Live from WAA: Thoughts from a New Perspective

Matt at WAA

LOS ANGELES, CA., August 29, 2013 – In a twist of fate, I’m attending this week’s Western Art Alliance (WAA) Conference in the role of artist representative for Scorpius Dance Theatre, a contemporary dance company from my home town of Phoenix, AZ.  After a decade of running a statewide service organization and NOT playing favorites among a membership of 240 Arizona arts & cultural organizations, it’s revitalizing for me to focus on the … [Read more...]

Audience Development is Retarded

Neon words

Dumb, Invalid, Retarded, Slow, Brain- Damaged, Psycho, Crazy, Insane, Wacko, Nuts, Handicapped, Physically Challenged, "Special," Deformed, Cripple, Gimp, Spastic, Spaz, Wheelchair-bound, Lame...   Please CLICK HERE for an excellent overview of respectful disability language. The words we use matter. Vocabulary doesn't just express our beliefs.  It shapes our understanding.  Just as our imaginations are propelled by the rich concepts … [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...]

Silly Little Mistakes

Doh

"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

Oliver

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...]