4 New Year’s Resolutions for Arts & Cultural Organizations

January 7, 2020 Mike Simmons

2020 is here! And while many of us are busy making our personal New Year’s resolutions, we should also be thinking of how to be more successful, well-rounded cultural executives. Now is the ideal time to reflect on last year and set your course for the New Year and new decadeTo help, here are some thought-starters from the Blackbaud Arts & Cultural team – along with a sneak-peek at what we have planned for 2020 so far. 

 

 

1. Personally Thank Your Visitors, Members and Donors 

Data provided by IMPACTS Research and our good friend Colleen Dilenschneider shows that “not being thanked for a previous gift, not being asked to donate again, and lack of communication about the impact of one’s donation” are among the top reasons why donors stop giving. With that in mind, use the New Year as an excuse to strengthen your relationships with those who visited or gave to you last year by personally thanking themFor casual visitors, maybe it’s a card in the mail that also tells them about your upcoming programs. But members and donors want to feel valued – to hear how they helped you solve a problem, open a new exhibit or launch new programmingSo call them and tell them! 

 

2. Engage with Your Community Early and Often 

This might sound obvious, but it’s easy to take for granted: your surrounding community likely consists of your main base of volunteers, visitors, members and donors. Instead of waiting for them to come to you, go to them by participating in or sponsoring local events such as festivals or community block parties. Doing so provides a friendly face to your organization, increases your brand recognition and allows you to hear firsthand what type of programming is most important to your neighbors. For more creative community engagement ideas, join our upcoming webinar highlighting Fleet Science Center’s 2 Scientists Walk Into A Bar program (more details and a link to register coming soon). 

 

3. Leverage New Technology

These days, simply cleaning your database isn’t doing enough to realize your organization’s full potential. Not when new, purpose-built software solutions exist to help you gather information on which programs excite your community and send personalized communications accordingly. Cultural organizations looking to stay on the cutting edge of today’s technology should upgrade to a comprehensive ticketing, membership and fundraising solution to streamline operations, increase fundraising dollars and attract more visitors. For more inspiration, hear from the Autry Museum on how it attracts more visitors and turns them into members and lifelong donors. 

 

4. Practice Self-care

Chances are visitors walk through your doors in search of a safe space, one where they can better understand the world around them and interpret their own humanity. In order for you as a cultural professional to maintain that safe space you must take care of yourself. All too often, bright, talented people burnout and leave arts and cultural work because of the cumulative effects of toxic stress. This year, pledge to practice self-care to sustain your physical and mental health, and commit to fostering self-care in the workplace to create a less stressful work environment. 

 

This year, our resolution is to continue to bring you engaging, educational content on how to attract more visitors while nurturing them into long-term members and donors, the innovative technologies enabling that, and strategies to grow your organization financially. Stay tuned and Happy New Year!  

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