Lessons to be learned from COVID

Do you feel like your arts organization got hit by a bus? Well, the license plate of that bus was “COVID,” and the impact will be felt for years to come. 

These past few years have called to the forefront the critical need for the production side and business side of an arts organization to be working in unison.  

Today, arts organizations of all sizes across the world are struggling with the monumental task of bringing patrons back to their seats and donors to their checkbooks. Yet doing so with slashed budgets, overwhelmed staff leaving the industry, and now inflation can be daunting. 

Does this sound familiar? Everyone is working longer and harder. Too much work to do and too few staff to do what is needed. Like hamsters on a wheel. Too busy putting out fires. Everyone is doing their best but, unfortunately, working in their own sphere, a silo, where they focus on only the job at hand. These issues break down the cooperation and communication within the organization needed in today’s art world. 

So how do you change this environment with so many challenges to overcome? Here are a few tips for you to consider. 

1. Look for outside resources to supplement your staff, whether it is just for a specific event or as a short-term solution to low staffing. It is often an intelligent and economic strategy until staffing levels can increase again.  

2. Maximize media spending by knowing more about your audience. Then build specific strategies for targeting and tracking this audience.  

3. Use digital marketing or other forms to stretch your media spending budget. It is a proven way to target specific audiences at less cost than most other marketing options.  

4. View each show or performance not only as an artistic success but also in how it impacts the organization’s financial health.  

5. Take advantage of innovative technologies which allow you to track ticket sales week by week leading up to shows or performances. This allows for changes to marketing strategies as deadlines loom closer. Consistent tracking strategies lead to meeting your ticketing and income goals.  

The challenges are many, but with a new mindset, the tide will turn. Now is the time to get the production side and the business side out of their silos and into a unified choir, all singing the same song. Create fabulous performances and a healthy and growing organization. 

Denny Weinzierl, CFO, Confluence Arts Solutions

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