The 10 Commandments of Classical Music Audience-Building

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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”

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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”

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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

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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!

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"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

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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...]

Silly Little Mistakes

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"Silly little mistakes add up." When our kids were in grade school, that's how my wife and I impressed upon them the need to double (and triple) check their tests and school assignments before submitting them. Silly little mistakes reveal gaps in our thoughtfulness.  They are places where we give back points for no purposeful reason.  Each is (at best) a nugget of carelessness and (at worst) an unconditional moment of surrender. Over … [Read more...]

Please Sir, I want some more… Budget

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Moooooore?  You want more? Let's face it, there are moments when the typical nonprofit budget process can descend to Dickensian depths of oppressiveness, misery and hopelessness. So let's take a moment to dream up a DIFFERENT story ... something joyous ... one in which all of the other parameters of your organization's budget remain the stable, AND... The reply to your request is, "Why, yes!  Gladly.  Here you go!  Here's an increase to … [Read more...]

The Rising Ick Factor

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This really isn't news: That credit bureaus monitor our actions and marketing agencies score our consumer propensities is well known. That we routinely sign-up for mailing lists and make all sorts of on-line purchases without bothering to even read the privacy policy, is commonly accepted. That Facebook, Google, Amazon and who-knows-how-many other on-line systems track our clicks, preferences and patterns to deliver fundamental parts … [Read more...]

Be More Entrepreneurial

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In a recent post, I wrote, "Stakeholders are demanding that non-profit arts & cultural organizations “be more entrepreneurial” – which is, too often, code for, “figure out a way to operate in which you don’t have to keep asking us for money." Literally, of course, that would be the uncharitable meaning of the phrase. Today, let's try for a more charitable interpretation. Suppose that such stakeholders are simply pointing out the … [Read more...]