2014 Patron Loyalty Study: Loyalty By the Numbers
comments powered by Disqus

TRG Blog: Analysis from TRG Arts

2014 Patron Loyalty Study: Loyalty By the Numbers

Amelia Northrup-Simpson | January 22, 2015 8:44 AM

New research reveals key data for developing museum and performing arts audiences

Produced by Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance with support from TRG Arts

Read more and download the study>>

This content is cross-posted from the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance website.

2014 Patron Loyalty Study: Loyalty By the NumbersThe 2014 Patron Loyalty Study: Loyalty By the Numbers examines the financial transactions (including ticket sales, memberships and donations) of almost a million Greater Philadelphia households, using seven years of data from 17 major cultural attractions in the region. One of the key findings of the report is that, despite the sector’s focus on developing new audiences, the erosion of current audience loyalty represents one of the most significant financial risks for cultural groups. 

The study found that less than 3% of patrons generated over 62% of total patron revenue. However, spending by this small but powerful group of patrons declined 12% throughout the study, driven by a decline in primarily donor activity/revenue.

“While expanding audiences remains critical for the long term,” said Cultural Alliance Vice President John McInerney, “Retention and engagement of current audiences may be the most important strategy for an organization’s bottom line.”

At the same time revenue from the most loyal patrons declined, new audiences remained difficult to retain. Half of all patrons in the study were new every year, but rarely returned after just one visit—70% of new patrons never returned to any of the 17 groups in the year following their first visit.

However, encouragingly, the study also suggested that collaboration and the sharing of resources could be an effective strategy to engage top-level patrons. Over 90% of top-tier Advocates were active at between 2 and 7 organizations in the study, with most making multiple transactions. Sharing information about engaged patrons across the community could help groups target the patrons in their own database that were most likely to become more engaged.  

The 17 museums and performing arts groups who participated in the 2014 Patron Loyalty Study are:
Annenberg Center
Arden Theatre Company
Kimmel Center
Opera Philadelphia
Pennsylvania Ballet
People’s Light and Theatre
Philadelphia Orchestra
The Wilma Theater
Brandywine River Museum
Franklin Institute
Independence Seaport Museum
Longwood Gardens
Penn Museum
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Philadelphia Zoo
Please Touch Museum
The 2014 Patron Loyalty Study was produced by the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance with support from TRG Arts, and was made possible by the William Penn Foundation.
To download a PDF of the report, click here.

About the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance

Established in 1972, the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance is the region’s leading arts and cultural advocacy, research and marketing organization. Our mission is to “lead, strengthen and give voice to a diverse cultural sector that is making Philadelphia a world-class region to live, work, and play.”  Our membership includes over 400 organizations ranging from museums and dance companies to community art centers, historic sites, music ensembles and zoos. Our members, as well as the cultural community as a whole, count on the Alliance for signature research reports on the health and growth of the sector; grantmaking in partnership with the Pennsylvania Council on the arts; robust professional development and membership services; marketing and audience development through our signature consumer marketing programs, Phillyfunguide.com and Funsavers; and leadership in policy and community engagement through our GroundSwell advocacy initiative and STAMP teen program. For more information on the Cultural Alliance, please visit www.philaculture.org.


Be notified of future content like this with eNews.

Sign up for TRG's eNews and you'll be notified when more content like this is posted, as well as getting our latest research, blog posts, and webinar announcements delivered straight to your inbox. Simply fill out the form below:

* indicates required


Case Study: Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma

Annual operating budget up 32% in 5 seasons

Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma 
 Photo: Joseph Mills

After a poor year for earned revenue in 2012, Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma (LTO) had rebounded and was experiencing a growth spurt. In 2013, Director of Marketing Danyel Siler had turned her attention to single tickets.

Her hard work had paid off, but season tickets were still a challenge. “Season tickets were steadily declining,” she said. “The season ticket campaign had been done the same way for years, maybe even decades. And we blamed the fall on the trend that subs were declining everywhere. Our executive director, artistic director, and I all knew something needed to change, but we didn’t know what.”

Read More>>


Jill Robinson
Adam Scurto
Amelia Northrup-
J.L.Nave Vincent VanVleet Keri Mesropov

Upcoming Events

Professional Development Workshops


September 26-28, 2018 - TRG Arts Executive Summit; Paris, France

October 17-19, 2018 - TRG Arts Executive Summit; Colorado Springs, CO



Museums Association Annual Conference & Exhibition - 8-10 November 2018; Belfast

NAMP Conference 2018 - November 9-12, 2018; Seattle, WA

Admin Login