SiloYou’re an arts organization, a theater, an opera, a public media outlet. And there’s a push to get ticket buyers, members, and subscribers. The seats and slots need to be filled. There are spaces to be filled and budget expectations to be met.
Looking at it from the inside, there’s nothing more important than your point of view if you’re the owner of the seats or slots function.
If you’re the ticket person, nothing takes priority over selling those tickets and filling those seats. Gotta hit a certain percentage of seats sold! Must do it. It’s reasonable.
If you’re the membership person, nothing takes priority over getting more members. Gotta meet the goal. Need to do better than last year! Must do it. It’s reasonable.
And if you’re the fundraising person, you’re likely in a tug of wills with the ticket-membership-marketing persons. It can’t be helped. They have their priorities. And there isn’t time to worry about what a ticket buyer or member might donate. Can’t do it. Have to stay focused on the job at hand.
This is such a fascinating subject to Jeff and me.
Every organization we’ve looked at, that has this dynamic brewing in their marketing and fundraising, is siloed and entrenched with their point of view and assigned scope of work. At one level it makes sense. This work of getting ticket buyers, members, subscribers, and donors needs to get done.
But the problem is that hardly anyone is looking at this from the “outsider’s” point of view — that human being who’s interested in the arts organization, the performing theater, the opera, the public media outlet.
This “outsider” (more often than not) is wanting, or at least willing, to participate at a higher level than she currently is. But no one’s asking her to. That, my friend, is the very interesting data point.
You see, if you look at this strictly from an economic point of view, these “outsiders” are economic units. In fact, many of them are pretty healthy economic units. They have way more capacity to contribute than their current levels.
But the insiders keep them at those levels, year after year. There’s very little upgrading and, often, no cross-selling. So the economic contribution to the organization they love stays at 20-30% of their potential. And the other 70-80% goes to other organizations who are actively asking them to participate.
Think about this.
70-80% of the economic capacity goes to another organization.
Why would you let that happen?
Because either you believe that the potential doesn’t exist OR you are so focused on the mini function that you can’t see the macro function.
What should you do if you’re in this situation?
Rise up! That’s what you should do. Rise up to a higher level so you can see the true picture.
Many of these wonderful ticket buyers can and will donate. Ask them.
Many of these wonderful ticket buyers, members, and subscribers who donate can and will donate more. Ask them. (Tweet it!)
Get out of your silo, and see things from the donor’s point of view.
And if you’re an authority figure who manages all the systems in your organization – break down the silos and get folks talking, cooperating, and working together to harvest all the goodwill and love these ticket buyers, members, subscribers, and donors have for your organization.
It will be good for you, for them, and for the organization you both love.