Course blog for American University PERF-570, Fall 2014
The age old question of how to engage younger patrons always seems to be present. This article provided a four step process for how to engage younger patrons. I like how she kept it to four. It implies that it is not as scary as many arts managers think. Frankly I love the first step which is to project an inviting welcome. The post goes on to talk about how many young patrons are turned off by not knowing every detail about a work, the composer, etc. I think that is a problem even older patrons feel.
The second step focuses on events that engage them. One line stood out to me in particular, “This means they can actually have a conversation without yelling over the DJ’s music,” and maybe this makes me old but I cheered along with that line. I think this is something most of us feel should be the norm. There are nights when you can have the epic dance party to make art fun, but if you want to keep a young patron as an active member of the organization, you need a few nights that are not about the DJ.
The third step focuses on the long term potential. This is something I relate to. Don’t tell me it is $500 upfront. Say $25 a month. I can live with losing $25 a month. I will then learn I can live without it and increase it over time. This is how you can take a scared, poor, young patron into a long term donor or more.
Lastly, board members should look within their own organizations for young patrons. Not only does this bring in people the Board thinks is qualified, but it helps their own organization by fostering such a strong bond between two people who wouldn’t normally interact. The older board members still might not interact with younger board members anyway, but at least this move might help. My dad recently remarked to me at an event I went to since my mom was not feeling it that I befriended their newest (2 weeks on the job) board member before he has even had a chance to befriend him. I did happily make an introduction and now he sits next to my dad at meetings regularly.
I’m curious what the rest of my classmates think about these steps. They seem pretty easy!