In Favor of Genetically Modified Organizations

gmo

I prefer my vegetables in their 100% organic state. I don't feel the same way about non-profit arts & cultural organizations. There is nothing sacred about the business model and (dare I say it?) the artistic mission of any arts and cultural organization. That doesn't mean that an organization shouldn't stand for anything. Nor would I argue that it's healthy for an organization's business model or artistic mission to fluctuate all … [Read more...]

How You View the Pie

pie

Do you proceed from the premise that the “pie” is of a set size and we are all competing for a slice – or that the pie is expandable and we all stand to win by creating the means for it to grow. For arts & cultural organization leaders responsible for building audiences, here's a quick test to see if what you BELIEVE is consistent with how you BEHAVE: In the past 7 days, what % of your resources (i.e. budget, time & attention) have … [Read more...]

A Budget for “NOT MORE OF THE SAME”

more_of_the_same

In springtime, a nonprofit's thoughts turn to thoughts of...  BUDGET. In many organizations, the annual budget is an exercise of simply replacing the names of THIS year's performances, events or exhibitions with those of NEXT year.  Sure, we'll lower revenue expectations for similar events that under-performed this season - and we'll raise projections for events that we hope will perform better next year.  And everybody agrees to hold the … [Read more...]

On Reporters and PR People

Kyle Lawson

One of the most beloved and respected people in the arts & cultural community of Phoenix, Arizona is Kyle Lawson. Beginning in 1977, and for more than 30 years, Kyle wrote about arts and entertainment in Arizona, first at the Scottsdale Progress, then The Phoenix Gazette, and finally The Arizona Republic. He was awarded the very first Lifetime Achievement Award by the Arizona Governor's Commission on the Arts and a similar award from the … [Read more...]

The 10 Commandments of Classical Music Audience-Building

hhtwitter4

Holly Hickman of Up Tempo Marketing delivers “Spirited Marketing for Music Organizations.”  We have been friends for several years and I have deep respect for her accomplishments in the field.  A few months ago, we started a fascinating conversation about the practical challenges of audience-building specifically for classical music organizations, which I’m grateful she has allowed me to continue here. I absolutely ADORE her 10 … [Read more...]

Will Lester: “Let the Numbers Speak for Themselves”

willlester_165x165_color3

Will Lester is Vice President of Network Programs at TRG Arts, a data-driven consulting firm specializing in pricing and patron loyalty. TRG also has the distinction of managing 20 community data networks throughout the U.S. While the networks began as a way for arts organizations to share lists of patron contact information to cross-promote events, they’re now growing into a robust arts community resource, allowing for research on audience … [Read more...]

Gene Carr: “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility”

gene-headshot-250x275

With all the news of government monitoring of cell phone and Internet records, I thought it opportune to ask Gene Carr, the founder and CEO of Patron Technology to share his thoughts on the implications to the arts & cultural sector of innovations in technology, databases and more. The adage that “with great power comes great responsibility” seems appropriate for all sorts of companies that gather and manage patron databases. What advice … [Read more...]

The Drive to Audience Avenue

audience_ave_shadow

Please let me invite you to visit the new and just-launched website of my company, Audience Avenue:  www.AudienceAvenue.com. If your priority is audience-building, then you'll be happy to find a central location for new ideas, practical applications, important resources and the connection of similarly interested people from throughout the arts & cultural sector.  In my hopes & dreams, this is the first step toward the idea of a Massive … [Read more...]

Resolutions for a Happy New (Fiscal) Year!

whiteSpace

"White. A blank page of canvas. His favorite. So many possibilities." The very last line of Stephen Sondheim's Sunday in the Park with George expresses the kind of optimism that deservedly arrives with the start of every new project & every new year, even a new fiscal year. A fresh start. A clean slate. Square one. Tabula Rasa A New Beginning There may be nothing more empowering to the human mind than the chance to start … [Read more...]

Nonprofit Organizations Need a Black Box

Flight-Data-Recorder

Onerous headlines in Phoenix and Tucson this week as Arizona Theatre Company, the only resident company in the US that serves as a two-city operation, is reportedly ending its current fiscal year with a $1 million deficit. I have nothing but respect and compassion for the management & Board of my state's preeminent professional theatre company.  I remain hopeful and confident that they will work hard to restore the organization's financial … [Read more...]