I had the opportunity to hear Diane Ragsdale from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation speak last week. I thought her talk was smart and inspiring and one thing really caught my attention, the idea of 1000 true fans. You may have heard about it before. True fans are those folks who see all your shows, make a donation, buy the t-shirt AND the mug. It’s a simple idea but that makes it an easy one to aim for. It addresses so many issues that we are dealing with today – the issue of churn, for instance, the constant need to replace audiences. Also, the issue of deepening our engagement with our audiences. She asks the question – how many true fans do you have? Is it enough to sustain your organization? I ask is it even possible to have true fans in this environment? There has been a lot of talk in a lot of places about counting something besides dollars and seats sold to measure our impact and I found this a refreshing way to look at audience development.
Click here to read Diane Ragsdale's speech Surviving the Culture Change.