Tag Archives: Thank you patrons

Random thoughts from fiscal cliffs and landfills to donation asks for arts audience development

What do fiscal cliffs and landfills have to do with audience development for the arts?  Quite a lot actually.  Allow me to explain.

The priorities in America and possibly the world are all mixed up these days.  When countries are being run by greed for power and money, what is really important in life is not being funded.  The arts, in my opinion, are important to our lives.  We would be living life in the dark without the arts.  There would be no color in our world, no design,creative sciences or inventiveness, no music, no plays, movies and television shows, no historical reference, no spark to our lives.  How am I certain that the arts are one of the vital ingredients for humanity?  Because of the Landfill Harmonic:

Landfill Harmonic film teaser from Landfill Harmonic on Vimeo.

A country that has no means, but has the human spirit to create is making instruments out of remnants from the landfill.  The arts are a basic need, a basic desire that has to be filled.  This video showcases that the arts are a priority in our lives.

If the arts were to be a part of the fall off due to the fiscal cliff, we would still find a way to create and perform.  However, think about what we could do if we finally got our priorities in life straight.  What would the world look like if the greed for power and money were gone?  There wouldn’t be a fiscal cliff and there probably would be the means for funding of the arts more fully.  We as a human race tend to take the arts for granted.  It’s only when the arts are gone from our lives that we find that we need to sift through the rubble, the garbage, to find a way to express ourselves again.

This taking the arts for granted can be flipped on its head too.  We as artists tend to take our audiences for granted.  I hope non-profits of all kinds will take a moment to ponder this point too.

We are taking our audiences for granted.  We assume that if we create, the audiences will be there.  You can call this the Field of Dreams Syndrome.  We take it for granted that the right people will show up and start to support us, and then we fall flat with doing the work to build the relationships to create the support that we need.

For example, I receive donation asks from a variety of organizations.  I might have given in the past, I might not have.  The organizations that are targeting me based on who I have given to in the past have not started a relationship with me.  They are asking without knowing who I really am as a person.  I rarely give to these random asks.  The ones I have given to the past are organizations that caught my attention through a variety of avenues, such as tabling at an outreach event.  I have at least spoken to a representative, gone to a show, or volunteered for their cause.  I gave to these organizations since a relation has been established.

I only choose to continue to give if the relationship continues.  Many organizations at this point will take me for granted and continue to ask without any personal contact with me.  The only organizations I continue to give to at this point are the ones that treat me like an individual person and not just a number on their mailing list.  They make sure to thank me and contact me to keep me in the loop before asking for another donation.  They send me updates on how my money is being used.  They may call me to thank me personally.  I did receive a call from a board member on one of these organizations.  I only gave $25 that year too. Wow!

To tie this random post up into a nice gift with a big red bow for the holidays, you can trace back to the initial thought.  We have our priorities mixed up.  Instead of taking the road of hard work and thoughtfulness for others, we are taking the path of laziness and greed for money and power.  People will not see the value of our art and organizations until we start valuing people as individuals.  The world will not see the arts as a priority until they see the arts become more a part of the world in ways that are helpful and supportive to their communities.  Perhaps if we started acting as individuals and support the people in our lives through solid two-way relationships, we can start adding a positive voice to the collective for a better, common sensed, prioritized world.

If you ever wondered why getting the arts funded has been so darn challenging, now you know.

PS  These thoughts are my own humble opinion.  Feel free to challenge, add, and consider your own thoughts and post as a reply!

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, fund raising, Fundraising

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

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, arts advocacy, arts management, Audience Development, Volunteer Management

Audience Development for the Arts Songs!

It’s Friday!  Yesterday as you know, we had an #auddev chat.  During the chat, one of our chatters, Becky Peters a.k.a. @bpeters99 tweeted a song title that stuck in my head: Love the One You’re With by Crosby, Stills and Nash.  Of course this was in reference to loving your current audience.

It had me thinking what other songs could be good for arts audience development.  Here’s a few I came up with:

Thank You – Natalie Merchant – Thank your supporters often!

Being for the Benefit of Mr.Kite – The Beatles  – Tell your story effectively so your audience can picture the show and get interested.

True Colors – Cyndi Lauper – Be yourself and show your true colors to attract the right audience.

Give Me One Reason – Tracy Chapman – Give your audience reasons to stay!

I Gotta Feeling – The Black Eyed Peas – Make your event special in every way so your audience will have a feeling that tonight’s gonna be a good night!

Do you have a song for arts audience development?  Feel free to reply. Happy weekend to you!

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, arts marketing, Audience Development

You want to build an audience? Follow up for arts audience development

I’m still on semi-vacation.  In my time off, I have again come to the conclusion that one of the biggest reasons artists and arts organizations are having trouble building their audience is due to poor to non-existent follow up.  We are dropping the ball.

  • We are not returning our customer phone calls in a timely fashion.
  • We are not following up after the show to connect again with our audiences.
  • We are not asking the right questions on our surveys to get to know our audiences.
  • When we do get data, we are not implementing programs from what we have learned about our audiences.
  • We are not thanking our audiences sufficiently.
  • We are not connecting with them enough to ask them if they would like to become supporters.
  • We are not communicating with them adequately to create two way conversations.
  • We are not being clear about our support needs, and we are not giving them ample options on how to support us so they are more comfortable to give.
  • We are not checking in with our audience members and supporters.
  • We are not making a big enough fuss over our volunteers, donors and sponsors.
  • We are not building relationships with them before, after and during our events.

Some of us are doing better than the majority.  I think the big reason for the differences are the follow up skills.  Good customer service, the ability to show you care for your audience members, and the genuine desire to get to know your audiences and have them become your partners can make a huge difference.

If you want to build an audience, and a happy and loyal one at that, start following up and see what happens!

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

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

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

My eBook

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

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Taking time off for arts audience development

This morning I found an article about the Singapore Art Festival announcing that they are taking time off next year to review, evaluate and plan for the future.  I found this to be rather refreshing.  Taking time off to reflect on what has happened can give you a fresh perspective.  Constantly trying can be, well, constantly trying.  Sometimes it is better to step back and take a new look.

For June, I will be a little sporadic in my posts since I too am taking some time off to reflect.  I am still “here,” but will be a little less active so I can plan for my next season.

During this time, I would love to hear from you with your opinions about what you would like me to write about.  Am I missing a discussion on something that is important to you in terms of audience development?

Thank you again for following my blog. Take some time to reflect, and I hope to hear from you soon!

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,
Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

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

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

My eBook

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

Leave a comment

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

Random audience development for the arts thoughts (and questions)

Today I do not have a guest blogger planned.  I thought I would fill in the gap with a variety of thoughts (and questions) that I have been thinking over the past week (in no particular order).  Let this serve as a summary of blog posts from past and future.

  • Audience development is hard work.  Are we ready to work?
  • Again, audience development is not “butts in seats” !!!  A butt doesn’t enjoy the show, people enjoy the show.
  • A team is needed for audience development.  Can we be team friendly people?
  • Should we appeal to audiences when programming is concerned?  Would we be letting them run our show?  More on this thought later.  This article spurred this thought.
  • We need to go beyond the discounts when it comes to building an audience or we serve to lose our bottom line.
  • Quality needs to be at the forefront for everything we do.
  • Why are board members so scared to ask for money?  They are passionate about their arts organization.  Aren’t they?
  • If I received a penny for “Something for everyone” and other inane marketing blurbs, I’d be rich! Maybe I should start an audience development fund this way?
  • Artists and arts organizations are supposed to be creative, right?
  • Social Media needs to be social.  It’s not termed Marketing Media.
  • If you don’t know your audience, you can’t develop your audience.
  • If you don’t know your audience, you won’t know what types of programs will be appealing and successful.
  • Ask them survey questions beyond the demographic questions.
  • Instead of targeting or segmenting – perhaps reaching out is a better term?
  • Numbers are not people.  You can data mine and analyze away, but this step will not build relationships with living people.
  • If something you are doing is not working, why are you continuing to do it?
  • Why spend money on something that is not working?  Because that’s the way you are supposed to spend your budget?
  • Audience development is a state of mind.  Everyone on your team can be a part of it.  Everywhere you go is an opportunity for it!
  • Learn to be a part of your community.  Use the other C’s to connect, collaborate and care.
  • If you have a big marketing staff, over 2 people, and you are still not getting an audience, either someone is not doing their job, or typical marketing is not working anymore.
  • Run your arts business as a business too.
  • Non-profits can be “profitable.”
  • If a certain business model isn’t working for you, explore a new model.
  • Your audience can be part of your team.
  • Ask your audience, they know what you don’t.
  • Treat your volunteers like royalty.
  • Treat your donors like royalty.
  • Thank your supporters often.
  • Be supportive and respectful of everyone on your team and learn to work together knowing that each part has an important role to play.
  • For gosh sakes, program new stuff too!
  • Be true to yourself and your mission.
  • Brand properly.
  • Be relatable.
  • Engage, but also get your audiences involved! There is a difference.
  • The arts matter, but only if you find out why they matter to your audiences.
  • Your thoughts here!  Feel free to comment below.

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,
Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

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

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

My eBook

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

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

Audience Development and the little appreciations

It’s time for the Monday Moment.  Last night, I received a call and let it go to my voicemail since I wasn’t sure who it was from.  The person left a voicemail, and it turned out the call was from a board member at a non-profit that we made a donation to.   I was very surprised to receive this appreciation call since we only donated $10.  If I had answered the phone, I’m sure I would have had a very pleasant conversation with her.  She would have been able to ask me questions to get to know me a little better and make note of what she had discovered for future reference.

Audience development is about getting to know people and also about showing that you appreciate your supporters.  Adding appreciation programs to your audience development plan, such as having your board members make quick thank you phone calls to your donors, is a great way to show your gratitude and to build relationships at the same time.

It’s time for you and your team to take these types of actions.  It does take some time and effort, but you will feel so much better knowing that you are being proactive toward building your relationships with people as well as building your support base for you, your art, and your organization.

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,
Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

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

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

My eBook

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

Participatory Classical Music Webinar – Recording

 

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