Tag Archives: audience development ideas

10 point plan on how to build relationships to build your support

It’s been a while, and I apologize for this, since I have given out some advice.  Audience development is all about building relationships in order to get more people to support you and your art form.  So how can we do this in a day and age that is less connected in live time?

Here is a little road map to get you started…

1. Take notice of the connections you have online.  Are you having conversations with them?  Start getting to know people by talking (tweeting) with them.  Get to a point where you start feeling a relationship blooming. If you feel you can work together or want to get to know them better, take steps to personalize your online connection.  For example, the people on Twitter I want to get to know better, I will invite them to my more personal accounts.

2. At meetings, be sure to trade business cards after having a good conversation.  Let them know you would be interested in having coffee/lunch sometime.

3. Follow up on your online/live conversations and follow through by emailing, direct contacting them, or pick up the phone to ask for a time to meet.  This means you are taking these new contacts to the next level.  If for some reason some contacts do not respond back, don’t worry.  It may just mean it is not the right time yet for that contact.

4. The ones that do respond, meet them for coffee/tea/lunch or a Skype/Hangout call if you are not in the same area.   Get to know each other further, and eventually talk about how you can support one another.

5. Follow up to thank them for the meeting and let them know you have been thinking about your conversation.  Are there collaborations or partnerships that can be discussed further?  This is the time to attempt a more concrete meeting.  Keep getting to know them personally and continue with step one until it naturally cycles around again.

6. Make plans to work together, do something together, etc.  This is where the relationship is at another new level.

7.  Keep the cycle going to deepen the relationship.   Be sure to have thank you stops along the way to show your appreciation.  Also, continue to help each other with advice and by being helpful when and where you can.

8. Think about the support you need.

9.  Start asking once you feel you are at a good point in your relationships.  You will know when it is the right time.

10. See the support add up! Continue to thank and be thankful.

You can have your board members and ambassador volunteers work on building relationships in this fashion with potential audience members, donors and sponsors, and watch what happens!  In fact, anyone that is a part of your arts business can help in this fashion.

Building relationships makes it easier to get the support you need since you will now be asking a friend, or at least a very friendly colleague.  The stronger the relationship, the easier the ask, and the more likely you will get the support you need.

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

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

Please consider supporting ADS so we can continue our work.  Donate here! 

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

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Be the change you want to see

Change2

As some of you may know, I am in the midst of a legal challenge with Getty Images.  I will write more about this in the future, since the knowledge will help others.

Today though, I have been thinking about all the support requests I receive.  There are so many crowd-fundraisers happening and so many requests to spread the word for an event, that I am starting to have my head spin.  Maybe I need an exorcist, but what I really would love to see happen is more collaborative efforts for helping each other out.

If you want more support for your art projects, it would be good if you helped others as well.  Here is a list of easy things you can do to be the change you want to see:

  • I follow a give 10% away rule for events and personal donations.  I feel it is good karma, and you become part of the community with this effort.
  • Help spread the word of other peoples’ events.  This will show the other people that you are a team player in your community!
  • Buy another artist’s art or go see a show that is not put on by your organization.  We all need audiences.  Being a part of their community will likely see a return that they will become one of yours.
  • Purchase books, webinars, and other educational resources from your respected consultants.  The consultants are here to lend everyone a hand, but will only remain helpful and in business if you help them too.
  • Donate to other art projects when you can.  I understand budgets are tight, but again, being the change and distributing the change you want to see will come back to you.
  • Be part of an arts solution team for your community.  If you want the community to help the artists, the artists can continue to be creative in helping the community.  They will sit up and take notice!

All of us need support.  In a world where more individuals are clamoring for attention and support, this being the change you want to see happen to you can cut through all the noise and make a huge difference!

If you have any other ideas, please feel free to post in the reply section for all to see.

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

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

Please consider supporting ADS so we can continue our work.  Donate here! 

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

My eBook

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Filed under Arts, Arts funding, arts management, Audience Development

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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Filed under Arts funding, Audience Development, fund raising, Online fund raising, Online fundraising

How to make “free” work now and use the “it” factor later

It

There were two articles that have me thinking more this morning.  The first one, Hidden costs of free tickets by Deborah Stone.

Giving away freebies may not be the best way to grow your audiences but how do you set the right discount?

UK Arts economist Tim Baker told arts marketing professionals at the Australia Council Marketing Summit that they needed to be strategic about the incentives they offered.

Baker, who is Director of leading UK-based arts consultancy, Baker Richards, and Vice-President of its US sister company, The Pricing Institute, was speaking about pricing strategies for arts marketing.

He said free entry was often less valuable than strategic discounting because people took the freebies but didn’t come back. If they paid something –even very low – they were more likely to see the service as something worth paying for and would return and pay more.

Discounts and freebies do have to be handled carefully.  There is a chance that the audience will get too used to discounted prices and take your art for granted.  The fact that free does not guarantee that people will come back is also a consideration.  I recommend reading the entire article since it highlights some of the best ways to promote discounts.

My thoughts after reading this was the simple thought I have had before, free could work if you have a follow up program in place.  Free should not be just about getting people to come and sample, but also for you to build a relationship with them.  Make them feel important by following up and offering them a way to stay connected to you and your art.  I do not see the majority of artists and arts organizations using follow up programs to convert these free (or discounted) audience members into future loyal members.

Also, free could be a fabulous way (I agree with the 2-for-1 strategies) to get your current audience involved in bringing new audience members.  This works on so many levels since your audience becomes more involved (deepening their experience with you) and you end up broadening and potentially diversifying your audience as well (similar and different people will attend).

So, I agree that free can be undervaluing your worth, but if used in the right way, it could bring exactly what you were hoping it would.

The second article that caught my eye this morning was Jade Simmons: Elvis, Meryl & Michael at the Cliburn: The Intangibles of “It”.

The audience didn’t even know this kid, but they loved him, from his stride to his stringendos, even with only one prelim recital under his belt and a long grueling road ahead in the Fourteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. So how come he made them swoon so? Because he had “it,” that thing that makes you like music you once ignored, that makes you cheer when that’s not usually your way of behaving.

She goes on to compare three different performers of the Cliburn Competition, their special qualities, to Elvis’, Meryl Streep’s and Michael Jordan’s “it” factors.

There are a couple reasons why her thoughts have sparked a few of my own.  First, I applaud her ability to connect the dots from pop culture to classical music.  We need more of this mentality to create the relevancy that is missing today.  Secondly, it made me consider the “it” factor further.  It’s not just about individuals with this special quality.  Organizations can also have an “it” factor that makes them hook you.  These organizations stand out from the crowd and apply their “it” to everything that they do.  You feel fantastic working with them!

Perhaps we need to consider what our “it” factor is or how to reveal the hidden “it” factors we possess, bring them out, and make them shine.

Once we are using our “it,” we might not need to discount or give tickets away any longer since we will attract the right people that love our “it.”   Free can open the door for them, and the “it” will have them coming back for more!

Feel “free” to comment about your “it” to share…

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

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‘SEE’ the power of music for arts audience development!

We are leading up to the Classical Music Webinar on Friday! Today we have a guest post by Catherine Starek.  Catherine is a graduate student with the desire to promote the arts to younger audiences.  She came across a particular type of program, symphonic photochoreography, that is being used by some orchestras with great results.  The following is her personal experience and opinions about this presentation and how it might be one answer for reaching out to new and younger audiences.  Enjoy!

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Do you ever wish you could ‘SEE’ the power of music?
bv Catherine Starek

If you answered yes, you aren’t alone. Some symphony orchestras are exploring innovative audio-visual performance options, such as James Westwater‘s symphonic photochoreography.

What is symphonic photochoreography? James Westwater explains: “Symphonic photochoreography is an innovative art form that engages audiences worldwide with evocative, multi-image photographic essays choreographed and performed live to selected works of classical music.” Learn more>>

bso_WestwaterKCC_grid

Baltimore Symphony performs a Westwater KCC piece.

I have attended two such performances, combining video and live orchestra.  The first was a performance of the Wizard of Oz by the North Carolina Symphony.

Every summer, the NC Symphony performs in Cary’s beautiful Koka Booth Amphitheatre. It is a lovely space with an expansive lawn, acres of surrounding forest, and a uniquely designed wooden stage situated next to Symphony Lake.  Members of the NCS staff roamed throughout the crowd, dressed as various Oz characters for the concert and screening of the Wizard of Oz.  The children’s  faces lit up with glee at the opportunity to meet Glinda the good witch, participate in the pre-concert “instrument zoo,” and stretch out on the lawn with their family for a picnic.  It was absolutely delightful.

North Carolina Symphony at Koka Booth (or Emerald City), July 10, 2010

Once the concert began, familiar sights and sounds flooded my senses. Hearing the music live was so exciting and the North Carolina Symphony performed with excellent precision and dynamic passion. The music coordinated perfectly with the moving images on the screen (sound track removed, of course). This was not only one of the most memorable concert experiences I have ever had, it made me appreciate the great talent, musical expression, and dynamism of the North Carolina Symphony musicians even more.

Video Games Live was another spectacular audio-visual performance experience. The Music Center at Strathmore located in North Bethesda, MD presented Video Games Live during their 2010-2011 concert season.  The multi-media extravaganza featured renowned video game composer, Tommy Tallarico, and incorporated members of the National Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorale.  This too was an interactive audience experience.  Some of the highlights included Guitar Hero play-offs, an audience costume contest — although this time, instead of mini Dorothy’s and flying monkeys, Nintendo characters such as the Mario Bros and even Tingle from the Legend of Zelda co-mingled in the hall — and a Video Games Live soundtrack and poster raffle.

Tingle, missing his balloon – Strathmore presents Video Games Live on April 7, 2012

The concert itself incorporated dynamic, rock concert lighting, video game screen shots projected on three enormous screens on stage, and the National Philharmonic performing video game music live.  Members of the audience ranged across all generations and people young and old found common ground with video games they had grown up with and loved.  I felt like I was in a sports stadium.  As the concert progressed, the audience would interact with the performance onstage (without the fear that normally accompanies the interruption of an orchestra).  People would laugh, cheer, clap and outright holler with approval. You could tell everyone was having a great time.  It was another exciting concert that I will never forget. (Read about the entire experience here>>)

What does this mean in terms of audience development,especially among younger audiences?

The themes running throughout the majority of comments about this type of format run from interactive and intergenerational, to dynamic, exciting, and more.  Concerts that stimulate both the visual and audio senses, at least in my opinion, seem stickier.  Highly memorable and interactive.  Finding common ground with so many members of your community is exciting in itself and I think these concerts provide a forum that makes this possible.  It’s not just music, it’s a concert experience...a shared concert experience that becomes a story that audiences want to share with their family and friends.

With innovative partnerships, dynamic multimedia, and exciting, multi-sensory audience experiences such as these, I encourage symphony orchestras to continue thinking outside of tradition, push their creative boundaries, and connect with their audiences in a variety of ways that are relevant and interesting to them.  This means you have to know your audience, which takes time and stems from strong relationships.  With audio-visual performances to facilitate social interaction and common ground, and enthusiastic, dedicated arts organizations, I think symphony orchestras in the U.S. and abroad have a lot to look forward to on the audience development horizon.

As Ms. Fanizza of Audience Development Specialists would say:“Cheers to happy and loyal audiences!”

What do you think of these “unconventional” performances? Do you think multi-sensory performances are distracting or enhancing to the symphony orchestra experience?

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Recommended Reading

More than Meets the Ear: Orchestras dive into the wide, wide world of multimedia performance.This issue of SYMPHONY Magazine “highlights how orchestras utilize and benefit from multimedia, such as Westwater’s photochoreography (article cover photo).”

The League of American Orchestra’s SYMPHONY magazine.

To read the article, click here>>

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Catherine Starek holds a bachelor’s of music education degree from UNC-Wilmington and is pursuing a master’s of arts management at American University in Washington, DC. She is completing her graduate research on the Millennial generation, and effective strategies for engaging younger audiences and donors in the U.S. symphony orchestra experience. [:O)]
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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

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Human algorithms and arts audience development

The latest and greatest idea is the use of algorithms (check out You’ve Cott Mail’s line-up)  to produce suggestions for our audiences based on what they have already purchased.  Amazon and Netflix formats are being worked on underground to become the next big thing for arts websites.  At first I was excited about the possibilities.  Finally, I thought, we will be able to increase exposure to the arts by suggesting more arts that will matter to our audience members!

Today, I am applying the breaks based on a “rebuttal” from Adam Huttler, Fractured Atlas’s founder and Executive Director.  He did bring up the fact that these computer based algorithms could go astray and make suggestions that make as much sense as a ballet purchaser being suggested a grunge concert (although, maybe that would work for some?).

When I was reading the “buts” about the new computer algorithm formats, I came up with a major one myself.  I replied on his blog post and will save some time by quoting myself here:

Algorithms could be quite useful, but in all the hub bub on this brilliant discovery, we seem to be forgetting that back in the day, the customer services, sales, box office staff used to suggest other offerings to their patrons based solely on knowing their audience member’s tastes personally. There are talented people that can serve as an algorithm if they would take the time to get to know their audience members and keep track of preferences in their databases. Old fashioned up-selling should not be ruled out in favor of a computer attempting to fill this void.

Are we again attempting to go by the lazy side and use computers to build our audiences for us?  The last time this happened, the online ticket purchase without needing to speak to or see someone from the arts organization, we experienced patrons falling through the cracks.  And now, the computer algorithm suggestions may not only have people falling through the cracks, but cracking up when the suggestions are ludicrously spit out.

Why do we keep attempting to save time and effort when time and effort is what we need to get back to?  Word of mouth is the best way to build an audience for an event.  We have surveys upon surveys that are proving this.  Word of mouth involves human interaction.  We trust our families, friends and colleagues.  Do we trust a computer interface when it artificially computes word of mouth?  Most of the time we laugh at it because it is yet another inhuman form of mass marketing in disguise.

We need to humanize the arts again.  Good old fashioned interaction – face to face, people to people.  The golden age of customer service can’t come back too soon for us.  People make the world go round.  People energy creates an idea and catapults it into becoming a reality.  I will put my money on the Human Algorithms every time, and if you want to build the best audiences for yourselves, I hope you will 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

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 management, Audience Development

Excuses for arts audience development?

Excuses, excuses. We may want to accomplish something, however, as humans, we also tend to make excuses.  We want to grow as individuals and artists, to better our art and organizations, yet we ourselves build road blocks to our success.  Silly humans!  So, I wanted to talk about two of the biggest excuses for why people do not start audience development planning and programs.  For my email subscribers, you will need to click on the web link to take you to the page to listen.

Any comments and feedback are appreciated.  Happy Monday to you too!

PS We are getting very close to announcing all of the 2013 offerings – stay tuned!

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

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

Please consider supporting ADS so we can continue our work.  Donate here! 

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

My eBook

Leave a comment

Filed under arts management, Audience Development