The Age of the Mobile Arts Manager
While it’s no secret that billions of people are carrying smartphones, most of the hype we’re reading about is focused on how those devices are used to keep us connected to each other on a personal level on Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, and the like. This mobile access to the Internet has already transformed our world and as devices become more powerful it will continue to do so.
However, like it or not, there’s an equally important transformation going on in work. Last night I was on the train until 10 o’clock, and both the guy sitting across from me and I were on our laptops, connected to Wi-Fi and doing work. We lamented how in the “old days” of only a few years ago, work stopped when you left the office, but today it can be ongoing. We both acknowledged that this is the way the world is today, and the challenge is to embrace it and let it make your life better.
How is mobile going to change the way arts managers work? Profoundly. Why? Because we all run organizations that have geographic diversity. We have offices that are often not connected with box offices, and/or we perform in multiple venues. We visit donors wherever they may be, and raise money the old-fashioned way — in person. And our teams are expected to work collaboratively to make all these things seamless.
What mobile offers is a way for the essential information that runs your organization (patron data, donation data, ticket data, and reports and analytics) to be available at all times, from your CRM system to everyone in the organization, no matter where they are.
Imagine you’re the development director standing in the lobby of your theatre, and you see a donor across the way. You know she made a contribution last year, but you don’t remember all the details. That’s the moment to look on your smartphone and see her donation history and who talked to her last on your staff, and read about what you discussed in your last phone call with her.
Now when you walk up to her, you’re fully briefed and your conversation can be that much more meaningful. How can you quantify the power of a personal interaction like that with a potential donor?
I’d submit that all of you are running organizations with far too few people, where everyone is juggling multiple jobs. The video below is a profile of one of our clients, The Pearl Theatre in Times Square in New York. The narration by Jess Burkle, their interim managing director, is all about how mobile technology helps him juggle dual roles, both artistic and managerial.
Here at Patron, we talk with many of you each week — arts managers who need better technology. We get to hear all about features you want in a new system — and when you’re thinking about that, I’d encourage you to be inspired by the Pearl Theatre video above.
Be future-oriented! I’m eager for the day when the conversation starts with the number-one requirement that your new system be 100 percent mobile so that everybody in the office can be permanently untethered from their desks. And perhaps reviewing your ticket sales results for the month on the train home will be just the thing that ends your day perfectly.
That’s the world we’re going to be living in for the rest of our work lives. Embrace it!