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Measure what matters: 6 metrics arts leaders should track


 Photo by Gavin Brogan (CC BY 2.0)

There are a lot of metrics that an arts organization could track in an effort to be successful and sustainable. With today’s robust CRM systems, there’s no shortage of data on arts patrons and their buying and donating behavior.

The truth is, what gets measured gets managed.

When you decide to track a metric and make changes in your work to move that number up or down, you’re giving that metric power. That means your organization sets its priorities as an institution by what you collectively decide to measure.

So what are you measuring? We’ve compiled 6 metrics that arts and cultural organizations should be tracking in order to assess their current situation, stabilize their business model, and start generating working capital. Members of our team have generated a short video on each metric.

We’ll be releasing one metric a week, starting next week. Watch them separately, or clear an hour in your schedule and watch all of them as you would a TRG webinar.

Metric #1: Patron-generated revenue

Released September 15

Forget earned and contributed revenue. Thinking about revenue generated by patrons vs. other sources may help your arts organization far more. In this video, Amelia Northrup-Simpson of TRG Arts explains why categorizing revenue only as earned or contributed can create siloes within organizations and how to calculate the amount and percentage of patron-generated revenue.

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Metric #2: Active patron participation

Released September 22

Active patrons are the patrons an arts organization serves today. But will they still be there tomorrow? It depends on how YOU cultivate them. In this video, Jill Robinson of TRG Arts discusses how and why to measure active patron participation at performing arts organizations and museums. She also explains the concept of an “upgrade”—the next step for every patron to grow their loyalty.

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Metric #3: Data capture rate

Released September 29

If we want to cultivate an arts patron, we’ve got to know their history with our organization first. That starts by collecting their contact information. In this video, David Seals of TRG Arts explains why capturing contact information can mean serious revenue gain—or lost opportunity. He’ll also review what contact information you should collect and tips for collecting it at the point of sale.

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Metric #4: New audience churn rate

Released October 6

Churn. Attrition. Turnover. Call it what you will; the fact is, you’re losing new patrons. With few exceptions, arts organization over-prospect for new audiences and under-retain them. In this video, Jim DeGood of TRG Arts explains why retention matters, how to measure your risk, and a simple 4-step process for retention that you can implement at your own organization.

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Metric #5: % of subscriber-donors

Released October 13

Is renewal rate the best measurement of loyalty? While it shows how many subscribers or members arts organizations are retaining, it doesn’t indicate if patrons are growing in their loyalty. In this video, Keri Mesropov of TRG Arts explains why renewal rate can be deceptive and the metric arts organizations should consider tracking alongside it.

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Metric #6: Per capita revenue

Released October 20

Is your arts organization generating the most revenue it can for each event? There’s a way to measure that! In this video, Lindsay Anderson of TRG Arts explains how to figure out if your pricing strategy is causing you to lose money, and common causes of lost revenue due to pricing strategy.

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Posted September 11, 2015




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