New Year, New Season: Subscriptions Campaign Best Practices

The new year means new season planning and budgeting is around the corner. One of the most important efforts in new season planning is engaging with your subscribers to retain them for another year of support. A well-crafted subscription campaign can help your organization stand out from others and enable your membership benefits to build deeper and long-lasting relationships with your patrons through your digital marketing efforts.  

Why use digital advertising?  

Traditionally, subscription renewals are driven primarily by box office outreach, direct mail pieces, and email campaigns. While these strategies are effective, it is known that it takes multiple touch points with a patron to drive an action. Telemarketing and direct mail can be expensive and/or be locked in at fixed rates, not leaving room for flexibility to pause or ramp up efforts. Folding in a digital marketing campaign to your subscriptions efforts can be a cost-efficient strategy to reach loyal patrons ripe for an upsell to a subscription or retain a longtime subscriber that doesn’t require as many touch points to renew. 

Digital Marketing campaigns allow the ability to customize messages by different audiences or patron types, track and measure correlated ticket and subscription purchases directly to your ad spend, compliment your offline strategies with CRM remarketing, and efficiently optimize strategies that are working and dial back on strategies that are not. 

Identify your Audience 

Depending on where your organization is at in the subscriptions cycle, you’ll want to group your target audiences by Renewals and Acquisition.  

Renewals audiences consist of only subscribers who are up for renewal from one year to the next. More specifically, a renewals campaign will target first-party audiences only, such as a CRM list of current subscribers and/or a suppression CRM list of those that have already renewed.  

Acquisition consists of the open period in which subscriptions are available to new subscribers (and/or those who didn’t renew before the deadline). Something to consider is Acquisition is not only net-new patrons, but rather new subscribers within your organization’s database. A large portion of an acquisition campaign should focus on upselling existing patrons who have not yet subscribed or let their subscription lapse. This is also heavily driven by first-party targeting of a CRM list of lapsed subscribers, multi-ticket buyers from 3-5 seasons back, and/or members of the community who have engaged with your organization at events. In addition to CRM, your campaign should also target website visitors and/or social engagers.  

A subscription is a commitment of time and money, and it is less likely to convert a patron who has never been to your institution ever before. So, it is important to focus your marketing efforts on converting and upselling your existing database. If your goal is to attract younger and new subscribers, focus on getting this audience in the door with a single ticket campaign first and then upsell to a subscription package.  

Customize Messaging 

One of the benefits of digital marketing is the ability to tailor unique messages to diverse audiences to create a customized conversation. We recommend creating different ad sets and messages to speak to renewing subscribers versus lapsed or first-time subscribers.  

Lapsed audiences or first-time subscribers may need a reminder of the savings of subscribing, member benefits such as discounted parking or concessions, meet ‘n greets with talent, early access, and more. Create a carousel or animated ad that rotates through the various benefits of being a subscriber to effectively showcase a patron who may not be aware of these perks. If your value is primarily in programming, promote the show titles or talent included. 

Renewing subscribers who are loyal to your organization and already know the benefits of being a member. Using digital ad campaigns is a way to cost-effectively reach these patrons to remind them renewals are on sale and/or programming has been announced and create a sense of urgency. These audiences don’t need a lot of touchpoints to encourage them to renew and can be pushed through the consideration funnel faster than a new-to-file patron. Try using a message with more urgency around retaining their benefits such as “Renew today to secure your seats!” or “Subscribe before May 1st for 30% savings!” 

Goal Setting & Measurement 

Before heading into the next subscriptions period, look back at years’ past and take note of changes or growth. Have you seen a drop off in a particular package? Do renewals depend heavily on programming? Do subscriptions typically sell more online or from patrons calling the box office? What may have impacted these changes in the past? (Lack of marketing budget or a pandemic, perhaps?) It is important to look at historical growth to set goals for the coming year with context or identify strategies that have worked in the past. 

Even if you’re not dedicating a marketing campaign to subscriptions renewals, one thing that is inevitable is crossover. Subscriptions will likely go on sale while single tickets for the current season are still available. Many subscribers will head to your website to renew their packages and get caught in the remarketing efforts of any single ticket ad campaigns that are currently active, and those renewals can then be attributed to a single ticket campaign and inflate results. A quick fix to prevent this is to provide a CRM list of your current subscribers up for renewal as a suppression list to exclude this audience segment in any remarketing during the renewals period. By doing this you can exclude transactions for renewals that are not related to the single ticket efforts and save your remarketing dollars for those who need it.  

Lastly, set clear goals to measure success both offline and online. Sales results is the ultimate measure of success (volume of sales or revenue), but consider secondary KPIs depending on your strategies in market: 

  • If you’ve introduced a season trailer, look at video engagement. 
  • If there is any in-market advertising, keep an eye on Google Analytics to see traffic trends and/or engagement rates 
  • If you’re advertising in a new channel such as Meta or TikTok, look at follower growth 

Every organization’s subscription cycle and patron buying patterns are different, so measure your success against yourself and not peer organizations. As well as talk with your marketing agency or in-house department about what new ideas you can try in 2023.  

Preparing for Change: How Arts Marketers Can WIN in a Cookieless World

Over the course of the next few years, third-party data will continue to become less reliable as data privacy continues to evolve (currently slated for early 2024). MogoARTS Marketing recently led a session at Tessitura’s Learning & Community Conference in Denver, CO exploring the marketing strategies to best position arts organizations in a world with increased data privacy and limited tracking capabilities. Here are the takeaways from this session:  

What are Cookies?  

Currently, online consumer data is tracked via cookies, which is a piece of code placed on your device that collects and stores data that the website can retrieve at any time. Cookies contain third-party data, such as user identification, behavior, and preferences that have been widely leveraged in digital marketing. 

Why do Cookies exist? 

Cookies make your online experience easier by saving browsing information. With cookies, sites can keep you signed in, remember your site preferences, and give you relevant content. Advertisers use cookies to collect data – such as website visitation – that enables brands and advertisers to use that data for segmenting and targeting consumers based on their engagement.  

Why do Advertisers Use Cookies? 

Using cookies has been foundational for paid digital marketing tactics like retargeting, user tracking, conversion attribution, and reaching new audiences using third-party data. The changes around data privacy including regulation and legislation, are embracing enhanced data privacy policies and setting more boundaries and guidelines around how data is used that both honors users’ privacy and supports transparency. Ultimately, this has limited the use of cookie-based data to protect user privacy. 

Traditionally, users would be forced to opt-in to tracking through their consent of user agreements or terms of service when signing up for things like Facebook, Twitter, and Google. Now, the industry is moving away from these passive consent-models toward empowering users to manage their data more directly. In the new approach, users now have more direct control to choose to opt-in or out, allowing users more discretion on how and when their personal data is collected.  

While users opt-in and allow tracking content through user agreements and terms of service when signing up for and using services like Facebook, Twitter, and Google, the industry is moving away from passive consent models. Instead, the industry is leaning into active consent from users to explicitly opt-in or out of tracking. This gives the user more discretion on how and when their personal data is collected.    


The industry changes started with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Data Privacy Act (CCPA) setting the tone for other states’ legislation. In 2016 CCPA championed ballot initiatives to advocate on behalf of better personal data security. This sparked a call for national and global privacy compliance. At this point, lawmakers in 15 states are poised to vote on more expansive legislation in 2022.  

In response to the regulatory and legislative pressures, Google embraced the shift toward privacy. Having announced in 2021 the deprecation of third-party tracking. However, there is still a lot of uncertainty in the industry. In fact, Google has already shifted their projected cookie deprecation date from 2023 to 2024, just illustrating what an ever-evolving subject this is.   

What Changes Are Coming? Why Should I Care? 

The trend toward data security, privacy, and transparency is centered around a consumer-focused decision of how their data is collected and used.  

As part of the changing landscapes, websites are now required to have a consent framework built into their systems. A consent framework enables users to opt-in or out of data collection, typically through an online environment (like a website or an app) with a pop-up asking, “do you accept cookies?” This gives consumers the ability to more directly manage data-consent and specifically what the data could be used for.  

Major tech companies like Google and Apple are implementing additional privacy standards to adhere to GDPR and CCPA. By default, most browsers (Firefox, Safari, Microsoft Edge) already prevent cookie-tracking. These environments assume users want data privacy, but users still have the option to adjust their setting to opt-in to data tracking. Apple also requires app developers to build in the consent framework pop-up to get explicit data sharing opt-ins from its users.  

The most immediate and difficult impact is on the paid media side of things. Specifically, this makes attribution challenging to understand the impact of paid media exposures to an outcome (a purchase, a signup, etc.). If someone has opted-out of data tracking – then you cannot attribute their behavior to an ad exposure. 

Digital marketing will be most directly impacted through targeting and personalization of messaging toward third-party audiences, as consumer profiles will be more protected so audience segmentation will be less transparent.  

Opting In or Out 

So once a consumer opts-in, they will become part of your first-party audience. Brands will have more flexibility with these audiences by virtue of the consumer opt-in. Brands can leverage them in remarketing, track consumer behavior to personalize messaging and outreach, and customize their user experience to build brand loyalty. For this reason, CRM (consumer relationship management) platforms will need to be compliant with consent management platforms to ensure the brand is aligned with privacy regulations. This gives the brands an opportunity to deliver higher ad relevance to their opt-in databases, through customization and personalization as well as more cost-efficiency in their advertising since they are a qualified and engaged audience.  

For third-party audiences (who have either opted-out or have yet to engage with a brand), brands will be limited in their ability to segment and customize the experience for that audience. As a result, targeting non-opt-in audiences will impact correlated conversions, reporting, KPI, and will be more expensive to reach because of the limitations on passing their behavioral data back to media platforms.   

To date, we’ve seen opt-in rates as low as 5% and as high as 25%, so the industry is expecting a major shift in how brands will target, track, and measure digital media efforts.  Even for the high end at a 25% opt-in rate, this is a fraction of what was reported historically. So, marketers will need to adjust their KPIs, benchmarks, and digital goals to account for the loss in visibility. In fact, a recent study from GetApp and HubSpot showed that 44% of marketers predict that advertisers will need to increase their ad spend by 5-25% to see the same results from 2021. 

Strategies for Engaging Third-Party Audiences  

Brands can turn to contextual advertising to reach new prospects and reengage audiences who opted-out. Instead of using third-party data segmentation to align audience and messaging, brands can opt for real-time contextual advertising – e.g., a news article, website, news feed, mobile app screen, or video game a user engages with. For instance, if a reader is looking at an article about the newest Superhero movie, they might see a contextual ad placed by Marvel reminding them of the release date.    

Before the cookie goes away, you can target:  

  • Consumer Profile  
  • Household Income  
  • Behavioral Interests  

After the third-party cookie goes away, you can target instead:  

  • Contextual advertising  
  • Broad Topics  
  • Web Browsing Themes 

The truth is, this is a global change that will impact everyone; internet users and consumers like you, digital advertisers like us, and publishers like Google. 

What can you do? 

Build out new measurement models and KPIs: We highly recommend building out measurement and analytic models as a framework for performance evaluation for digital channels.  Partner with your marketing team or agency to craft measurement and analytic models as a framework for performance evaluation for digital channels.  

Tracking is changing. Year over year measurement will no longer be informative in the ways it once was. So, start preparing and tracking new KPIs and designing measurement models to appropriately track your audience and performance before and after these changes take place. Look at performance from April 2021 compared to April 2022 and see how performance and audience data dips. This is a preview of what is to come with cookies.   

Engagement metrics are going to be key going forward. Selecting KPIs like click-through-rates, site visitations/landing page views will become key forms of digital marketing measurement. Supplemental reporting around leads, CRM growth, site engagement metrics will help to tell a story around brand engagement and marketing effectiveness. Consider evolving beyond just conversion-based or direct response benchmarks. The key will be to align on KPIs internally and to actively track and document performance across those metrics. Review these with your internal or external marketing team to assess historical trends and help forecast and identify areas of opportunity.  

Invest in First-Party Audience Development: It’s recommended to prepare your first-party audiences now before it’s too late. Set goals for CRM Database and Social follower growth.  This can be used for Email Marketing, Content, and/or Lead Generation. 

Work with your marketing team or agency to launch strategies designed to increase new audiences. By starting early, your organization will be equipped to keep advertising momentum when these targeting and tracking capabilities shut off.   

Segment first-party audiences for customized ad messaging: Building strategies to increase and engage with opt-in audiences are going to be foundational strategies. Brands need to think through how best to personalize online experiences to engage these audiences.  You can be more action-oriented in your messaging to an opt-in audience. Testing more direct messaging like “Get Tickets / Buy Now!” can work for engaged opt-in audiences while “Learn More” calls to action will be more appropriate for any third-party messaging.  

Categorizing and segmenting your engaged audiences will help you build out a better communication strategy. If you have segmented member or purchaser audiences, you can customize a message based on their buying behavior in a way that can help build patron loyalty. For instance, if you have a known or lapsed subscriber audience, you will want to customize a message to speak to renewing their subscription. Relevancy, personalized messaging, and immediacy of outreach will be important to ensure you are delivering the right message to the right audience at the right time.  

License Enterprise Technology and Partnerships: Engage in partnerships with technology partners and vendors at the forefront of data privacy.  This can include on-boarding a media buying platform, a consent-based analytics platform that plugs into ticketing, website improvements, data warehousing refinements, etc.  Talk to your agency or marketing team about what tools they are using for consent and data privacy compliance.  

While all these changes are going to change the way brands interact with their audiences, it’s important to understand nothing is concrete yet. Solutions are continuously being presented. Brands need to be open to leveraging their partner and vendor’s knowledge to navigate and find the solutions that work for them. Having these conversations now will be pivotal in preparing marketing teams and organizations for the changes that are expected in the next 9-12 months.

Navigating the Cookieless World: What we know & How we can Plan for the Future

Over the past year there has been an increase in conversation and expected impact of the upcoming industry changes when it comes to privacy and consumer data. Google and Apple are just a few organizations who have made headlines for their commitment to ensuring consumer privacy.  These changes will have a large impact on the marketing strategies and how brands will engage consumers.

For years, consumers have been advocating for more privacy and control of their data and how organizations are both collecting and using that information. Government policy as well as leading tech organizations are driving industry change to help support consumer privacy and data protection. Organizations like Google have announced that within the next few years they will move away from third-party cookies which track consumer behavior. Brands are then able to use that third-party data as a way to identify and segment specific audiences for advertising. Google’s commitment to eliminating the third-party cookies is another step to protect consumer data and ensure privacy, which will limit advertisers ability to target highly segmented audiences. Along with Google, Apple has announced the launch of their iOS14 updates which gave consumers more control over how their data is being collected and used. The industry is seeing a shift to empowering users to opt-in, or more often the case, opt-out of data sharing.  This gives the power to the consumers to decide when and how their data is collected and shared. These changes and movement toward consumer empowered data protecting is forcing the rest of the industry to accelerate their own privacy and data protection strategies. 

The good news is that these changes and challenges are not entirely new.  However, the questions remain: How can your organization prepare for the changes to come and what strategies can you implement to help support your marketing efforts? MogoSME’s latest Webinar discusses industry changes and strategies to help your organization prepare as we head into a “Cookieless World.” To support that discussion, the blog format will help support the webinar based conversation.

What big shifts are going on in the digital space?

Currently, consumer data is being collected by Cookies, which are a bit of code that enables brands and advertisers to target and track consumer behavior.  Brands have used that information to personalize online experiences, tailoring offerings and messaging to online users based on their preferences. Cookies now seem invasive as consumers become more aware of how much information is publicly available and that their data is often resold for purposes they are not always aware of.  In response, lawmakers are implementing data privacy laws and regulations to prevent advertisers from viewing and using data without consumer consent. As mentioned tech companies like Google and Apple are implementing additional privacy standards to adhere to regulations like GDRP and CCPA.  This is just the beginning as there are additional plans to include more privacy features by 2023.

Already most search browsers, to a varying degree, prevent cookie-tracking by default. Users would have to actively opt-in to tracking by changing the settings on their browsers. These browsers assume that most online users would prefer to not share their data. The industry is to move away from unclear data collection and sharing practices in favor of more consumer consent models of data sharing.     

When are we expecting to see these changes take place?

As mentioned before, some of these changes have already taken place. Firefox, Safari, and Microsoft Edge were early adopters and limited third-party tracking on their browsers. In fact, by the end of the year all current browsers will have tracking disabled by default.  Apple now requires app developers to build in pop-up prompts in order to get explicit data sharing opt-ins from users. Google, by 2023, will remove all third-party tracking from their Chrome browsers. This will have a big impact on data collection as Chrome accounts for around 70% of all browser use (Statista, 2021). With opt-in rates as low as 5% and as high as 25% (Bloomberg, 2021), the industry is anticipating a real shift in how brands and advertisers target, track, and measure digital media initiatives. 

To support these changes, Google is currently testing out multiple, often competing, solutions in order to find the best approach to enable privacy and support advertising initiatives. Their goal is to standardize consent across all platforms, browsers, and apps, using a shared IF across these environments to enable tracking, targeting, and measurement. This would still ensure a consumer has the right to opt-in or out at any time. The two biggest solution options are UID2.0 and Liveramp ATS. Both are in the testing phase, but what we do know is that each is proposing email addresses become the identifiers for consumers and their opted in or out status. This means that email addresses will help identify consumer data privacy preferences and either enable or disable data tracking and sharing. 

There is still a lot of testing to identify the right solution. However, we know that privacy and security is nothing new for these technology companies who have already taken steps to prepare themselves and brand using their services for the changes to come.  Google is still helping to define a unified approach with the goal to support a cookieless environment starting early 2023. 

What will happen once these changes take place?

Once these changes go into effect, consumers will have more control of their digital footprint and what data they will and won’t share. This will put more responsibility on consumers to manage their opt-in or opt-out status, but will ultimately provide consumers more control over their data and give them a personalized approach to data sharing.

For advertisers, on the other hand, they will need to embrace a consent-based strategy to reach their audiences. Organizations will have to find the right privacy management solution to support consumers ability to opt-in (or out) of data sharing. Advertisers will also have to be more transparent on how they are using their consumer data, so looking for and exploring ways to speak to consumers about data utilization transparently and respectfully.

Along with finding the right privacy consent solution, advertisers will rely more heavily on their first-party audiences, where there is already a relationship between consumer and organization. Managing and supporting these audiences with personalization and quality content will become a big part of a brand’s strategy. 

There is still a lot of work to do to find the best solution, which creates an opportunity for creativity and testing once these changes take effect. Brands and advertisers can test our new strategies to message to their audience or new targeting approaches based on the industry-wide solution that Google will embrace, which means there will be some disruption as the industry challenges and vets new best practices.     

What impact will we see with paid digital marketing campaigns?

In terms of digital marketing impact, brands will have to shift their approach to targeting, optimizations, and measurement. The removal of third-party tracking, along with expected drops in first-party opt-ins, will result in a loss of conversion attribution. Conversion attribution accuracy will decrease as we will lose our ability to measure the impact of an ad against a direct outcome like formfill, ticket purchase, or product purchase. Overall, we will see lower conversions, higher CPAs, and will have to establish new benchmarks to help evaluate performance. 

Another impact will be on targeting. As the definition of a targetable audience will shift to only represent first-party and opt-in audiences, we do expect to see a decrease in retargeting audiences and a limit on how to target non-opted-in audience segments (that we can do today, but won’t in the future). This is one of the things Google is testing now.  One approach they have is that Google will create groups or cohorts of users that are large enough to make it impossible to identify individual characteristics, behaviors, or patterns.  These cohorts AKA Google’s FLOC (Federated List of Cohorts) will be available to advertisers to expand their targeting outside of their first-party audiences. This will provide consumer protection, decrease an advertisers ability to personalize ads toward a smaller audience segment, but still allow advertisers the ability to engage with prospecting audience segments. How this will work is still being defined by Google and their web standard partners like W3c (World Wide Web Consortium), which are working to define cohort audience segments. 

Along with audience size and target availability, optimizations and measurement will be impacted. As third-party cookies are removed, the industry is bracing for a loss in conversion data. This is due to the inability to track targeted audience across multiple environments like websites, apps, and platforms. The limitation in tracking will be reflected in measurement and performance metrics that advertisers report on. Brands will have to be more reliant on conversion modeling to help contextualize performance. Platform algorithms will no longer have the 1:1 correlation between ad and action the target audience takes. There will be a shift back toward more traditional correlated performance indicators used by methods like Media Mix Modeling to help understand advertising impact. Organizations will have to lean into their agency partners to build out new measurement solutions, benchmarks, and standard to correlate performance to their digital media efforts. 

Due to these impacts, current KPIs will no longer be valid. Cost per Acquisition will increase as attribution decreases. Due to these limitations we know we will not have full visibility into performance, which will increase all cost-based metrics, decrease in attributed conversions, and will require a new perspective to evaluate digital media impact.

How are agencies or advertisers minimizing the effects from the loss of third-party cookies?

It will be critical for organizations to lean into first-party audiences. Building strategies to increase and engage with opt-in audiences are going to be foundational strategies going forwards. Brands need to think through how best to personalize online experiences to engage these audiences.

Agencies will need to be an integrated partner to best support their clients. This will include partnering to build out measurement and analytic models as a framework for performance evaluation for their digital channels. An example of measurement model might look like taking media channel allocations and looking at ticket sales for the given campaign period vs. a period when the campaign was not active. Since we know attribution is limited, we would evaluate if there is a lift in ticket sales during the active campaign period to help look at correlated impact of the digital investment. This will require more collaboration between agency and brand to build a measurement framework to evaluate performance, make data-driven recommendations, and optimizations.  

On social channels, despite the limitation on third-party tracking on performance, there is still an opportunity to measure impact on your owned channels. Looking at campaigns to drive engagement or follower growth can help brands better evaluate the power of the social channel and support additional investment in those channels.

Another consideration is that social platforms are building out their own solutions to better support measurement for their advertisers. Facebook has introduced their Conversion API connecting an advertiser’s CRM, website, ecommerce platform, call center, mobile app, etc directly to Facebook bypassing the need for cookie-based audiences. Pending privacy policies, this will enable advertisers to customize and personalize their marketing messaging with consumer engagement with the online brand. The API enables organizations to share data directly from servers without cookie-based tracking.  

While we know measurement, data sharing, and organic engagement are all strategies that are being explored, the key area of focus for most brands will be on how to build and sustain their first-party audiences. Brands will have an opportunity to look for more innovation in how to drive value, measure performance, and understand the impact of their digital efforts.

Advice for organizations and industry leaders

There are a few opportunities organizations can take to get ahead of the impending changes. The first and foremost is for advertisers to spend time vetting and evaluating the right content management solution. Brands can spend time thinking about the right solution to help manage consumer privacy, communicate data transparency, and to deliver and engage the right content to their first-party audiences.  

Secondly, advertisers must remain flexible when it comes to measurement, audience targeting, and performance evaluation. Investing in your first-party data and especially your content strategy across paid, owned, and earned media channels. Finding ways to engage first-party audiences will be the foundation of their digital media strategies.  

Finally, advertisers can turn to their agencies and digital partners to take on a more strategic role. We know there is still a lot of uncertainty, but one thing we know is that agencies can support in redefining KPIs, evaluate current measurement strategies, and define new ways to look at and measure success for digital efforts. Look toward your agency partners as an extension of your marketing team to help navigate the impending changes.

To listen to this conversation, you can watch our recording here.

5 Things to Know About Reopening the Arts in 2021

MogoARTS’ President Danielle Johnson recently sat down with TRG Arts’ Client Engagement Officer Eric Nelson to discuss the challenges and opportunities for arts organizations as they reopen. As a part of that discussion, there are some key trends and takeaways that arts organizations should consider when preparing for the new season ahead.  As partners with TRG Arts, we understand the challenges and opportunities arts organizations are facing. Here are the 5 things to know about reopening. We hope these tips can bring new perspectives to your organization.

1: Ask “Who can we best serve?”

As state and nationwide mandates continue to evolve and in-person events are permitted, organizations recognize there will be less seating inventory available due to social distancing policies. Therefore we must redefine our audience and ask, “Who can we best serve?” 

Although arts organizations may have had an established audience before the pandemic, reopening challenges organizations to redefine that audience. Consider which audience members may be most likely to return, potential new audiences, and who you’d like to prioritize in the coming months.

Having a target audience enables organizations to have a clear focus on budgeting, marketing, and strategy as they begin to welcome patrons back to their venues. By defining a target audience, organizations will have a better understanding of where to allocate their time, money, and resources. By focusing on the right audience, arts organizations can reach their relevant audiences more efficiently, using less resources while driving higher returns from production planning, ticket marketing, and the communication of safety strategies. 

As Nelson shared from TRG Arts’ findings, most organizations are opening up at 30-50% of their previous full capacity. With limited inventory and resources, arts organizations are being challenged to pinpoint their highest value audience and redefine an engagement strategy as they reopen. Who do you want to fill those limited seats? Decide whether your organization wants to focus on inviting in new audiences, or on welcoming back loyal or returning patrons. There may be many possibilities for growth outside of your current audience. The best way to gauge interest is to speak to your potential patrons via surveys, newsletters, and engagement on social media.

2: Engaging Online and In-Person Audiences

With the onset of COVID-19 and in-person events being put on hold, many arts organizations adopted digital offerings to continue to bring the arts to their patrons.  Digital content programming gave arts organizations an additional revenue stream and helped them stay engaged with their patrons. One of the unforeseen benefits of going digital has been increased viewership due to lowered entry barriers. Digital programming has enabled those typically restricted by in-person seating accessibility or capacity, geographical boundaries, or financial resources to engage with digital content in a way that in-person events hadn’t made available. As shows are no longer limited by in-person capacity, they can no longer be sold out. Digital programming is often offered at lowered prices as well, both of which make shows more easily accessed than ever before.

The transition to virtual programming has given new and diverse audiences an opportunity to engage with organizations in ways that weren’t possible in the past. Up to 80% of theatres are now offering paid digital events and giving organizations an opportunity to capitalize on an increase of viewership and online engagement. By providing digital offerings, organizations have increased revenue, brand awareness, and audience reach. It has helped organizations to reach previously unavailable audiences, growing and diversifying patron base.

As we begin to reopen, TRG recommends to continue to embrace your virtual audience. Consider continuing virtual offerings even after in-person events are allowed again, not only to drive accessibility, but also to keep your connection to a digital audience long after reopening. Engaging audiences with both virtual and in-person experiences, enables arts organizations to diversify their offerings, build a virtual audience, and engage that audience for in person events. These will all help organizations strengthen and diversify their loyal patron base. 

3: Make Reopening Fun

Reopening won’t be an instant return to pre-pandemic normalcy. With partial capacity seating and safety guidelines to adhere to, it is imperative to articulate safety measures your organization is taking to make patrons feel safe. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun with it. 

Think of ways to stay safe while doing things your way – add personality and flair to your safety procedures by using the same theatricality and care you have for your sets. This could mean dressing up empty seats set aside for social distancing, creating branded safety infographics, or using humorous and whimsical signage in the theatre. As you reopen, keep a pulse on audience response. Listen to feedback, see what your patrons react positively or negatively to and adjust accordingly.

Attention to detail in regards to patron journey, especially when it comes to safety, will only enhance patrons’ experiences as we return to in-person events. A careful, yet fun, patron journey strengthens audience trust and establishes a much-needed rapport after a year away from the stage. Let them know your principles, as making a return to live performances will require a careful approach that makes audiences comfortable with coming back. There is no reason why following guidelines should take away from the magic of a live performance!

4: “Christmas in July”

As the arts make a comeback, so does competition. Arts and entertainment organizations everywhere are preparing to welcome in-person audiences back this year.  Since there will be many offers and entertainment options as we get back to in-person events, it’s important to get in front of audiences as early as possible. TRG Arts recommends trying to be one of the first to market – think ‘Christmas in July!’ 

Competition will be stiff, but there’s good news: with live shows returning, people are excited. TRG Arts has observed a pent up demand for in person shows.  People are ready to get back to in-person entertainment and as a result, subscription renewal rates are higher than in previous years. We recommend meeting audiences with the same energy and sense of urgency they feel to get back to your venue. TRG Arts also found that loyal and lapsed patrons have been giving donations to arts organizations at an increased rate YOY. Nearly half of organizations (49%) saw an increase in gift revenue in 2020, and 74% saw an increase in the number of gifts from 2019. This shows that patrons are eager to support the arts.  So engaging patrons before other organizations do, will give you a chance to capture their attention & time to drive additional revenue.   

Setting a strong momentum for yourself right out of the gate will allow your organization to stand out above the rest. Additionally, early preparation in safety measures, marketing, and seasoning planning will make sure you don’t get left behind this reopening season. Keep your patrons updated on upcoming plans and be transparent with any changes and issues, so that your audiences are ready the same time you are. The race is on!

5: Take A Look Back

We encourage you to reflect on the lessons, tactics, and initiatives your organization has taken in the last year. Give your teams an opportunity to celebrate the wins and understand the challenges. This reflection can help you craft a strategy and inspire ideas to support reopening.   

For example, there may be messaging tactics developed to increase online engagement that can be repurposed to strengthen your reopening plan. Similarly, lessons learned the hard way, such as decrease in your audience engagement should be taken into consideration. Do you want to try retargeting them or use your budget elsewhere? Organizations can benefit by applying these lessons towards streamlining patron journeys, refining offerings, aligning internal teams, and continuing to innovate in-person and digital strategies. 

Don’t forget that during COVID-19, many organizations created a whole new digital experience. You will want to think through ways that this digital offering can compliment or support your reopening strategies. Many organizations are evaluating their longer-term digital offering.  TRG Arts recommended finding the balance between what efforts you want to continue and what new initiatives to take. This opportunity for reflection can give your organization the ability to assess what are the right strategies to re-engage your patrons. 

As we make a return to the stage, MogoARTS wants to encourage arts organizations to take informed, safe steps towards reopening. We are thankful for resources and partners like TRG Arts that can help us understand the journey and trends for reopening. Lastly, we have learned a lot from the last year and being able to apply those learnings toward our reopening strategies will help us engage with our patrons. MogoARTS is committed to helping the arts community welcome patrons back and hope these takeaways help in your reopening efforts.

Injustice for One Is Injustice for All

Last year we made a commitment to educating ourselves and others on the systemic racial inequality that Black Americans face to this day. One year later, we are revisiting the resources we gathered for those who have the means to donate and be effective allies. Below you’ll find 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.

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. 


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 6/1/2021.

Black Lives Matter –

Center for Constitutional Rights –

Campaign Zero –

Columbus Freedom Fund –

Equal Justice Initiative –

My Block, My Hood, My City –

My Brother’s Keeper –

National Urban League –

Race Forward –

The Loveland Foundation –

Unicorn Riot –

George Floyd Memorial Foundation – 

Black Trans Advocacy Coalition –

And More…

Black Lives Matter Charity Index –

168 Ways to Donate in Support of Black Lives and Communities of Color –


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.

Racial Diversity: There’s More Work to be Done in the Workplace – This article delves into the root problems causing the lack of diversity and representation in the workplace and what strategies we can use to combat this issue.

How to Manage When Things Are Not Okay (And Haven’t Been for Centuries) – Offering advice to managers and leadership on how to acknowledge the black struggle, provide support to your team, and how to make space for black voices.

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.


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.


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. 

Deconstructing White Privilege with Dr. Robin DiAngelo – This video deconstructs the ideas of white fragility, racial identity and implicit bias that come into play in predominantly white institutions and daily life.

Arts Advocacy Week 2021 10 Noteworthy Arts Organizations to Support

This year’s Arts Advocacy Week takes place from April 12- April 16. In light of the challenges COVID-19 has brought to the creative community, MogoARTS is celebrating Arts Advocacy week by highlighting 10 organizations providing relief and support to those in the arts community. These charities, foundations, and advocacy groups are recognized for their strength, resilience, and commitment to the arts.

Americans for the Arts, National Organization

Americans for the Arts aims to increase congressional support for the arts and build networks where artists and creativity can thrive. Their annual National Arts Action Summit takes place the week before Arts Advocacy week and gathers grassroots supporters to receive advocacy training, lessons on art policy, and networking opportunities.  Following the summit, Americans for the Arts spends the week speaking with congressional leaders to advocate for arts funding, issues affecting the creative community, policies that can support the creative economy and more.    

How you can help: Donate here to support their mission or become a member to gain access to resources and benefits. Learn more on their Instagram.

Broadway Advocacy Coalition, National Organization

The Broadway Advocacy Coalition (BAC) is a space where social justice and arts advocacy intersect. By partnering with existing advocacy organizations, the BAC brings arts into the activism space, creating artivism. The BAC uses impactful storytelling to dismantle systems that perpetuate racism and police brutality. The resulting programs and exhibits bring together “high-level artists, law and policy students and experts, and directly impacted advocates to deepen connections and bridge gaps of disconnect”. 

How you can help: You can donate to the BAC’s cause or volunteer your time by joining the team. Stay updated on their initiatives on Instagram.

Be an Arts Hero, National Organization

Another organization that encourages volunteers to donate their time rather than through financial support is Be an Arts Hero. The foundation aims to create change by lobbying the U.S. Senate to allocate proportionate relief to arts and culture. This is especially important during the pandemic, as the arts community has been disproportionately affected by COVID-19. Their site provides easy access to resources and open letters to contact your local senators and has resources for individuals, organizations and lobbyists.

How you can help: Send an open letter to senators, get involved on an individual or organization level or donate. Amplify their voice on Instagram.

The Actors Fund, National Organization

The Actors Fund provides relief for performing arts and entertainment professionals through assistance programs, professional development services, and accessible healthcare and living space. Resources also include workshops for arts professionals, money management tools, and a safe and supportive community. As a response to the pandemic, the fund established an  Emergency Financial Program, as a much needed safety net for individuals working in the performing arts.

How you can help: Make a donation, support The Actors Fund’s COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund, or become a contributing member. Stay updated on their Instagram.

ChaShaMa, New York, New York

ChaShaMa was founded in 1995 as a result of New York artists struggling to find space to share their art. By partnering with property owners, ChaShaMa makes event space affordable, matching unused properties with creatives to host performances, galleries, showcases, and more. The non-profit hosts 150 events a year, and has helped over 170 artists with over $9 million worth of real estate. Aside from securing event space, the non-profit provides free art workshops to New York’s underserved communities.

How you can help: You can make a monetary donation, or donate a space by contacting Follow their journey on Instagram.

NIVA | #saveourstages, New York, New York

Made up of 3,000 independent venues, NIVA (National Independent Venue Association) has brought together theatres and production houses across all 50 states together to lobby for change in Washington, D.C. to ask for necessary legislation for the arts. Their recent work includes passing the Save Our Stages Act as part of the COVID-19 Relief Bill. The act will provide grants administered by the Small Business Administration to provide financial support to venues in need. By continuing fundraising efforts and lobbying change at the national level, NIVA acts as a voice for America’s independent venues.

How you can help: You can help by donating to the NIVA Emergency Relief Fund, or by sending a note thanking legislators for their support on the Save Our Stages Act. For more, follow them on Instagram.

Adopt The Arts, Los Angeles, CA

Adopt The Arts is a Los Angeles based charity founded in response to budget cuts to the arts education department of LAUSD elementary schools in 2012. The public charity raises funds to provide art and music education to students from kindergarten to fifth grade. Some of their events include annual fundraisers and live performances to raise awareness for the arts. They believe that each student deserves exposure to and an education in arts in their adolescence, regardless of where they may live or go to school.

How you can help: You, too can adopt the arts by making a donation or keeping up on their Instagram.

Art and Minds, New York, NY

Taking a creative approach to healing, Arts and Minds provides art therapy through workshops and museum tours for patients of Alzheimer’s dementia and their caretakers. The New York based non-profit believes that art and well being are connected. Arts and Minds has found that viewing, appreciating, and discussing art can improve the quality of life and enrich minds of patients. Their events are currently being conducted online, and programming is offered in both English and Spanish.

How you can help: Give to Arts and Minds through a donation or fundraiser gift or by volunteering your time. For more information and event updates, follow them on Instagram.

Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, CA

Located in San Francisco, Intersection for the Arts is a nonprofit organization providing fiscal sponsorship, low-cost event space, and professional programs for artists in the Bay Area. They also provide resources for artists struggling from COVID-19’s impact. These resources make it possible for artists to keep doing what they love. Part of their goal is to grow artistry in the Bay Area, Intersection hosts Intersect SF, a series of public events and performances exploring the intersection of arts, culture and people. 

How you can help: Make art possible in the Bay Area and beyond with a donation. To stay up to date on arts resources and events, sign up for their newsletter. Follow them on Instagram for more.

Grants for the Arts, San Francisco, CA

Grants for the Arts is another Bay Area based organization with a focus on equitable grant support for the arts community. Their mission is to “promote the diverse and unique communities of San Francisco by supporting the arts through equitable grant making.” Their commitment to making grants and resources accessible to everyone aligns with their principle value of equity. The organization encourages arts applicants to apply for grants, as they recognize that arts organizations have commonly not received equitable compensation because of marginalizing factors such as race and geography.

How you can help: Learn about their Voluntary Arts Contribution Fund and consider donating. If you, your company, or your agency would like to donate to GFTA, you can email them at

This Arts Advocacy week, MogoARTS is encouraging all of our readers to consider donating their time, money, or voices to an arts or creative organization. Whether or not they are on this list, arts advocacy groups are important in preserving the arts in our communities. In a time when connection is hard to come by, art is a unifying force that crosses boundaries to bring us all together.

Apple iOS 14 Update and Impact to Facebook

As the conversation around data privacy has come to the forefront of digital advertising, we are seeing platforms, advertisers, and major players shifting to provide users with more control over their online activity and data sharing. The most recent player to make a move is Apple, with a new update to be released for iOS 14 that gives its users the option to opt in or out of app tracking.  

Details around when Apple’s changes will take effect are still evolving, however, Facebook has started preparing so that advertisers are in the right place when it happens. We’ve been able to nail down the big takeaways that you need to know now:

What’s Happening

As Apple has announced iOS 14 policy updates, they have made specific changes that will reduce the ability for advertisers to target and report on in-app and website conversion events. Apple will feature a prompt in mobile apps that informs users the app wants permission to use their data for tracking with two simple buttons: 

Allow Tracking or Ask App Not to Track. 

This prompt will ask for the user’s permission to track them across third-party apps and websites. Users will either opt-in or out of certain data sharing. While we know this will impact Facebook, we do expect there to be implications of these changes across many digital advertising platforms. If a user opts-in to data sharing then there will be effectively no change to the data Facebook will be able to report on that particular user. If they opt-out, Apple will limit the amount of data and user behavior information that can be shared back. 

Facebook’s Changes

In response to Apple’s new privacy updates, Facebook is implementing app-wide changes to how advertisers track, measure, and aggregate audiences. Some of these limitations only apply to iOS 14 users – while others are being implemented globally across tools and capabilities.

  • Tracking: Advertisers are now limited to 8 conversion events per domain. These events include standard events and custom conversions, and each event must be prioritized and ranked by importance to the advertiser. For example, if an iOS 14 user opts out of tracking, and they add something to their cart and also completes a purchase, only part of that data will be sent back to Facebook.
  • Optimization: While additional conversion events may be tracked and pulled in through the Facebook analytics portal, campaigns can only be optimized to the selection of the 8 conversion events. 
  • Measurement & Attribution: 
    • Going forward, 28-day click-through, 28-day view-through, and 7-day view-through attribution windows will not be supported for active campaigns. Attribution and optimization default windows will be set to 7-day click-through.
    • Aggregated Event Measurement will be implemented for a user who opts out of tracking, meaning Facebook will only receive the highest ranked event from Apple for a given user’s visit. For example, if a user performs a ViewContent, AddToCart, and Purchase event during a visit, only the Purchase would be reported.

Major Impacts

These changes will impact both how we determine tracking success of campaigns as well as affect performance of any 1st-party audiences created from pixel conversion data. Once iOS 14 updates go into place, Facebook is expecting a loss of conversion reporting.

If a user opts-out via the prompt on Facebook or Instagram, both app and web events will be impacted, resulting in potentially reduced ad effectiveness and limitations on measurement.

If users opt to send their data when using Facebook apps, nothing changes related to data sent — their data is sent as normal using mobile web tracking.

The Good News

Page View events, site visitation, and audiences aggregated based on domain/url sources will NOT be impacted by these changes. (Retargeting audiences will remain unaffected) The only impact to audience sizes comes into play for any audience that is sourced from a conversion event (for example, creating an audience of Purchasers).

All desktop activity and non-iOS 14 device activity will not be impacted the majority of the limitations being rolled out. While some changes are global (such as the 8 event limit) others such as the Aggregated Event Measurement only apply to conversions being sent back from iOS 14 devices. 

Next Steps

In preparation for this shift, Facebook has rolled out new requirements for advertisers to comply with Apple’s changes:

  1. Domain Verification – Domains must be verified for conversion tracking. Domains can only be verified by 1 Business Manager account. While domains can be shared, the verified owner is the only one that can prioritize and set up conversion events. 
  1. Setup Event ConfigurationPrioritize conversion events by order of importance, assess current pixel event mapping especially for custom conversions.
  1. Historical Benchmarking – Pull aggregated reporting for historical reference to benchmark attribution windows for future reporting comparisons and campaign optimizations. 

Mogo is committed to keeping our affected partners updated on the coming changes from iOS 14 and how it affects other digital advertising channels. If you’re interested in participating in the conversation, Facebook encourages advertisers to speak up.

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.