters is extremely important.  If you have not thanked all of your donors and communicated with them regularly, you will see a decline in support in the near future.  Before attempting to make future plans for more fundraising and finding more donors, you need to finish off the last cycle of fundraising by connecting with your current supporters.

Lesson 6

He said raising more money and being more inclusive will definitely be part of the board’s plans.“If we don’t make the pie bigger it doesn’t really help anybody much more,” he said. “The pie has to be bigger.”

This is the flip side of  Lesson 5.  Yes, do thank your existing donors and supporters, but you still need to look beyond existing to potential.  The pie needs to be bigger with more funds which means more donors and supporters.  You cannot keep relying on the same people year after year.  You will end up burning them out with no one to take their place.

The article did mention about other arts organizations that were deeply in debt, in bankruptcy or with plans of closing their doors.  I wish they had learned these lessons before it was too late.  I hope you do too!

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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