Engaging an Art Center’s Constituencies-OnlineA Professional Decision Report for the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Centerby Chelsea Romero
The Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center (BBAC) is“a tax-exempt regional art center, focused on connectingpeople of all ages and abilities with visual arts education,exhibitions & other creative experiences.”
PROBLEM STATEMENT /RESEARCH QUESTIONHow can the BBAC make use of onlinecommunications in order to betterengage target audiences and increaserevenue?
OBJECTIVES• A basic understanding of current effectiveness of their of online communications• Findings about the various tactics peer organizations are using to engage target audiences online• Best practices for utilizing online communications to increase revenue• Information that can used as foundational benchmarks from which to build strategies for better use of email, social media, and a new website.• Recommendations for next steps
METHODOLOGY• Interviews and information gathered from peer organizations• Interviews with key BBAC staff• Survey sent to BBAC’s email list• Literature, e.g. “The Nonprofit Social Media Decision Guide.” (July 2010) Idealware• Analytics
PEER ORGANIZATIONS Southwest School of BBAC Morean Arts Center Gage Academy of Art Baum School of Art Art & Craft Birmingham, MI St. Petersburg, FL Seattle, WA Allentown, PA San Antonio, TX $6M, previous year 2008, $+$5M,Total Revenue $1.6M $1.5M $1.3M $2.5M 2009, $3.2M Members 2,130 1,600 n/a 100/term + 12,000 Courses/Yr 525 525 450 346 students offsiteFacebook Likes n/a 2,200 460 1,687 27
LIMITATIONS• Limitations of survey due to characteristics of email respondents• Amount of interviews with peer organizations (2)
FINDINGS: EMAILCONSTANT CONTACT ANALYSIS• Open rate indicates a core group of approximately 1,200 of people who are staying up to date with BBAC and read e-blasts regularly• Open rates are at industry average, but trending down• Emails do not have strong call to actionPEER ORGANIZATIONS’ BEST PRACTICES• Segmenting may increase open rates and click throughs• Use content to drive people to websiteBEST PRACTICES FROM THE FIELD• Compel with subject lines and test effectiveness• Leverage social media through email communications, as a way to encourage participation and open dialogue
FINDINGS: EMAIL SURVEYFEELINGS ABOUT E-BLASTS• 87.5% felt e-blasts contain “just the right amount” of information• 57% found information relevant, followed by 23% neutral about this question• The largest percentage of respondents (26%) were not interested in family activities at allONLINE BEHAVIORS• 60% watch videos• 43.5% on Facebook• Half (47%) of internet users ages 50-64 and one-in-four (26%) users ages 65 and older now use social networking sites (Pew 2010)DEMOGRAPHICS• Over 33 percent were 55-64 and over 23 percent older• Takeaway about who of their target audiences they are reaching via email• Provide offers and incentives
FINDINGS: SOCIAL MEDIA“My fear with social media is to not look lame” BBAC Director of CommunicationsADDRESSING FEAR & UNCERTAINTY• Strategize and communicate in-house first (Yammer)• Look for partnerships• Empower other staff
Social media is just information until youencourage people to comment on it, linkto it and it begins to travel on its own. Idealware NP Social Media Decision Guide 2010
FINDINGS: SOCIAL MEDIA part 2PEER ORGANIZATIONS’ BEST PRACTICES• Strategize first• Cross-promote on different channels• Encourage participation “We need volunteers tonight!”• Promote constituents’ events, not just your ownBEST PRACTICES FROM THE FIELDCase study of nonprofit organizations found more than half of thoseinvesting in social media tools saw real results beyond number offollowers, such as increase in website traffic, substantive feedbackand new visitors and volunteers.
RESEARCH: WEBSITETIPS FROM PEER ORGANIZATIONS• Importance of course pages• Content features that keep visitors coming back
RESEARCH: WEBSITEA HIGHLY SATISFIED VISITOR IS 49% MORELIKELY TO DONATEGOOGLE ANALYTICS• Browsers usage shows strong skew towards Mac users versus the internet average (and Mac users tend to be younger)
MAJOR TAKEAWAYS• The BBAC has a lot of catching up to doGOOD NEWS!• Audience is eager for more engagement• Social media not best for fundraising, but audience is participatory and may be willing to helpSTRATEGY• Finding a way to become comfortable• Build a strategic framework• Connect all marketing output• Developing measurable goals for using social media - Facebook can help you keep track of views, followers, and comments• Using Google Analytics
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