Tag Archives: Change

Laziness will not build an audience

This week has made many of us grumpy.  There have been so many shutdowns and mismanagement highlights in the news.  During a conversation with an arts colleague, I posed the question, why do these management mishaps happen?  Is it laziness?

We talked about how many of us keep on keeping on, but perhaps without thought to why we are keeping on if what we are doing is not working.  Is this due to laziness?

I know ego could be an answer as well, but let’s not go there and assume it is laziness.  We have become too lazy to do what we need to do to get out of our ruts, and most of us are in a rut.  It takes time and effort to get out of this rut.  We need to be willing to put this sweat equity in or we are not going to be as successful as we hope to be.

Here is a list of reasons why we have become lazy in managing our arts businesses:

  • We don’t evaluate what we are doing enough – I went to a workshop about evaluation.  Evaluation should happen before, during and after an event or program.  We need to know what is working and what is not.  We also need to ask ourselves if what we are doing is necessary and if it fits with our missions. Otherwise, we are wasting a lot of time, effort, money and other resources on something that may not be producing results.  When’s the last time you evaluated what you are doing?
  • We don’t prioritize – After evaluation and getting rid of what doesn’t work, it is good to prioritize what is left on our plates. What really matters?  What needs to get done first?  This takes some thought, time and effort, but it is worth it to know that your energy is going to what is going to matter the most for you and your audiences.
  • We don’t slow down to get it right the first time – Yes, I need to work on this one.  We are all rushing around trying to get millions of things done in a short amount of time.  Many of us wear a multitude of hats.  Evaluating and prioritizing can help, but we also need to slow down to make sure we are working effectively.  My friend said she forgot to sign a thank you letter, and this letter went to someone she knew.  Did her friend call her on it?  Big YES!  It made her friend feel badly that not only was the letter not signed, but there wasn’t even a quick note to say hello.  Admit it, how many times have you sent an email out with a mistake you could have caught if you slowed down by a few seconds.  This is happening more and more these days due to all the hectic, hyper communication we are doing.  Think about slowing down.  It will help with your sanity too.  ;O)
  • We don’t follow through – From signing our full names at the end of emails to providing links and other helpful information where it counts, we are not following through to give our audiences the necessary information to take the next step.  There have been many times I have received emails that did not have proper contact information.  I couldn’t call them even if I wanted to, which in some cases, I did want to call.  When we send out social media without the extra links, it becomes a wasted effort.  Your audiences can’t buy tickets or get more information without these links.  Let’s start following through!
  • We don’t follow up and build relationships – So many times I see programs initiated, but after it is all said and done, we don’t follow up with these audiences.  We are not building relationships with people.  Instead, we stick with sending out more mass marketing messages and doing programming and business practices we feel is best, because that’s the rut we are in.
  • We keep thinking in terms of, this is the way it is has always been – Is it working?  Have you filled the house and sold your art shows out?  Time to rethink and put energy toward new ways of doing business.
  • We don’t have the time to deal with something new – Go back to evaluation and prioritizing and you will find the time and resources you need.
  • We don’t know how to change – This one is interesting since there are consultants, workshops, seminars, webinars, etc. that are attempting to teach us how to make thoughtful changes.  People are not showing up even when they declare they need this type of education.  ?!

For someone that has been advocating for audience development, which is a new way of managing an arts business, all of the mentioned above does make me and my fellow colleagues a little grumpy.  We are sad to see so many shutdowns.  The “laziness” will lead to more shutdowns.

Is it laziness?  Or is it an unwillingness to change? 

Let me know your thoughts. 

PS Yesterday, I did a shout out for Thomas Cott and his You’ve Cott Mail for my Giving Program month. Sign up with him for themed arts news.  I am still thinking about today’s gift.

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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Going in circles or Artsitis

Artsitis – Will you work for the cure?

I feel the arts are a bit dis-eased.  Budget cuts, shrinking audiences, and other gloom and doom that hits the news regularly are casting a murky illness over what we could be doing to better the situation.  I have good news and bad news.  Which would you like first?  The bad news?

The bad news is that the majority in our industry have Artsitis with the nasty symptoms of going in circles, feelings of paralysis, and whoa as me pox.  The symptoms worsen with each focus on the negative and each complaint about what is going wrong, which leads to migraines and nervous breakdowns.  This group of arts folks keep bashing out the what is wrong scenario.  They hire expensive research teams to calculate and articulate what is wrong and what should be done, over and over again.  They attempt to paint a different picture to funders while doing the same clunky, tired out programs.  The puss builds and oozes, the germs spread, the infection infects, particularly in bigger gathering places, where frequent Artsitis outbreaks have been documented.  You see, the shoulds and all the talk about the problems add up to more dis-ease.

This dis-ease makes my skin itch and my brain twitch.  I am sick with concern that as an industry, we are heading in the wrong direction and/or moving at such a snail pace that life will run us over and bury us in its dust.

The good news, which is desperately needed to ease the pain, there is a cure for Artsitis and some artists and arts organizations have already been applying the dosage.  It’s called audience development in all its varying forms:

  • Research that focuses on solutions that turns into programs for building your audience
  • Technology formats that engage, educate and inform your audiences
  • Outreach projects with the intention of starting relationships with people that are not attending
  • Social media which is social
  • Diversity programs that bring people of varying cultures together
  • Fundraising projects that get the audiences involved

I could go on and on.  In order to be effective, what do all of these audience development points have in common?  Focused planning and committed action.  Instead of contracting Artsitis, going in circles, and applying bandages of conversation, action (the antidote) is being taken. There are examples out there of people experimenting with their dosage in order to get to what works to cure their dis-ease.

Artsitis is making us turn blue (and green with envy of those already working toward their cure), and making us feel blue about our industry.  We feel panicked and out of control.  We feel fear that we don’t have enough time to turn things around.  Misery loves company, so we talk and talk and talk about what needs to happen, what needs to shift, instead of actually doing something about it.

Maybe we all (myself included) need to take a big dose of reality medicine and realize that if we don’t start taking action to make the changes, Artsitis will eventually kill us.  Strikes and bankruptcies galore.  This is not the arts world I would like to envision.

Aren’t you tired of going in circles or moving at a speed that is easily passed by?  I know I am.  So, I will be taking a huge dose in the coming month of April.  I am taking time to evaluate, research and plan for the next phase, and then action will happen at an experimental speed!  We all can take this dose of medicine any time we want.  There is no shame in taking the time out to mentally and physically prepare for action. In May, I will shift to action.  I admit that I have contracted a little bit of Artsitis, and now it is time to cure what is ailing me.

It’s the action, in the end, that will cure Artsitis after all.   Will you help me work for the cure?

What action are you taking to build relationships with your audiences?  Let’s talk about solutions!

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

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

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

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

My eBook

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Filed under Arts, arts advocacy, arts management, arts marketing, Audience Development, Fundraising

9 simple arts advocacy actions for daily life

Iheartarts

It’s that time of the year again when arts advocacy days start popping up all over the country.  The official National Arts Advocacy Day is April 8-9. If you want to know your state’s official day, get in touch with a state captain.

I have mentioned in the past that everyday should be an arts advocacy day.  Here are 9 simple ways you can be an arts advocate in your daily life:

  1. Wear an arts t-shirt or button to show your support of the arts.  This will likely start some conversations too.
  2. Point out to the people you are with (or stop a moment to recognize for yourself) when you spot arts in your daily lives.
  3. Post arts events on your Facebook feed and tweet on Twitter with the hashtag #arts to help promote the arts events and arts organizations that you love.
  4. Use your social media to shout out for the arts whenever you appreciate the arts.  For example, while you are watching Downton Abbey, include the #arts tag in your post to show your appreciation!
  5. Write a letter to the editor/producer to say thank you when you see a news story about an arts event.
  6. Buy tickets to arts events to give as gifts to your loved ones when special occasions arise.
  7. Set aside 10 minutes a week to look at your local events calendars and go to an arts event at least once a month.
  8. Bring your kids to an arts event at least once a month.
  9. Do arts “projects” daily – sing, dance, doodle, work on a project with your kids and appreciate the arts and what they do for your daily life!

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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“Free” for arts audience development

Leave it to Seth Godin to send a whammy to my inbox this morning.  It was a real doozy for me since it hit too close to home for comfort.  As you know, dear reader, I have been contemplating how to get myself to the next level for some time now. I know what I do helps the common good.  I am fairly loud in pushing the audience development goodness forward. I absolutely love and believe in what I am doing, yet it has been challenging, especially when people want my services for free.  I know I am not the only one that feels this way.

I see it all the time in the “gigs” section of the job listings.  “We need an artist, band, graphic designer, insert other artist title here, in exchange for some publicity and food (well, maybe food if you’re lucky).  I hear artists grumbling about not getting fair pay for all the hard work that they are doing.  I discussed this with a photographer friend who always used the phrase, “you have to pay to play” in order to get his photography business off the ground, and he is one of the most talented photographers I have come across for his particular niche. He certainly deserved to be paid for those photos at that level of quality. They got his talent for free.

Free can be good and lead you to a better place, but sometimes free ends up being a vicious cycle that is difficult to get out of.

Is free really “free?”  Or, are we going in a negative direction?   Godin asks us to weigh the benefits against the free.  If it is worth it and will advance your career, help build your audiences, then by all means, take the free opportunity.  If free is selling yourself short and not adding to a positive outcome, stop and step away from the free.

I have many free services that I do for the public.  I blog, distribute articles, leave tip of the day and mini-podcast audio clips, give free talks/seminars/webinars at times, etc.  I absolutely love what I am doing.  The free is adding up though, and every time someone asks me “can I pick your brain?” a little piece of my dream of making a living doing what I enjoy dies.

In the meantime, I have seen nonprofit arts organizations and agencies with more resources go under.  It didn’t make sense to keep going when they weren’t able to pay their employees or foot their bills.

There are more people clamoring for the spotlight, more people starting new businesses hoping to make the big time.  In the five years I have been trucking along, I have seen consultants come and go depending on whether they land a full time job instead.  Meanwhile, I’ve been in it for the longer haul.  I have continued to take the free opportunities to put myself out there.

However, if I don’t do somethings for free, I may not be working at all.  I can recall certain gurus of our time going beyond and saying not to be stingy with your gifts and giving freely of yourself will reap positive benefits for all.  When I come across this line of thinking, I end up asking myself – maybe I am not doing enough for free?

I would love your thoughts on this one. As you can see, there is a back and forth in my mind about all this free business.   There must be a way for talented artists like you and me to make money from our businesses instead of dealing with too many free-doms.  So I ask you –   When does free start costing more than it’s worth?  How far should a small business entrepreneur go down the free path before it just doesn’t make sense any more?

In the end, as artists with valuable talents and gifts, we do need to ask ourselves these questions.  Putting in sweat equity makes sense, yet bleeding yourself dry really doesn’t.

To end on a positive note, I want to thank all the people that have paid for my services, donated money, bought my book, or offered me some well needed friendly advice.  I am so grateful for the people that valued what I do and want to see me succeed as well!  Without you, I would not be hopeful enough to keep going.  Huge thanks to you!
Please let me know your thoughts.

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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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

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The changing face of classical music for arts audience development

Inspired by the article, The changing face of opera, posted in the Oxford University Press’ blog by Meghann Wilhoite, I give you my first mini-podcast for 2013.

Have a great weekend!

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

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

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

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

My eBook

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Filed under arts management, arts marketing, Audience Development

Resolution vs Commitment for arts audience development

I wanted to share a quick thought that has been on my mind lately.  There is a big difference between a resolution and a commitment.  I have mentioned this thought in passing, but now I want to expand upon it.

You may desire to build your audience.  You might also have a resolution this year, “I will build my audience by x% in 2013.”  However, if you do not make a commitment to take the actions necessary, the resolution will only be a desire, a want.

I view desires or wants as the seed for change, but without water and sunlight and a plan that you put into action to provide everything for that seed to grow, nothing will change.

For 2013, let’s you and I make commitments to take actions for the changes we desire and want.  Let’s create a plan and commit to bigger and better audiences.  Let’s commit to finding you the best audiences for you.

After all, commitment could be the 5th C of audience development, if you commit to it!

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

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

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

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

My eBook

Leave a comment

Filed under Arts, arts management, Audience Development