The Cycle | Michael M. Kaiser

Summary of: The Cycle: A Practical Approach to Managing Arts Organizations
By: Michael M. Kaiser


Delve into the world of arts management with insights from Michael M. Kaiser’s ‘The Cycle: A Practical Approach to Managing Arts Organizations’. This book equips you with valuable tools and techniques to create a sustainable and continually improving arts organization. Learn how quality programming, strategic mission alignment, targeted marketing efforts, and fostering a strong family of supporters can lead to increased audience engagement and financial success. Discover the parallels between arts and sports organizations, the importance of risk-taking, and the crucial role of a supportive board in this engaging exploration of arts management.

The Art of Financial Success

In the world of sports, the key to financial success lies in presenting quality events with the best players available and drawing in spectators. The same goes for performing and visual arts organizations. To achieve success and continual improvement, these organizations must offer the most innovative, highest-quality performances and programs they can afford. Increased attendance leads to larger revenues, which allows for better opportunities and attracts larger audiences. Arts managers need to ensure that the basics are covered and understand the cyclical nature of financial success to integrate it into their management strategy.

The Key to Sustainability

Building sustainable arts organizations requires a strong focus on programming that goes beyond traditional performances or exhibitions. Instead, institutions of all sizes need to consistently provide exceptional and unique content to attract diverse audiences and ongoing donations. This means taking creative risks and pursuing individual visions, while using the mission statement as both a strategic and artistic planning tool. Arts organizations should invest in programming that brings their mission to life and work up to five years in advance to allow for contingencies. By prioritizing programming, arts groups can achieve sustainability and cultivate loyal audiences and donors.

Building an Audience for Arts Programs

Building a successful arts organization requires more than merely creating high-quality productions. Creating demand and building relationships with diverse market segments, pricing offerings appropriately, and providing an excellent audience experience are critical factors. Offering subscriptions to reliable events and tailoring marketing efforts to customer preferences can also help to broaden targeted clients’ options. Employing strategies such as “informational marketing” for reliable events and “missionary marketing” for innovative offerings can generate adequate income and create loyal fans. Conducting research on customer preferences and creating a “campaign calendar” can help to attract and satisfy diverse market segments.

Engaging Supporters for Arts Organizations

Learn how to curate exciting programming, attract audiences, and engage diverse supporters for your arts organization through strategic institutional marketing.

Do you want to create a loyal and diverse community of supporters for your arts organization? Look no further! In this book, you will discover how to strategically curate attractive programming, sell tickets, and build a “family of supporters” that includes donors, volunteers, and board members. But it’s not just about ticket sales, you must increase public awareness by hosting receptions, fund-raising events, and collaborating with other visible institutions. These events create momentum and engage the public’s imagination and dedication beyond just one night’s performance.

To keep your supporters engaged, generate excitement by investing resources in creating an exciting institutional persona that showcases the best possible art to the largest audience. Don’t waste precious resources on fancy logos or two-color stationery. Develop a strategic marketing plan that targets each audience segment and nourishes an image that aligns with your mission. Create an institutional marketing calendar and find the right marketing vehicles such as programs, events, joint ventures, lectures, tours, and master classes.

Finally, learn how to apply specific strategies to special circumstances such as fiscal turnarounds, launching a new organization, promoting visibility, building structure, providing children’s services, promoting smaller arts companies, or dealing with any negative image issues. By following these strategies, you can mitigate negatives like poor facilities, weak contributions, or a troubled reputation. This book will help you engage supporters and invest in the future of your arts organization.

Nurturing a Loyal Family

Successful non-profits thrive on the support of a loyal community of ticket buyers, artists, volunteers, and donors. By prioritizing engaged and committed individuals and providing exceptional customer service, non-profits can build a strong foundation of support. Avoid limiting your family to a homogenous group or disinterested members. Instead, nurture a diverse and devoted group through five-year planning. By putting the needs of your community first, you’ll create a mantra of good art marketed well. Invest in your organization’s family, and watch it thrive for years to come.

The Importance of a Happy Board

A board of directors that feels engaged and valued is essential to the success of any organization. It is important to ensure that board members are proud of your programs and that they feel financially secure. If board members have fears about finances or the quality of the organization’s work, it can lead to poor performance and disengagement. Regularly recruit and replace board members, and encourage former members to stay involved in new roles. Evaluate board members’ performance regularly on their ability to implement strategic plans, understand and consent to the budget, recruit and manage personnel, raise funds, and serve as ambassadors for the organization.

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