Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Golden Rule

We all know it: Treat Others the Way You Want to be Treated

This doesn't just apply to us as individuals...as arts organizations we should be paying it forward, giving back, getting on the karma train, etc.

It's not just good karma though, it's also good business. Take a marketing example: at my organization, we have a moderately sized email list of very loyal and largely well-off patrons (the gays love the arts and have money to spend). What theater or performing group wouldn't want to get in front of them?

We send out a monthly newsletter letting our "family" know what's new, what just happened, and what they can look forward to coming up in our schedule. We always reserve a spot in this newsletter to feature our friends in other performing arts groups around the city. Why give away free advertising? Because we expect the same. Down the road, when one of our concerts isn't selling as well as we hoped, we can call up Ford's Theatre and ask them to give us a shout-out.

The golden rule doesn't stop there. Arts orgs, even though they are often going after the same donors, grants and corporate dollars, seem to have an understanding that supporting each other and cheering each other on is more productive than the alternative. When we cut each other down, or poach each others donors, it creates a sense of unrest and uncertainty of what our organizations will look like tomorrow. Donors don't want to invest in uncertainty, which is why we need to be certain we are playing by the rules. There's no real magic here...just be nice, be honest, and don't do anything you wouldn't want to your mother to hear.

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