STAGE DOOR

5 Tips For Driving Diversity For Your Arts Organization

Since June, we have been continuously reminded of the fight for equality and the responsibility that arts organizations have to hold space for diverse representation within their venues, communities and organizations. Over the last months, we saw many organizations publicly commit themselves to diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

The challenge can be figuring out what is next. 

In order for arts organizations to authentically and effectively engage with a multicultural audience, arts leaders have an opportunity to drive diversity within their staffing and leadership, performances, storytellers, and audiences. The Association of National Advertisers’ Alliance for Inclusive Multicultural Marketing found that the top advertisers in the U.S. currently spend less than 1 percent of budgets to reach multicultural audiences. This number is surprising considering that 39.6% of the population is considered non-White according to the US Census Bureau. So, even statistically, it makes sense for companies to expand their reach to speak to a wider, more inclusive audience. 

However, it can be daunting to find the right diversity and inclusion initiatives for your organization to focus on. No matter where your organization is starting, either from scratch or with years of experience building out diversity and inclusion practices, the foundation for improvement requires an ongoing dedication to learning, listening, and consistently taking steps forward. From there, identifying opportunities to have conversations around inclusion can help build out a consistent practice. As your organization continues to develop strategies for diversity and inclusion, here are 5 areas for arts organizations to focus on.  

1. Hiring. One of the best places to start is by making sure your organization reflects your community.

Looking at the leadership and staff within your organization can help you identify areas of opportunity for hiring more diverse perspectives. It is crucial to look at every area of your organization with a multicultural lens; from recruiting to retaining and developing talent and even one step further, developing KPIs and holding the organization accountable to these diversity KPIs and initiatives. Having diverse staff, behind the scenes, can help influence more inclusive casting, programming, and help promote more visible diversity on stage.  

What do diverse hiring practices look like? It’s important to look at the root cause of the lack of diversity, and not just the symptoms of it. We encourage you to look into Implicit Bias Tests to identify any unconscious biases as you are looking for candidates for open roles. When doing an initial screening of candidates, try a blind recruitment process that removes all identification details from resumes and applications to help your hiring team evaluate candidates on skill and experience instead of extraneous factors that can cause biased decisions. In order to successfully implement other initiatives such as diverse casting and storytelling, your organizations must bring in leaders with unique perspectives and experiences to spotlight areas that could use more representation. 

Take Action: Challenge your recruiting and hiring managers to include people with different backgrounds or experiences when hiring open roles. To help engage with top talent, you may speak with community organizations that advocate for diversity for referrals or recommendations on where to get started or by speaking to your existing employees for referrals. 

2. Casting. After reaching a record high in the 2015-16 Broadway season, due in large part to Hamilton, the 2016-17 season experienced a drop in representation for BIPOC characters from 36% to 29%. Through Hamilton, we could see the power of how an inclusive casts and storytelling perspective can drive engagement with diverse audiences. If you want more diverse audiences, cast diverse actors and actresses who represent those you want to reach. However, it’s important to not only look at casting, but also other opportunities to bring diversity into your performance – for example the orchestra, the director, etc. Think beyond what is just represented on stage, but also who is representing your organization. 

The graph on the right demonstrates the inequality in representation in Broadway shows in the 2014-15 season. It’s clear that there needs to be more representation in the fine arts for many reasons, but especially as the goal of the arts is to inspire its audience. There’s “No reason you can’t have an Asian Belle or a Black Roxie Hart.” When casting your actors, consider challenging your thoughts on whether or not the race, ability, age, or sex of the actor is important to your characters. If these factors are necessary to choosing an actor, consider if it is because the character represents a specific stereotype.

The last thing you want to do is put non-white performers in roles that are one-dimensional or stereotyped. Diverse audiences will embrace more dynamic and complex character representation. It’s not enough to only include BIPOC in productions, but also to ensure that the characters are not promoting harmful or damaging caricatures or tokenism.

Image from: Quartz

Take Action: Consider engaging in “non-traditional casting”. According to the Washington Post, non-traditional casting is “the use of actors of any race, sex, ethnic background, or degree of disability in roles for which such factors are not germane to the development of stage characters or the play.” Work with organizations such as Asian-American Performers Action Coalition or the African-American Artists Alliance to partner with them to find more diverse actors or to collaborate on initiatives that will diversify your organization. Prior to calling in any actors, have a conversation with your team on the necessity for the character to be played by someone of a specific race, gender, nationality, ability, etc. The conversation itself can spur some great ideas and new perspectives.

3. Programming. One way to ensure inclusion and reach underrepresented audiences in your community is to allow them to tell their stories. Welcome BIPOC storytellers to share their stories and reach out to BIPOC directors to provide their perspective with your audiences. 

There are plenty of stories to be told that are written by Black playwrights that should be heard. Onstage blog recommends to start with productions that require minimum BIPOC casting, but still have BIPOC roles that are not just “window-dressing”, but instead lend a hand to the story at hand. This is a way to get started in introducing more BIPOC roles into your theatre without it seeming forced. With this, your organization is able to open your doors to more BIPOC actors/actresses. 

Take Action: Analyze where your organization is at. If your organization has a history of putting on diverse shows, continue to do so and also look into where you can further push BIPOC actors into larger roles and productions. If your organization historically doesn’t have the best representation, look into easing yourself in the right direction with productions that have meaningful and complex roles for BIPOC actors. 

4. Marketing and Budget: Your community may have more diverse representation within it then your patron profile and there is an opportunity to be more strategic with your marketing efforts and budget to reach audiences you previously missed. If your goal is to reach a larger audience, consider allocating a portion of your marketing budget to reach different audience types.  Having this dedicated budget will enable you to tap reach more diverse communities that previously felt the arts weren’t accessible to them.

Take Action: One area to start with can be your marketing materials.  Make sure your marketing materials are representing diverse audiences and performers. You can also plan on some specific community outreach through email or social media directed at the diverse community you want to attract. It can even extend to your paid media efforts. We work with many clients who set aside a percentage of their media budget specifically for outreach to diverse communities. When you do allocate specific budget for these kinds of efforts, take into consideration what your KPIs should be. They may not still be ROAS, but instead looking at if your representation in audience members are increasing, if your age demographic is growing wider, etc 

Also, analyzing your audience can be another impactful way to see if there is opportunity for more inclusion. Understanding your existing audience profile, can help you identify gaps in other groups you may want to reach out to. 

By addressing your marketing materials, your budget allocation strategy, and your audience profile, you will be able to develop actionable steps towards driving inclusivity.

5. Learning and Growth: This journey will not be immediate. There will always be ways to champion diversity within your organization. However, it’s important to commit to learning and staying educated in order to continue the momentum of representation in your organization. This can spark conversations within your organization on new ideas or approaches on how to drive equity, inclusion and diversity in your organization. We understand that not everything can be done at once, but it’s important to look at the small changes that can be made starting now. An easy way to start these conversations is through asking questions regarding diversity within your organization members. Starting conversations will help drive your organization in the right direction.

Take Action: Initiate set meetings biweekly or monthly to discuss with the members of your organization how you can continue to have more representation on-stage and off-stage. By having these conversations you open the floor for people in your organization to speak up on other ways to drive change.  Additionally, bringing in speakers to your organization who can bring new ideas from an outside perspective, can help keep this conversation a key priority for your organization. 

At the end of the day, the arts were created to reflect our lives and that includes representing those from diverse backgrounds and perspectives.Though these are five ways to get started in addressing diversity in your organization, it is an ongoing journey. Making small steps forward and having continued commitment is crucial to the success of these initiatives and we encourage you to continue finding new opportunities to incorporate diversity into your organization.  

Diversify Your Online Audience by Engaging New Patrons Offline

Arts organizations across the nation are brainstorming new ways to reach patrons given the ever changing regulations put in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. With an overwhelming amount of temporary closures, arts organizations have pivoted to providing digital content for their patrons to stay engaged with the arts while at home. By expanding online and building out a digital offering, arts content is becoming increasingly accessible to a broader audience. We know that in a live environment, not all people who want to engage with the arts are able to access it. Whether it’s due to location, cost, previous perception, accessibility for those needing additional support, or lack of exposure or education of the arts, moving content online opens up the audience to those previously excluded. By providing a new platform to enjoy this experience, live entertainment can extend its reach on a national scale and not just a regional one. Now, arts organizations are looking to new methods to reach these audiences, of all ages.  

For many patrons, accessing the arts online is a new concept and may require guidance for the best user experience. The average arts patron is 49 years old, which is ~30% older than the median age of the US population. In the past, older audiences have relied more heavily on traditional marketing efforts such as newspaper ads, free standing inserts (ie. flyer in the local paper), mailers, email, newsletters, tv and outdoor. Today, over 51% of older Americans now have some sort of technology handy and thus the generation gap between tech-savvy and technophobics is narrowing. With that in mind, your audience may need some additional technical support to make sure they can enjoy your content. Here are 3 ideas to get you started on how to engage this older audience and bring them a new digital arts experience.

  1. Utilize traditional marketing efforts to inform your audience
    • Send a direct mailer or email with a “how to guide” to access digital content  
    • Create a website, microsite or QR code with easy step by step instruction for easy access 
    • Include “email for more information” to offer one-on-one support
  2. Leverage your existing audience who may be more digitally savvy 
    • Promote co-viewing virtual events (can provide a sense of community/togetherness). This could include watching with your family and friends or even just getting help from your loved ones. 
    • Partner with communities in your organization to host digital viewing parties, especially retirement or activity clubs.  
  3. Show your patrons that online content can still be a great experience, similar to in-person events
    • Provide pull quotes or reviews from happy patrons
    • Share guides or examples on how to transform your home to an amazing theatre experience (props, lighting, snacks/meal recipes, etc)
    • Add in special effects into the streaming content such as dimming the lights during the start and intermission of the show, add in crowd noises such as cheering and clapping at the end of the performance, or other experiences that make people feel like they are at the theatre
    • Set up social forums so your audience can share and discuss a topic, performance, or events

These are just a few ideas of how to guide your more traditional audiences to engage with your organization virtually. To customize this experience even more, you can try surveying long-time subscribers or audiences of a certain demographic to learn exactly what kind of experiences virtual events! Bringing more of your organization’s audience online, allows for more opportunity and flexibility to speak to these patrons on short timelines and lower costs. We hope these tips help you bring your audience closer to you once again.

What You Need to Know About Facebook & Instagram Ad Spend in July

A growing number of advertisers including Ben & Jerrys, DeVry University, Honda, and Sesame Street have joined civil rights groups in a new campaign “Stop Hate for Profit” to temporarily halt advertising spend on Facebook and Instagram in the month of July, some organizations have gone as far as stopping all advertising on social through the end of 2020. The movement’s goal is to pressure Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg to address Facebook’s impact on society, and follow Twitter’s lead to draw a definitive line regarding hate speech that cannot be crossed in on-platform discussion.

As of 2019, nearly 99% of Facebook’s $70 billion revenue comes directly from advertising, and many say the social media giant should do more to protect Black users and call out hate speech. The groups are asking Facebook to take clear and actionable steps as outlined on the Stop Hate for Profit website which include accountability, decency and support. Mark Zuckerberg posted an update in response to the movement on June 26th, “Many of the changes we’re announcing today come directly from feedback from the civil rights community and reflect months of work with our civil rights auditors…Facebook stands for giving people a voice — especially people who have previously not had as much voice or power to share their experiences.” The Facebook post goes into detail on 4 major initiatives the company is implementing: 

  1. Providing Authoritative Information on Voting
  2. Steps to Fight Voter suppression
  3. Establishing higher standards for hateful content in ads
  4. Proactively labeling newsworthy content

While word is spreading among advertisers, a recent Google Consumer Survey highlighted that 70% of Facebook/Instagram users were either unaware of the boycott, or unsure how they felt about it. The highest rates of approval for the boycott came from 18-24 year olds, followed closely by users over 65. 

We understand that not all organizations, especially non-profits, have the ability to stop advertising. What is important is to evaluate if pausing Facebook or Instagram spend makes sense for your organization:

  • Who is your audience, are they active Facebook users?  
  • What are your organization’s marketing goals?
  • Does Facebook’s policy violate/conflict with your company’s values and/or mission statement?

After reviewing these questions your organization may be consider joining the #StopHateforProfit movement. If so, your Mogo team can discuss your opportunities to re-allocate any planned Facebook or Instagram spend to alternative channels, tailored to your audience and campaign goals. We are here to support our partners to align their media investment, goals, and needs.

How Arts Subscriptions are Evolving in 2020

In the arts community, summertime means subscription sales. However, in 2020, it’s different. Non-profit Performing Arts organizations generate a majority of revenue solely on ticket sales, loyal subscribers, and generous donors; which sometimes makes up 75% or more of annual budgets. Organizations are planning ahead to maximize subscription sales in the midst of uncertain times.

As arts organizations await guidance from local or state governments on moving forward with live events, it will be critical to have subscription options in place. Packages now require added flexibility to support refunds and exchanges, or the option to move your seats. Here are a few examples of how some of our partners are using seat maps, flexible pricing, and new packages to help drive sales this summer:

DEVELOP GATED DIGITAL CONTENT: Virtual events create the opportunity to reach new and untapped audiences that may not have been willing to try something new, hire a babysitter for the night, or even drive a distance to the theater. It’s more convenient, makes content accessible, and creates a new revenue stream. Recently, SFJAZZ has debuted its very own Digital Membership starting at as little as $5/month. By signing up members gain access to an exclusive members-only virtual concert series.

OFFER INCENTIVES: Outside of “buy more and save” there are many perks that will entice patrons to subscribe. Last week, we shared the top incentives which drive charitable giving to arts organizations. Most of these donor incentives can also apply as subscriber benefits: 

  • Gifts such as access to raffle tickets, auction items, giveaways, concession vouchers, etc.
  • Recognition in the form of a subscriber spotlight in a newsletter or social media
  • Exclusive access to subscriber-only content and events like meet ‘n greets (via Zoom or in-person) with cast and directors

While some “traditional” subscriber benefits such as discounted concessions, front of line access and secured seats may be on hold – many organizations are finding ways to digitize these perks or create unique online experiences for their subscribers. 

OFFER FLEXIBLE PACKAGES: Even with all the precautions in place, patrons may not feel comfortable yet committing to a full season of programming. Some organizations are offering a “Choose-Your-Own” mini-subscription package. Patrons can choose the shows or events they want to attend and customize their own packages. Offering partial subscriptions with flexible options to swap productions or dates might ease the fear of commitment to return to the theater again.

4 Ways to Drive Donations with Incentives

As organizations build their strategy, donations are going to be a big factor for those in the Arts. Earlier this month, we discussed the value of the arts donation audiences, messaging best practices, and maximizing your efforts. However, we know a large component of donation campaigns this year will have a focus on incentives to engage donor audiences. By combining a compelling offer and the right strategy, arts organizations can reach new donors, attract larger gifts, and build a relationship with your core donor audiences. In talking with arts organizations across the US and Canada, here are the top 4 strategies nonprofits are using to engage with their donor audiences:

1. Gifts
2. Donor-Only Access
3. Direct recognition
4. Going Digital

GIFTS
In working with our arts partners, we are seeing more donation campaigns offering gifts as a way to encourage engagement. These incentives are often awarded if patrons donate a certain amount, which can increase the average donation value and draw in first-time and loyal donors. Our arts partners are experimenting, now more than ever, with different gifting strategies. Here are some examples of incentives to help drive donations:

  • Raffle Tickets
  • Auction Items
  • Matching Donation Gifts
  • Ticket or Subscription Giveaways
  • Concession Vouchers
  • Gift Cards

Raffle or auction item gifts can include memorabilia, stage props, or even autographed items from directors and actors. These gifts can range in value to both the audience and the venue, but the goal is to encourage and incentivize donors to give at various levels to ensure organizations are achieving their donation goals.

Pro Tip: Build a tiered strategy for your incentives so donors are encouraged to give at the level that makes sense for them and for the organization. Higher value gifts should require an increased donation. These gifts help motivate people to give more if there is an incentive to do so.

DONOR-ONLY ACCESS PERKS
Another way to incentivize donations and increase engagement is to provide donor-only access perks. By creating special offers just for donors, it helps to drive a feeling of priority and exclusivity for those willing to give. Creating perks will help establish and build stronger relationships with your donor community. Organizations are developing different strategies to reward donors through exclusive access and experiences, including:

  • Priority Access – If you provide donors with priority access to performances, workshops, events, classes, etc. this can capture donors’ interest, encourage them to give at higher levels, and provide them additional ways to experience your organization now and in the future. This can also include giving them priority access to will-call or concession lines as a way to reward your donors.
  • Donor-Only Events – Organizations can host appreciation events or performances where donors have exclusive access. In our current climate, we are seeing organizations hosting donor-only virtual events, while others are going to host a donor-specific in-venue event once they are able to. Either way, it’s a great way to reward those willing to give.
  • Exclusive Content – Other organizations have been talking about offering streaming or interactive content including interviews with the set or costume designers, sneak peek of dress rehearsals, etc. Many are creating a library of on-demand content that only donors will have access to. Meet and Greets – Organizations are offering virtual meetings, happy hours, or Q&A sessions with directors, composers, actors, dancers, etc. so that donors will have a one of a kind experience. Through this intimate unique experience, the organization is able to build a stronger loyalty with these donors.

These offers have tangible value both to the arts organizations and donors, so it’s important to set a minimum donation requirement for people to access these donor-only perks.

Pro Tip: There is an investment in time and resources to develop some of these ideas. Look for ways the content or events can be documented and repurposed for press or promotional purposes, that way you will be able to further maximize your efforts.

DIRECT RECOGNITION
Showing appreciation to donors directly is a great way to make them feel valued and to show how important their ongoing support is for your organization. Here are some ways organizations are able to recognize their donors:

  • Digitally through newsletters, emails, website, or social media
  • Printing a donors name in a playbill or performance materials
  • Write hand-written thank you letters
  • Create plaques, certifications, or awards
  • Adding names to a donation wall or theater seats where budget and donation amount allow

Pro Tip: Using social media to thank your donors has the added benefit of extending your reach and amplifying your efforts. Thank donors on social will allow you to reach donors, your followers, and reach new audiences through shares and hashtags. All of which could draw in other donations.


GOING DIGITAL
While you build out your donation strategy one thing to keep in mind is how digital efforts are able to amplify your message, reach your audience efficiently, and drive donations. While most of the ideas and donor strategies were discussed above, going digital can amplify those strategies and help you reach your donation goals. Here are some ideas on how you can embrace digital efforts to drive donations:

  • Digital campaigns can help promote gifts and perk programs so that your target audience understands the value and benefits of supporting the arts
  • Promote your streaming or on-demand content. If donor-only shows or behind-the-scenes content is possible, target audiences that are most likely to donate.
  • On social, run digital campaigns to amplify the recognition and appreciation of your donors. It can become its own mini-campaign of thanks which can help keep your brand top-of -mind while encouraging people to give


No matter if you are using incentives like gifts, donor-access, recognition, finding the right ways to incentivize and appreciate your patrons will help you build a connection and continue to drive donations. In this time, arts organizations can find innovative ways to keep their audience connected and motivated to give while rewarding them for their generosity.

5 Tips on How to Engage Your Donor Audience

As arts organizations navigate the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, donor support is more important than ever in keeping our arts community alive. As in-person events and the economic health of the country are deeply affected by this pandemic, arts organizations are challenged to come up with strategies to connect with their audience and drive support, especially from their donors. Knowing arts patrons are also facing challenging times, targeting the donors who are still able to give becomes even more important.  So reaching the right audience and striking the appropriate tone is critical in driving a successful donation campaign.

We analyzed 800+ donation efforts to understand what makes a campaign successful. One thing is clear:

Audience matters: Mogo has done extensive audience testing and found that arts organizations are more loyal and generous compared to non-arts donors, such as humanitarian or other charitable causes. Arts audiences are more compelled to give, which is a huge opportunity for you. Here are the numbers:

When comparing art-specific donors to non-arts donors (humanitarian, charitable, or social causes), we have seen: 

  • -10% Decrease in CPA
  • +33% Growth in Conversion
  • +36% Grown in ROAS

What this means is that arts audiences tend to donate more often and give more. Armed with this data, we’ve compiled 5 tips to improve your donation strategy: 

  1. People give from their hearts, not their heads. Have your content tie back to the value your arts organization brings to your community. Share how you foster expression, learning, exploring, educating, and growth for your community. Your audience will resonate with your message and inspire them to give. 
  2. Make it personal. Help your audience understand why they should care and what their gift will mean to the arts and their community. Personalize your message, share what and how specifically a contribution will benefit the community, organization, or effort.  If you have a success story share it. Donors want to connect to the value and benefit their gift will support. It’s also important to keep in mind that during this time, organizations need to be thoughtful about the messages they are sharing. It is important to stay on top of local and national conversations to align messaging with the community’s needs. Focus on your positive, mission-based messaging and be flexible with your efforts. It might mean at times the donation efforts are active and other times paused, depending on the needs of your community. The key is to customize the donation efforts to your donor audience.   
  3. Incentivize donors.  Find ways to create benefits that encourage people to give. Incentives can be anything from giveaways, priority access, and direct recognition that will help reward those who most generously give. Mogo has a blog post all about donation incentives coming out next week.
  4. Let donors support your cause long-term. Can you offer recurring donations? If not, it’s a great avenue to explore. Allow your donors to invest in your future with recurring contributions, enabling loyal patrons to continue to give.
  5. Find the right audience. Test different audiences to see which methods and strategies drive the highest success rates for your organization. While targeting is often customized for each arts organization, here are some examples of audiences that have driven success in the past: prior donors or subscribers, fans and followers, frequent travelers, home and garden enthusiasts, and music lovers just to name a few. Each organization has their own unique audiences, so testing against the top-performing audiences can help deliver results. 

For many organizations, engaging donors means becoming more strategic in their messaging and how to reach their audience. The best place to start is working through mission-based messages to align value with why donors should give. As well as what donation incentives could work for your organization to show donors they are valued. As you work through your strategy, there will need to be further planning and considerations for your long-term donation support as well as how to reach and target the audience most likely to give.  Balancing these 5 tips when you build out your donation efforts, can help align the organization with the right donor audience.  

Injustice for One Is Injustice for All

The arts community has long been influenced by Black culture. From jazz to theater, many of the stories and performances we know and love are rooted in, and gain their power and passion from, the Black community. At MogoARTS, our hearts break as those around us suffer from the constant injustice created by systemic oppression. 

Now is not the time for us to be silent as we fight for the equality that our Black performers, artists, and communities deserve. We hear you. We see you. We mourn for you. We commit to standing in solidarity as we continue to fight against racism.

We believe that it is our job as a company to use our platforms for good, and we intend to do just that by bringing to light resources, petitions, and funds so that the fire that America has right now to fight the systemic injustice will not die out. 

Below you’ll find petitions, funds, and resources for you to engage with to help fight this battle that has been fought for far too long. Injustice for one is injustice for all.

Petitions

Change KKK Status into Terrorist Organization – Ever since the inception of the Ku Klux Klan in December 24,1865 they have terrorized American citizens for the color of their skin and opposing views. This group has a long history of murder & intimidation of people based on color and religion.

Justice for Breonna Taylor – Breonna Taylor was an award-winning EMT and model citizen. She loved her family and community, working at two hospitals as an essential worker during the pandemic.

Text “ENOUGH” to 55156 – demand justice for Breonna Taylor

Text “JUSTICE” to 55156 – demand DA George Barnhill and Jackie Johnson are removed from office

Justice for David McAtee – David McAtee was shot and killed by the LMPD and the National Guard on June 1st at his BBQ stand in Louisville, Kentucky. He was unarmed when he was shot and his body was left in the street for more than 12 hours after the incident occurred. McAtee volunteered his time giving meals to his community.

Funds

Please note: Many funds have received overwhelming support and have requested for donations to be sent to other organizations. This list is accurate of those who are still asking for donations as of 6/18/2020.

Black Lives Matter – https://secure.actblue.com/donate/ms_blm_homepage_2019

Center for Constitutional Rights – https://ccrjustice.org/home/what-we-do

Campaign Zero – https://www.joincampaignzero.org/#vision

Columbus Freedom Fund – https://www.paypal.me/columbusfreedomfund

Equal Justice Initiative – https://eji.org/about/

My Block, My Hood, My City – https://www.formyblock.org/donate

My Brother’s Keeper – https://www.obama.org/mbka/our-work/

National Urban League – https://nul.org/donate

Race Forward – https://www.raceforward.org/about

The Loveland Foundation – https://thelovelandfoundation.org/

Unicorn Riot – https://unicornriot.ninja/donate/

Books

Note: We have linked to Amazon, but we encourage you to shop Black-owned bookstores when possible, here is a helpful list

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism – White fragility is the tendency of a white person to become defensive when confronted with information on racial injustice and how that often benefits white people. This book explains the dynamics of that tendency and how white people might build their capacity of taking on that (uncomfortable) conversation in the on-going work towards racial justice.

Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism by Safiya Noble – Dives into the field of information science, machine learning to investigate how negative biases against women of color are embedded in search engine results. 

Rage Inside The Machine, Rob Smith – This book demonstrates how morals have been embedded in our technology infrastructure by diving into historical stories and investigating complex connections between institutional prejudices and new technologies.

Children's Books

Note: We have linked to Amazon, but we encourage you to shop Black-owned bookstores when possible, here is a helpful list

All Are Welcome – All Are Welcome Here shares the message of a school where everyone’s differences are loved and celebrated. 

Sulwe – Sulwe creates a heartwarming story to inspire children to see their own unique beauty and appreciate it. 

I Am Enough – I Am Enough focuses on loving who you are and respecting others while being kind to one another no matter the differences.

Podcasts

TV Shows

When They See Us (Available on Netflix) – Dramatized account of the Central Park Five. Show follows the corrupt trial that resulted in five innocent men being convicted of a crime that they were innocent of. 

Dear White People (Available on Netflix) – A campus culture war between blacks and whites at a predominantly white school comes to a head when the staff of a humour magazine stages an offensive Halloween party.

Documentary/Movies

13th (Available on Netflix) – Documentary on the unjust imprisonment system and systemic inequalities of the prison system. 

Black Power Mixtape: 1967-1975 (Available to rent) – Documentary film examining the evolution of the Black Power movement in American society from 1967-1975. 

American Son (Available on Netflix) – An American film based on the story of the Broadway play, shining light on the injustice of systemic racism that leaves a mother desperate to find out what officials have done to her missing son. 

The Hate U Give (Hulu) –  The movie follows Starr Carter (Amandla Stenberg), who lives in the black neighborhood of Garden Heights. After a gun goes off at a party Starr is attending, she drives home with her best friend Khalil when they’re stopped by a police officer. Khalil has to exit the vehicle and is shot and killed by the police officer, which becomes a national news story. The movie handles a very relevant matter and reminds you of all the police violence that happens to this day.

Blindspotting (Hulu with Cinemax or available to rent) – Plot follows a parolee who only has three days left on his sentence but he witnesses a police shooting that threatens a lifelong friendship. The directors’ purpose in this movie was to combat the misrepresentation of Oakland that is commonly seen in films. 

Clemency (Available to rent on YouTube or Amazon) – The movie follows a Death Row prison warden who must confront her inner demons when she has to execute another inmate. The movie unearths social issues and has been nominated for several awards. 

Combating Anxiety Series: Workouts

With the closures of gyms and fitness studios in response to nationwide stay at home orders – personal fitness might be the easiest thing to cut from our routines. However, the best at-home workouts don’t necessarily require a ton of equipment – or any equipment at all.  Regular exercise can have a profoundly positive impact on depression, anxiety, ADHD, as well as helps relieve stress, improves memory, sleep, and boosts your overall mood. Here’s a list of our current favorites:

1. Yoga/Barre

Yoga is known for not only its focus on toning, stretching, and building muscle, but also its ability to stimulate and ease the mind. The Intentional Journal of Yoga published a  study that showed that students who practiced yoga on a regular basis performed better in academics and improved stress levels.

If you’re feeling stressed, take a quick 15-20 minute break to practice a yoga flow to bring energy back to your mind and body! If you’re a beginner – Yoga with Adrienne on YouTube has a 30-day program titled Home that is easy to follow along, and add to your schedule. 

For a little more sweat – Barre is a popular workout that is inspired by yoga and pilates, but also infuses some dance elements as well, such as ballet. Barre Fitness has been releasing online barre courses to its YouTube channel that you can incorporate into your routine at home with minimal to no equipment!

2. HIIT

HIIT workouts, or High-Intensity Interval Training, is a form of training that is particularly beneficial to your heart and lungs thanks to its combination of short bursts of intense exercise with periods of rest or lower-intensity exercise. Barry’s Bootcamp is posting workouts on their IG TV/IGLive for you to follow along at home for a 10-30 minute workout! 

Crossfit is a hybrid of HIIT and weight training that helps reduce exercise boredom and adds an element of friendly competition! Crossfit is posting free beginner-friendly workouts online – the best part? Crossfit didn’t use intimidating trainers for their demonstration videos, instead, they used new students to show that anyone can do it!

3. Full Body

Full-body fitness workouts get your body moving and endorphins flowing. Through the Nike Training App there are hundreds of different workouts for you to try and most of them need little to no equipment! In addition, there are plenty of fitness YouTubers like Chloe Ting, Blogilates, and Jeff Nippard that are posting workouts that you can do right from home – for free! Subscription programs like Obé fitness offer free trials for you to test programs before committing!

There are plenty of online resources available for us to stick to our routines while we’re all still at home and maintain a sense of normalcy. By working on our physical fitness, we not only help strengthen our body but there are many other benefits to our mental and emotional beings as well! Let us know what you’re doing to stay fit at home!

Have a suggestion on what you’d like to be featured next on the blog? Let us know! Email us at contact@mogoartsmarketing.com

Combating Anxiety Series: Spring Cleaning

As we find ourselves spending more time indoors due to shelter-in-place, we might find ourselves staring at that overstuffed closet, or considering finally cleaning out that “junk drawer.” Now is the perfect time to start spring cleaning, disinfecting, and organizing your home with the products you already have. Creating a clean and tidy home allows you to have a calm workspace and lowers the chances of clutter transferring to your mental space. Here are some tips to start spring cleaning in a manageable way:

1. Create a To-Do List
Organizing everything might seem extremely overwhelming and you might not know where to start.  It’s best to start by creating a list of what you need to do; you can either work room by room or by category.  Sparking Joy author Marie Kondo suggests that laying everything out by category and then discarding anything that “doesn’t spark joy.” Both strategies can help you discard or donate things you no longer need.

2. 15-minute clean up at the beginning and end of the day
The reason our space gets overwhelmingly disorganized is that clutter compounds each day it isn’t taken care of. To avoid this, we recommend a 15-minute clean to start and end your day. If your family or housemates are willing to help, you can split the work and try to get as much done in 15-minutes as you can. This likely will include putting things back to where they belong and wiping down surfaces. Doing this every day will make cleaning a lot more manageable and keeping up with this routine will make a “deep clean” a lot less daunting and more manageable.

3. Make your bed every morning
Though this task might take you 5 minutes, it’s a great way to start your day and a made bed instantly transforms your whole room! Start your morning off right by accomplishing one simple task. Navy Admiral William McRaven says, “if you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another… Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.”

4. Upcycle old jars to house other dried goods or miscellaneous items around the house
Reusing old jars can reduce waste while displaying your things in a way that allows you to easily see what you have and what you don’t have. You can remove sticky labels from glass jars with these tips! Aside from using the jars to organize, you can also use old kombucha bottles to store surface cleaner; just pop a spray top on it or add a pump on top for hand or dish soap! 

5. Find DIY disinfectants to use around the house if you’re running low on cleaning products
With shortages on cleaning supplies, it’s easy to use this excuse to avoid cleaning. However, there are plenty of DIY cleaning products that you can make with ingredients you likely have around the house already. Good Housekeeping provides a few recipes to make your own cleaning solutions at home. The CDC shared tips about how to properly clean and disinfect surfaces in your house and included an at-home bleach solution recipe to properly disinfect surfaces.

6. Make cleaning enjoyable and fun
Cleaning can often seem like a chore; however, with the right environment, it can be fun. We recommend putting on a TV show or listening to music to make cleaning a little more enjoyable. Spotify has plenty of cleaning playlists online or make your own! Turn up the volume and have a dance party while vacuuming your floors. Do you need to let off a little competitive steam? Turn cleaning into a game and race against the clock! Compete with housemates or family members by cleaning as much as possible in an allotted time, or turn on your favorite Netflix show and try to complete a task before the episode is over!

Spring cleaning can seem overwhelming at first, but with the right environment and mindset, it’ll go by quickly! We hope these tips can help you organize your home and therefore create a space that relaxes you. Happy cleaning!


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Combating Anxiety Series: Social Activities & Streaming

With our work meetings moving to video conferencing, why not move our meetups with friends as well? Social distancing doesn’t equate to social isolation – We recommend using these platforms as a way to still feel close to your loved ones. Below you’ll find a few ideas we have to make time pass a little faster with genuine laughter between your friends and family!

1. Virtual Parties of Every Type

Workout parties, cooking parties, Netflix parties – why not have them all? Since you may already be doing these things on your own, why not call a friend and do these simple activities together? Through secondary extensions such as Netflix Party, you can easily watch a movie or binge a new series together. Find fun recipes online through online cookbooks such as Bon Appétit or free online workout classes like Orange Theory and do them with a friend virtually, it can make these tasks feel less monotonous and more fun.

2. Happy Hour and Coffee Dates

Grab a drink and hop on the phone with a friend for a quick check-in. It’s especially important during this time for us to check in our loved ones. It can be a short 15-minute call or even a few hours. However, regardless of the length, coffee or cocktails is a great excuse for catching up with friends and family and can alleviate any stress we might be feeling and bring back a sense of normalcy.

3. Online Group Games

Engage in friendly competition through a plethora of games! There are plenty of free games available online: From classic board games like Settlers of Catan and Codenames, or if you’re wanting more unique online games, try Jackbox Games which have party packs available for purchase. And if you’re wanting a puzzle, there are plenty of online jigsaw puzzles that you can work on with your friends! Regardless of which game you choose, there are more options than ever before to stay connected to friends across the street or across the country!

4. Online Workshops

Arts organizations are offering free online workshops that you can join. If you are looking to learn more about production, writing, acting, or dancing signing up for these courses are fun, engaging, and educational! One of MogoARTS’ partners, The Old Globe, is hosting online workshops such as their Community Voices workshop every Tuesday and Thursday at 3:00PM PDT which teaches playwriting. Or, for a workshop that might get you sweating, Pennsylvania Ballet is hosting ballet classes every day at 11:00AM EDT on their Instagram Live.

These are just a few ideas to keep you entertained during your time at home and to stay connected with your friends and family. Almost everything you do now can be done with a friend virtually, so give them a call and set up a time to see a familiar face!

Have a suggestion on what you’d like to be featured next on the blog? Let us know! Email us at contact@mogoartsmarketing.com