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Feb 13, 2018

As public subsidies for the arts change, organizations must rely on people—their audiences and patrons—to provide the revenue to sustain them long-term. How can organizations build a new business model that both serves audiences and relies on them for revenue? The first step is to see what the data says about building these patron relationships.

In this keynote, Jill Robinson of the arts consulting firm TRG Arts will offer data-inspired lessons on how organizations can monetize patron relationships to drive the revenue that allows the entire organization to thrive, instead of merely surviving. Jill will also discuss data collection and privacy concerns, and how to create incentives for genuine connection between patrons and organization. You’ll learn how pricing and demand, patron loyalty, database management, and artistic programming each impact patron-generated revenue, and how they can be integrated into an organization-wide culture to drive revenue. When marketers leverage this integrated model, they can make the most of their marketing budget, and start cultivating audiences for a sustainable future. This session will discuss these specific questions:

  1. Why does loyalty matter? How can higher ROI on each patron build sustainable arts organizations?
  2. Not all patrons are created equal. How can we right-size our marketing investments in different groups of patrons?
  3. Does the type of programming that a patron attends determine future ROI?

MAXXI Foundation Rome, Italy MAXXI – Museo Nazionale delle Arti del XXI secolo is a private foundation established in 2009 and funded by the Ministry of Culture, Regione Lazio and Enel, a national energy supplier (former national electric company). The famous architect Zaha Hadid on the structure of a former military industrial plant created the building and it is located in the Flaminio area, a district inhabited by upper class, boasting a number of modern and contemporary buildings (the Auditorium by Piano, the Palace of Sport by Nervi, Ponte della Musica of Buro Happold-Kit PowellWilliams Architects, etc.). MAXXI is not only a museum, but a space were new cultural productions are developed and partnership is the main tool to achieve this result: the Foundation has more than 150 institutional and private partners and donors.


The XIX century building that now hosts Maison des Metallos (MdM)  was a former music instruments factory, and then became headquarters of the Union Fraternelle des Métallos, a situation that lasted for 60 years and that left an important legacy in terms of place identity. Since the Union left in 1997, the building was run by a committee of inhabitants of the neighbourhood, who occupied it because they felt it was part of local identity. They were concerned about the forthcoming gentrification, which was starting at that time in the former working class neighbourhood. This sense of belonging of the local community had an important role in pushing the municipality of Paris to buy the venue, but also created at first some tension with the occupants as the city decided to convert it in a cultural venue run by an appointed director, that opened in 2007. So the first audience “issue” that MdM had to face, was to find the way to involve and resolve this tension. The relationship with the associations and former occupants took time to be reconstructed, but it’s today an important part of the identity of MdM and of its relation with the neighbourhood.


The John Rylands Library (JRL) is part of the University Library, which in turn is part of the University of Manchester. The library is famous for having a Gutenberg Bible and the earliest known copy of St John’s Gospel – known as the St John Fragment as well as all four folios of William Shakespeare and several important 19th century facsimiles of the First Folio. JRL is especially interesting in its audience development because of the transformation over 7 – 9 years, progressing from a prestigious but rather dusty and old-fashioned institution to a well-loved public organisation. Between 2001 and 2016 its attendances have more than doubled and it has become the number one attraction in Manchester on Trip Advisor.