The impact of COVID-19 on our industry has been extraordinary and unexpected with arts organizations facing event cancellations and postponements in an effort to respect social distancing and quell transmission concerns. Having a firm grasp on how you communicate these changes will help soothe the anxiety of your patrons and could even become an opportunity to strengthen the relationship with your audiences and communities.Read the Article
Today’s blog post is written by Jason Silverman, Sales Development Representative, PatronManager.
Recently, while on vacation, I came across an article in American Theatre magazine that really struck me. Titled “The Turnover Recipe: Add New Voices and Audiences, Stir,” it addresses the massive sea change that’s taking place in arts organizations across the country. This specific passage really grabbed my attention: “Much of the subscription audience that has till now sustained the American theatre is dying off, and there aren’t as many younger people to replace them.” With this quote in mind, looking to your organization’s future, I implore you to focus your attention on your current crop of single ticket-buyers ages 18-35. This may sound obvious, but it’s worth discussing because they are the future of your organization.
As a member of this target age group, I would like to share some insight into what my expectations are when I spend money on an experience. For me, it boils down to three things: I expect to be entertained, feel engaged, and be treated like an insider. In this blog post, I’ll examine a few things you can do to address each of these points, and hopefully, turn some of those single ticket-buyers into subscribers for years to come!Read the Article
Today’s blog post is written by Paul Miller, VP Sales – Non-Profit Ticketing, PatronManager.
The 2018 annual fundraising results are in, and there’s good news and bad news.
The good news is that, despite changes to tax laws that we thought might negatively impact charitable giving, overall fundraising was up in 2018 compared to the prior year. According to the Fundraising Effectiveness Project’s 2018 Fourth Quarter Report, “giving increased by 1.6% in 2018… with philanthropic gains being driven exclusively by donors who gave $1,000 or more.” So great! Giving was up, albeit at less than the rate of inflation. But that only tells half the story.
The bad news from the study is spelled out in the second half of the above sentence: “with philanthropic gains being driven exclusively by donors who gave $1,000 or more.” This, of course, implies that less affluent donors must have donated less or not at all, and there are other marked decreases in two areas that don’t bode well. The report continues, “While total giving from gifts of $1,000 or more increased by 2.6%, revenue from smaller gifts decreased. Gifts in the $250-$999 range dropped by 4.0%, while gifts of under $250 dropped by 4.4%. The number of donors also fell, as did retention rates…” It turns out the modest gain in dollars just barely covered some harsher realities:
- a 4.5% decline in the number of donors
- a 7.3% decline in the number of new donors
- and a 14.9% decline in the number of second-time donors
True, this study looks at all varieties of non-profit organizations, but this recent article from The Wall Street Journal suggests we might be seeing the end of big-time arts donations in general. It says:Read the Article
Today’s blog post is written by Kevin Patterson, Senior Account Executive, PatronManager.
“Tell me, in a world without pity
Do you think what I’m askin’s too much
I just want something to hold on to
And a little of that human touch”
– Bruce Springsteen, Human Touch
Lately, I’ve been speaking to a number of different arts organizations about how they engage with their audience. Many are looking ahead in the coming months to their subscription renewal campaigns. The conversation is focused on how they are building connections to their audience that result in a positive impact. Sadly, when asked to outline their customer journey strategy, the response I hear often goes something like this:
“We are very engaged with our audience. We send them multiple emails during the year about our organization. We send them postcards. They can also find us on social media. We also send them a letter and follow-up with a phone call to get them to renew!”
When asked how success is measured with this strategy, most can’t quantify it, or if they can, they admit that it isn’t very successful and fault their audience for not paying attention.
If your organization is not engaging in a well thought out, metrics-driven approach to customer engagement, you are setting yourself up for short-term stagnation and long-term failure. That said, crafting a strategy that is devoid of actual human touch as in the above example is not a recipe for success either. Technology is a tool for engagement, not an entire strategy.
So what should you be doing to engage with your audience and create a successful customer journey? A successful customer journey combines a mix of digital technology and actual human touch. For example:Read the Article
Today’s blog post is written by Alex Pagano, Documentation Manager, PatronManager.
Growing up near Richmond, VA, I had no idea that my little hometown would grow up to become known as “home of the world’s best street art.” At the time, the graffiti scene in Richmond was active, but underground, earning more ire than awe from the populace. Even the city’s most famous and beloved muralist frequently found his commissioned work the ire of Richmond’s zoning board. The city’s artistic energy was bubbling, palpable, edgy — just not yet tangible.
Fast-forward to when I came back from college; things had changed. Suddenly, those same graffiti “bombers” were getting commissioned to create beautiful, permanent art — and the city loved it. So, what happened?
Two things: Shane Pomajambo, owner of Art Whino art gallery in Washington, D.C., made a trip down to Richmond to start the Richmond Mural Project in 2012. Though he originally planned to hold an “Art of the Mural” large-scale exhibition in D.C., after talking with a couple community leaders in Richmond, they found a different opportunity; he and the business owners of Richmond could mutually help each other. Shane could use their empty wall spaces to hold a new street art festival, and the business owners would get a much-needed boost in foot traffic.
Meanwhile, that famous-and-loved muralist Ed Trask took commissions from bigger and bigger clients with ready approval from the government he once butt heads with. He worked with city council members to organize their own annual festival, RVA Street Art Festival, to celebrate and showcase local artists in big ways — larger than life ways, public ways.
Now, Richmond’s street art is a major part of its tourism packaging, and it drives enough interest to continue to hold the annual festival mentioned above. Home to over 100 murals by artists from all over the world, it’s a legitimate mural-lovers destination.
So why am I telling you this story?Read the Article
I’ve been interviewing executive directors about their vision for the future, and inevitably our conversation turns to their efforts to court the millennial audience. They consistently report that engaging younger audiences the first time is less of a challenge than getting them to come back. That’s a subject for an entirely different post.
But, you know who comes back over and over? Older audiences — particularly those over 65. I was reminded of this by an excellent article in ArtsProfessional titled “A Snapshot of Older Audiences,” which looks at data for more than 800 arts groups across the United Kingdom. The article states:
The over-65s are demonstrably the most organisation-loyal and frequent arts engagers. 58% visit the same venue multiple times a year — much higher than for under-65s.
Here is your audience that is already committed to the arts, and for whom going to an arts event is now (and has been) an important part of their lives for a long time. They are your subscribers, ticket buyers, and donors. You don’t need to change the arts form or the manner (or location) of presenting what you do to satisfy them. And our PatronManager research demonstrates that their online behavior tends to mimic that of younger audiences — thus you don’t have to bifurcate your marketing efforts to engage them in a different way.
Since this is such a valuable cohort, what are the ways you can nurture and build participation? The article points to one avenue pretty clearly: Read the Article