Nonprofits redistributing ‘surpluses’ to patrons?

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Recently I came across an academic paper examining the relationship between performing arts organizations and their patrons that includes a description of a patron loyalty program developed by the Bach Choir of Bethlehem in the early twentieth century (Kushner and King, 1994).* BCB’s model is unlike any current model I have yet encountered (though this may be due to my lack of awareness not to a lack of similar models) and it strikes me as both simple and enlightened. Here’s my summary of the 1994 description of BCB’s model in the paper: The … [Read more...]

Perhaps we need to rethink which nonprofit arts groups are considered leaders in their fields?

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Many have written in the past week on the pending and proposed eliminations of the Kansas, Texas, and South Carolina state arts agencies (among others). For a roundup of the news on this front I recommend this post on Createquity. Some see these attacks as yet another sign that the country is filled with philistines, some see them as symbolic or purely political, and others as the reasonable end of decades of disregard by arts organizations of their communities-at-large. The arts (which in the minds of most people equates with 'the fine … [Read more...]

Beware dynamic pricing dressed as “accessibility”.


Dynamic pricing is a form of price discrimination, commonly used by airlines and hotels, in which a firm changes its prices in response to shifts in demand. In recent years, it has been promoted in the nonprofit sector as a method to help arts groups fill seats, maximize revenues, and (drum roll, please) make programs more accessible. Evidently, it is already being used by many arts groups across the US. While I hate to be the one to rain on the dynamic pricing parade, I have concerns about this trend. Let’s call a spade a spade. Dynamic … [Read more...]