Engage Your Audience and Sell Out Your Next Show with these Super Simple Tips | npENGAGE

Engage Your Audience and Sell Out Your Next Show with These Super Simple Tips

By on Mar 7, 2014


Dzauya Nkuchwayo is an Arts & Culture Consultant with more than 10 years’ experience within The Raiser’s Edge. She serves on the board of several non-profit organizations in metro Atlanta, and volunteers within the community throughout the year.  Her passion for the success of each organization she works with is seen through her dedication to helping them work their mission in new and exciting ways.


Donor fatigue.

We work against it every day as we aim to advance the mission and reach of our organizations.

But for Arts & Cultural organizations, we’ve got our performances and programs to think of as well. Not only are we fighting giving fatigue, there’s also audience burnout to consider.

Here are several inexpensive ways to keep your constituent’s engaged and motivated with personalized messaging.

More Butts in Seats

One way to increase buzz for a new performance is to let our potential audience members hear all about it from their peers. Performing arts organizations can invite supportive Facebook or Twitter followers to the final dress rehearsal and encourage them to post or tweet about the performance in real-time.  Viewers’ comments about the costumes, orchestra,  staging, and the overall experience can turn their followers into ticket buyers.  This  authentic, real-time  feedback leading up to the performance’s debut can help you reach an audience you may not have reached otherwise.

How can you measure the success of this marketing medium?

Provide each rehearsal tweeter/poster with a discount code to share with their followers and friends (i.e. DRBUZZ {Dress Rehearsal Buzz}).

How can you show your appreciation to the tweeter/poster?

Provide them with a free drink card or parking-pass for the night of a future performance.

Show me the Money

Stewardship is an integral part of fundraising. Providing a donor with information on how their donation was used is only one part of stewardship; incorporating the voice of the beneficiaries of their financial investment is the second part. To add some heart string appeal to the statistics of your programs’ success, consider providing programming participants with an open-ended question survey about their experience (students in a summer camp, post-performance surveys, scholarship recipients).

Ask questions like:

  • Why do you like attending our performances?
  • What three words best describe your interest in our organization?
  • How did this camp program help enhance your art skills/confidence/desire to perform?

Incorporate the responses in your stewardship pieces, on your website banners, and within newsletters. If your feedback comes from a child with art-work, scan the art-piece or letter and send it to donors.  (Who doesn’t like kids art or crayon notes on construction paper?)

The goal is to provide donors a connection with those that directly benefit from their support, because this will increase the retention of your donors.

Stretch every dime

When you find it hard to motivate donors to increase their giving, help them find ways to further their donation through matching gifts.

Include buck-slips with acknowledgement letters and a call-to-action from a past donor who’s submitted matching gifts, explaining how they stretched their dollar, turning $25 into $50 or $50 to $100. Make the case to donors that they have the power to increase their giving by leveraging their own company’s philanthropic initiatives. (FYI, some companies offer matching gifts for retirees as well.)

If you have volunteers who are fully employed, encourage them to submit volunteer grants for the hours served. Several companies provide grants based community service, and volunteers find pride in knowing that their time invested can also translate to a financial investment through their employer.

Conversely, reach out to constituent employers represented by your donors. Encourage the employer to spotlight their employee in an internal communications – highlighting the employee’s involvement and support of your organization’s mission. The goal is to broaden your reach, publicly recognize the donor, and potentially introduce new ways to raise more money without resulting in donor fatigue.

Simple, right? And following these tips will help keep your stakeholders and constituents engaged as you focus on attracting new constituents as well.

Check out the tip sheet for even more advice on donor retention!


Arts and Cultural Donor Retention


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