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Choosing Sides: Defining a Role for the Arts (and Making it Work) in “Interesting" Times

Last November's election was a shock to many arts organizations. After years of preaching inclusivity and diversity, it's clear these messages haven't resonated with significant portions of our communities. So what now is the role of artists and arts organizations? Particularly after the case to donors and funders for the arts in recent years has increasingly moved toward "arts and..." arguments, yoking measurable social goods to art.

So maybe an opportunity? Non-profits across the country report being inundated with volunteers and donations, people wanting to do things meaningful to them, things where they can make a difference. How to harness this new energy AND broaden your community in a politically fractious environment? Making America great again is an appeal to values, so what are the compelling values arguments for the arts? We'll look at how America's creative community is making the case.
Douglas McLennan
Editor ArtsJournal



Build Your Patron Journey by Creating a Unique Map to Greater Engagement

What distinguishes arts and cultural events from the hundreds of other entertainment or enrichment activities available to us? For starters, they don’t happen on your couch and they don’t happen alone. We strive to produce programming that sends our audience on an emotional and intellectual journey, but there’s another journey taking place: the path to greater engagement with your art and your organization, a Patron Journey.

In the age of “streaming everything,” what separates us from the competition is the emotional attachment we have to the people and places that share the arts and culture experience with us. If we believe this is true, then the single most important part of our mission, aside from our programming, are the interactions we have with these patrons. Where are they in their journey? How can we enrich their appreciation of the works we present? How can we move them along the path from single ticket buyer to lifetime benefactor? How can they advocate for us to the patrons we’ve yet to meet? You’re the guide; where will you lead them?

In this two-hour workshop, you’ll create a Patron Journey that’s unique to your organization, based on its size, available resources, and its position in your local arts and culture market. We'll discuss what successful organizations around the world are doing, and we’ll show you how to replicate their strategies to identify and manage patrons who are ready to take the next step.

You’ll learn how to:
  • Find your unique strengths and adapt to peer offerings in the marketplace
  • Evaluate and allocate resources: finance, technology, content, staffing
  • Use your data systems to build reports that matter
  • Identify segments and craft messaging and programming that works
  • Create Random Acts of Kindness to build loyalty
  • Automate aspects of the journey to save staff me and get beer results
  • Measure your success and refine your plan to optimize results and return on investment
Working in small groups throughout this Intensive, you'll leave with a journey map that you can put in action in your organization right away, plus you’ll have all the motivation and information you need to sell that plan to your Board and other stakeholders. Don’t miss this!
Paul Miller
Principal NeverDark Consulting



Creating a Compelling, Brand-Building System of Visual Expression

Building connection, participation, revenue, and support through design

Nonprofits, and particularly those in the arts space, have to execute a complex business model. Not only do they have to sell tickets, they also have to bring in philanthropic dollars, land sponsorships, and secure investments from foundations and civic entities. They have to keep four income steams up and running to be successful.

And because no one needs to go to the ballet, spend an afternoon at a museum, or attend an orchestral concert, the task for arts marketers is to move different constituents from “that could be an okay idea” to “I want to attend / sponsor / support” your organization. Your value has do go beyond fulfilling basic operational and quotidian needs, to fulfilling emotional ones. To make this happen, you’ve got to connect with people at a level that’s deeper and longer-lived than individual offerings: they have to connect with your brand.

More than your logo, your brand is actually what you mean and promise. It’s comprised of your offerings, your value and values, your history and reputation, how you treat people, and your place in the cultural landscape––much of this expressed in your print, digital, environmental, and personal communications. And your brand doesn’t really exist until people take it in and believe it.

Words, of course, play a big part—but only a part. For cultural organizations, and most especially for arts organizations, how you express yourself visually has an outsized impact on how your brand is perceived and internalized.

Your visual expression, across media, can either invite people in or erect a barrier––can either resonate with a person’s (or sponsor’s) brand, or be at odds. It can either add value to your offerings, or detract. It can differentiate you within a crowded, visually noisy landscape, or barely separate you from the pack.

In this session, we’ll look at:
  • how to define and articulate your brand foundation––your meaning, attributes, assets, and desired positioning––from which all subsequent work flows;
  • how your strategic plan informs how you present yourself;
  • why you need to be thinking of visual expression as a system, comprised of inter-related decisions around logo, type, color, imagery, composition, and design;
  • the need to build a system that can “tilt” to connect with different constituencies: attracting younger audiences is not the same as soliciting patrons for planned giving––but your brand system has to do both;
  • how your new system can save time and money while building increased recognition and connection; and
  • how to engage your organization in this process––so that those who commission, make, and evaluate communications are all working together to increase awareness, interest, participation, and support.
Throughout the talk, we’ll connect theory to practice, and look at examples of visual systems from these successful organizations: Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Seattle Symphony, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Celebrity Series of Boston, Emmanuel Music, Boston Center for the Arts, and the League of American Orchestras––organizations with budgets of varying sizes.
Roger Sametz
President and Chief Executive Officer Sametz Blackstone Associates



Use Data to Drive Fundraising Success

For many years now, arts marketers have relied on data to make key decisions about how to allocate their advertising dollars, which audience segments to target, and what messages and mediums to use for the greatest revenue increases and return on investment. While this has not always been the case with our fundraising teams, new technologies and processes are making it possible to achieve the same kind of data-driven success in annual fund appeals, membership drives, and moves management strategies.

In this session, you’ll learn what fundraising data points are actually worth tracking, how to look at the data and perform the calculations, where to focus your time for optimal results, and how to apply segmentation and targeting strategies used by successful organizations around the country. Bring questions and stories about what has worked for you and your organization.
Paul Miller
Principal NeverDark Consulting


Part Of The Digital Marketing Track:

Smart Digital Marketing on a Budget

While there are many forms of digital marketing, for optimal results your selection must be aligned with your budget and goals. We’ll go over the spectrum of options as well as what are effective matches. PPC, SEO, Email, SMO, Retargeting --- we’ll sort out the acronyms and provide examples.  
Behnam Ataee
CTO Dream Warrior Group / ARTdynamix

LaMae Weber
CEO Dream Warrior Group / ARTdynamix


Part Of The Digital Marketing Track:

Site Design for Better Conversion Rate

Good site design involves not only an impactful look but effective information architecture.  The UI/UX is an important key to converting your visitors or encouraging them to take action.  We’ll go through real examples and discuss the pros/cons and likely impacts on conversions.  

If you’d like your site to be an “example", please email LaMae at lamae@dreamwarrior.com
Behnam Ataee
CTO Dream Warrior Group / ARTdynamix

LaMae Weber
CEO Dream Warrior Group / ARTdynamix


(program and speakers subject to change)

Stay Tuned For Many More Sessions To Be Added, Including:

Increasing Revenue While Lowering Costs 
Attracting Younger Audiences
Google Analytics 
Strategies To Boost Advance Sales 
Optimal Pricing 
Digital And Traditional Marketing Mix 
Social Media As Audience-Building Tool 
And More!

Our Sponsors

  • Images

    Patron Technology’s mission is to revolutionize the arts & entertainment industry by helping our customers build stronger and more profitable relationships with their patrons. PatronManager, our CRM system, combines box office ticketing, fundraising, marketing, and staff collaboration, built entirely on the cloud-based Salesforce platform. Since launch in 2010, it has been the fastest growing platform for arts & culture organizations in the U.S. Over 600 organizations use PatronManager, primarily symphony orchestras, theatres, opera companies, dance companies, university performing arts centers, and museums. Founded in 2001, Patron Technology became the leader in e-marketing technology for arts non-profits with its first product, PatronMail.

    More Info
  • Images

    Dream Warrior Group provides graceful yet technologically savvy solutions for Arts organizations. The goal-driven services focus on audience and action. As your technology advocate, we will be your ally and can manage and fully implement your online presence. Our services (ala carte or contracted) include: Web site design and development, e-marketing, e-promotion, social media management and optimization. We implement your message in a digital environment

    More Info
  • Images

    Theatre Manager™ software is used at Theatres, Festivals, Arenas, Performing Arts Centers, Symphony Orchestras, Museums, Educational Institutions, Municipalities, Non-profit and For-profit organizations.

    Key functionalities:
    - Patron & Household CRM
    - Box Office & Internet Sales
    - without 3rd party fees
    - Development & Donation Management
    - Marketing - including email blasts
    - Artist, Staff & Volunteer Management
    - Financial Controls
    - Facility & Project Management

    Since 1985, our experience has been drawn from 100s of venues, with 1000s of users who use Theatre Manager softwae to track approximately 3/4 of a billion dollars in annual revenue.

    More Info

Conference Schedule

March 15, 2018:
Morning Intensive (Program starts at 9:00 a.m.)
Lunch on Your Own
Opening Reception with one-on-ones

March 16, 2018:
Networking Reception with one-on-ones
Lunch with the Experts
Afternoon Intensive

March 17, 2018:
(Conference end at 1:00 p.m.)

Program and speakers subject to change.

Among other benefits, Arts Reach Members receive significant discounts on conference registration. Join NOW!