Wallace Blog

 

 

Spreading Lessons from the Principal Pipeline11148<p>Over the next several months, The Wallace Foundation is testing the <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/principal-pipelines-a-feasible,-affordable,-and-effective-way-for-districts-to-improve-schools.aspx">lessons learned</a> in its Principal Pipeline Initiative to see if the significant improvement in math and reading scores across six school districts can be replicated on a large scale. Those districts took a strategic approach to hiring, training, supporting and placing principals, creating a pipeline of school leaders. Pipeline-building proved to be feasible, affordable, effective and adaptable. </p><p>Now the question is&#58; Will the approach work for 90 districts in 31 states? </p><p>Wallace <a href="https&#58;//www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2020/02/10/6-districts-invested-in-principals-and-saw.html" target="_blank">director of education Jody Spiro spoke with <em>EdWeek</em></a> about the new effort, in which the 90 districts have signed on to test a tool kit that guides how they hire, train and match principals to schools. </p><p>Stay tuned for the results in the fall. In the meantime, we’ve got your source for all things principal pipeline at <a href="http&#58;//www.wallacefoundation.org/principalpipeline">www.wallacefoundation.org/principalpipeline</a>.&#160; </p><p><em>Photo by Claire Holt </em></p> 90 districts will test if the success of the districts in the Principal Pipeline Initiative can be replicatedGP0|#9bd3b07b-0109-42ab-81a9-dbffde0c42be;L0|#09bd3b07b-0109-42ab-81a9-dbffde0c42be|education leadership;GTSet|#e1be52fb-ad26-4379-9818-fd44f616dcf2;GP0|#3fabc3e0-eead-49a5-9e92-99d8217d8607;L0|#03fabc3e0-eead-49a5-9e92-99d8217d8607|principals;GP0|#3c236eec-afa6-4172-9b42-36a57befc9fe;L0|#03c236eec-afa6-4172-9b42-36a57befc9fe|principal pipeline;GP0|#1c167689-5e6e-4161-bab9-e0a90c603d32;L0|#01c167689-5e6e-4161-bab9-e0a90c603d32|school districtGP0|#330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708;L0|#0330c9173-9d0f-423a-b58d-f88b8fb02708|School Leadership;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61Wallace editorial team79<img alt="" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/blog-Spreading-Lessons-Pipeline-lg-feature.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />2020-02-18T05:00:00Z90 districts will test if the success of the districts in the Principal Pipeline Initiative can be replicated2/18/2020 7:33:06 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Spreading Lessons from the Principal Pipeline Posted: 2/18/2020 Author: Wallace editorial team 90https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Experimentation and Refinement a Key to Audience Building in the Arts3968<p>Introducing a recent panel on how to build audiences in the arts, Monique Martin, director of programming at New York’s Harlem Stage stressed the human aspects of arts performances. “I want to acknowledge the importance of community and the desire for our audiences to be part of a community,” she said. “We are in polarizing times and the arts are a refuge for many.” </p><p>But how can organizations help ensure that people seek out that refuge and continue to take advantage of it?</p><p>For the last four years, The Wallace Foundation has been working with 25 performing arts organizations on the <a href="/knowledge-center/building-audiences-for-the-arts/pages/default.aspx">Building Audiences for Sustainability (BAS)</a> initiative to help stem declines in arts audiences. Using data, market research and other tools, BAS organizations take on a process of continuous learning to bring in new audiences, encourage repeat attendance, attract a particular demographic or address any other goal that serves their mission.</p><p>“Continuous learning begins with the premise&#58; we are unlikely to get it right the first time,” Bahia Ramos, Wallace’s director of arts, told the crowd gathered at the panel at The Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) annual conference. Martin was moderating the panel, which also included Jenny Reik, director of marketing and communications at Cal Performances, Maure Aronson, executive director at Global Arts Live and Andrew Jorgensen, general director at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis (OTSL). All shared stories of risk taking and resilience on the road to building their audiences. &#160;</p><h3><strong>Opera, Food, Millennials…oh my!</strong></h3><p>Opera Theatre of Saint Louis had set out to <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/think-opera-is-not-for-you-opera-theatre-of-saint-louis-says-think-again.aspx">target millennials and Gen-Xers</a>, with a special emphasis on populations of color. The journey began with a period of research, after which the company launched a multifaceted campaign with the goal of expanding OTSL’s visibility throughout St. Louis. With expanded print advertising and digital billboards, the organization hoped that greater visibility would heighten awareness of OTSL and ultimately help sell tickets. Unfortunately, the campaign did not produce tangible results. </p><p>“The campaign taught us that we don’t have the resources necessary to blanket the entire St. Louis region with our brand message year-round,” Jorgensen explained. “More importantly, it underscored that visibility by itself, without meaningful context, is not enough to entice potential audiences to buy tickets and get them into the theater.” </p><p>In revisiting the company’s past experiences with hosting preperformance lawn picnics and other community events, Jorgensen noted that they learned the social component is a key part of the OTSL experience. So the organization implemented “Opera Tastings,” a series of concerts with a diverse group of singers performing a range of popular pieces from the history of opera at restaurants and other venues across the St. Louis region. Local chefs pair food and drink to the music, and tickets are $25. In the first year, nearly 50 percent of new attendees at Opera Tastings ended up buying a ticket to the company’s festival season.</p><p>Although they were successful, Jorgensen said, Opera Tastings were also expensive. “They did not produce enough revenue to support themselves without philanthropic backing,” he explained. When asked how the organization plans to move forward, he noted, “It’s a question we are struggling with. As passionate arts presenters, we have a desire to always be adding programming and reaching more people. Opera Tastings is only four years old, and it’s hard to imagine letting go of it.” </p><p>This spring OTSL will host a modified version of Opera Tastings with fewer events, larger audiences and a slightly higher price point, as they continue to learn how to better reflect the demographics of key audiences. For example, African Americans comprise the largest non-white group in St. Louis, so the organization will continue its commitment to present work that they’ve learned might appeal to African American audiences. “Representation matters” Jorgensen said. </p><h3><strong>A Music Festival Grows in Boston</strong></h3><p>Global Arts Live (formerly World Music/CRASHarts) learned a similar lesson about programming when it began its <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/world-music-crasharts-tests-new-format-new-name-to-draw-new-audiences.aspx">effort to expand audiences</a> with extensive market research. The research suggested that the organization's name was too hard to remember and its brand could be more clear and consistent. So the organization rebranded, revealing <a href="/news-and-media/blog/pages/new-name-new-look-to-draw-a-new-generation-of-fans.aspx">its new name, Global Arts Live</a>, in May 2019.</p><p>Research also suggested that the organization’s current audience was growing older. This led Aronson and his team to start programming events for a younger audience, specifically in the 21-40 age range. “We thought that changing our marketing and adding small, secondary events, such as meetups, classes and talks, would reengage the younger audience by creating a sense of community,” he said. “But we learned that experimenting with on-mission programming was far more effective.” </p><p>Global Arts Live started producing 10 to 15 targeted concerts per year in “millennial-friendly clubs,” which were incredibly successful. These target concerts attracted between 7,000 and 10,000 attendees, which was a big jump from the 500 attendees that the less-successful secondary events attracted. Aronson and his team also developed CRASHfest, a global festival offering a vibrant and social atmosphere. This idea stemmed from focus groups the company executed during its market research phase. The festival, targeted toward millennials, showcased different types of performances in the same place. “We found that expanding artistic programming worked in parallel with CRASHfest, not only as a reengagement tool, but also as an audience building tool,” Aronson said. “The two strategies worked together to create multiple points of frequency.”</p><p>The first CRASHfest event took place at the House of Blues in Boston in 2016. Fifteen-hundred people attended, meeting the organization’s goal and grossing $38,000. Sixty-one percent of the audience was new to the organization, and 56 percent of the new audience was under the age of 40. “It’s nice to see it being multigenerational--reaching new audiences but keeping our old audience happy as well,” Aronson said. “You’re still finding a fair amount of people over the age of 40 coming to these events, which is important because we’d be in trouble if we lost our old audience.” </p><p>One surprising finding, according to Aronson, was that millennials didn’t mind being in an intergenerational audience. The two other organizations on the panel agreed that they had also made presumptions about their target audience that proved untrue. </p><h3><strong>Students Take the Reins</strong></h3><p>Reik noted that through her team’s efforts at Cal Performances to reach a younger audience, they too learned that millennials had more things in common with their older audiences than they would have expected. “Many of us had preconceived ideas of what a millennial generation would need. Some of what we found was that younger audiences liked the same things that the older audiences did—they actually like our core programming,” Reik said. “The other really interesting thing is that the current audience actually liked the really edgy stuff.” </p><p>During the first year of the BAS initiative, Cal Performances tested multiple approaches to target the 18- to 22-year-old student demographic on the UC Berkeley campus. “One of our most illuminating failures came in that very first year, and it is important to start with because our successful programming evolved as a result of that,” Reik shared. </p><p>Cal Performances had implemented a program called Citizen Dance to give students access to the organization’s resources and stage. Staff saw this as an opportunity for the many student-led dance crews to create large-scale work in cooperation with emerging choreographers. But participation was much lower than expected. “We learned quickly that students wanted to be in charge of their own program delivery, and they saw Citizen Dance as competing for their time and attention. It wasn’t enhancing their own experience,” Reik explained.</p><p>The difficulties they experienced launching Citizen Dance led Cal Performances to significantly strengthen student ownership of events. The organization attracted a close-knit group of students who were involved in every decision regarding the genesis, production, artists, programming, marketing and more. The organization then launched Front Row, an event curated by the students themselves. “We taught students how to be presenters themselves—they received all of the credit,” Reik said. The results were quite different from Citizen Dance—more than 45,000 students attended Front Row, many for the first time. </p><p>While building this community of students, the staff at Cal Performances also learned that price matters greatly to this audience. As a result, the organization implemented Flex Pass, which offered students four tickets for $40 to Cal Performances’ main stage events. Reik said Flex Pass was a great success in its first two years. In year three of the programming, the organization increased the price of Flex Pass in an attempt to “move the needle upward” against the investment costs of making seats available at discounted prices. “We found that even a five dollar increase had a fairly significant impact on sales,” said Reik. </p><h3><strong>Risks and Rewards</strong></h3><p>The three leaders agreed that risk taking and experimenting with new strategies and tactics, such as those described, was vital to better connect with their audiences. While they may have tried different methods and experienced different challenges along the way, they agreed that all departments must be involved in the audience-building work from the beginning for it to succeed. “When different departments work together from the beginning—when the structure and whole concept is built from that foundation—you can move quicker to execution and success,” Reik explained. </p><p>“You have to be all in&#58; the staff, the board, to succeed or to fail in this project,” Aronson added. “We see the future as optimistic. The work is continuous; it’s incremental, and you have to have a vision in the organization to implement your learnings.”&#160; </p><p><em>Learn more about the arts organizations who were on the panel&#58;</em><br> <a href="https&#58;//calperformances.org/">Cal Performances</a> is a performing arts presenting, commissioning and producing organization based at the University of California, Berkeley. &#160;</p><p><a href="https&#58;//www.globalartslive.org/">Global Arts Live</a> brings international music, contemporary dance and jazz from around the world to stages across Greater Boston. </p><p><a href="https&#58;//www.opera-stl.org/">Opera Theatre of Saint Louis</a> is known for its short annual festival season in late May and June, and for its commitment to commissioning new operas and developing emerging talent. </p><p><a href="https&#58;//www.harlemstage.org/">Harlem Stage</a> provides opportunity and support for artists of color, makes performances easily accessible to all audiences and introduces children to the rich diversity and inspiration of the performing arts. </p><p>To learn more about Wallace’s building audiences work, visit our <a href="/knowledge-center/building-audiences-for-the-arts/pages/default.aspx">knowledge center</a>.</p>Arts leaders on panel say data, market research and continuous learning can move organizations towards their audience goalsGP0|#459b8438-9b87-47d0-814e-02452652da81;L0|#0459b8438-9b87-47d0-814e-02452652da81|arts;GTSet|#e1be52fb-ad26-4379-9818-fd44f616dcf2;GP0|#7ee74777-f4ad-4204-a3cc-1a02bb45abab;L0|#07ee74777-f4ad-4204-a3cc-1a02bb45abab|arts audiences;GP0|#6e6b7b82-4be0-4877-ad30-0433d4e88ee3;L0|#06e6b7b82-4be0-4877-ad30-0433d4e88ee3|opera;GP0|#458b32e7-d270-4ed2-81c0-def6839f8f0d;L0|#0458b32e7-d270-4ed2-81c0-def6839f8f0d|music;GP0|#6d76b4c4-bff2-4a32-9edd-7f97c22d5061;L0|#06d76b4c4-bff2-4a32-9edd-7f97c22d5061|performing arts;GP0|#a0d4f287-6ff9-448d-8c80-654a5fcb15c1;L0|#0a0d4f287-6ff9-448d-8c80-654a5fcb15c1|market research;GP0|#32ab5a8c-5620-43b0-b5a6-f868041e5364;L0|#032ab5a8c-5620-43b0-b5a6-f868041e5364|dataGP0|#8056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be;L0|#08056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be|Building Audiences for the Arts;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61Jenna Doleh91<img alt="" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/apap-lg-feature.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />2020-02-11T05:00:00ZYour source for research and ideas to expand high quality learning and enrichment opportunities. Supporting: School Leadership, After School, Summer and Extended Learning Time, Arts Education and Building Audiences for the Arts.2/13/2020 5:37:34 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Experimentation and Refinement a Key to Audience Building in the Arts Arts leaders on panel say data, market research and 99https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
New Media Gets New Audiences into an Old Art Form20 <p><em>This post is an update on a <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/wallace-studies-in-building-arts-audiences-extending-reach-with-technology.aspx">2015 case study</a> of Seattle Opera's Wallace-funded efforts to determine whether technology can help enhance the opera experience. It is one of a series of blog posts exploring how organizations' audience-development efforts fare once Wallace funds run out. It does not include a thorough analysis to determine whether the financial benefits of the efforts described are commensurate to their costs.</em></p><p>Seattle Opera, which produces five operas each year for an audience of more than 100,000, was early among arts organizations to use digital and social media to engage audiences. Its use of those tactics was given an early boost by a $750,000 Wallace Foundation Excellence Award, which provided funds for four years of experimentation between 2009 and 2012, as described in this <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/wallace-studies-in-building-arts-audiences-extending-reach-with-technology.aspx">2015 case study</a>. Those efforts were largely focused on deepening participation among those already attending, using technology to create opportunities to interact with the company and its productions. </p><p>The opera used audience research to guide development of a variety of tools and activities and evaluate each tactic post-launch, with annual surveys examining what was accessed, by whom and with what impact. This research led it to develop easily accessible audiovisual content that could help audiences better understand what goes into producing opera. The tools became more effective each year as the staff learned what did and did not work and adjusted its approach accordingly. Since then, the company has continued to develop and share digital content with the aim of helping audiences develop a deeper understanding of its work, and more recently, encouraging ticket sales. </p><h3>2009-2012&#58; Honing a Digital Approach with Wallace Funds</h3><p>In the summer of 2009, focus-group research suggested that operagoers were interested in seeing and hearing how works are prepared for the stage. The finding led the company to create and share “behind-the-scenes” videos highlighting aspects of production such as <a href="https&#58;//www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulLEwgZwKao&amp;list=PLWpqPsEHuRYZTRIjqI1bpNvdqNwdxl5sX&amp;index=3&amp;t=0s">set design</a> and <a href="https&#58;//www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL869613FC0F3BC00B">hair and makeup</a>. Surveys and web analytics indicated that those videos were widely accessed and highly effective in enhancing operagoers’ experience, and they became a critical part of the engagement strategy each year. The segments had greater appeal than other tactics such as audio-only podcasts and a <a href="https&#58;//www.youtube.com/watch?v=yi2SA64rPEo">video series</a> that lacked a behind-the-scenes focus. Photo-rich blogs revealing different aspects of the opera production process were also accessed by and enhanced the experience for many viewers. </p><p>Certain tactics were deemed too expensive to continue when evaluation research revealed only modest impact. They included&#58;</p><ul><li>Interactive community-building forums such as contests and sharing tools that did not provide the additional understanding operagoers got from audiovisual content;<br> <br> </li><li>Livestreams of panel discussions and other engagement events, which were well received, but only by the small number of people that accessed them; and <br> <br> </li><li>An outdoor simulcast, the one technology-based tactic designed to bring in new audiences. Large numbers attended the simulcast, but it was prohibitively expensive and too challenging to convert the novices it drew into regular mainstage attendees. </li></ul><p>Seattle Opera’s marketing department spearheaded its digital transformation, but, from the outset, it brought in staffers from the production and artistic departments as full partners in planning and strategy discussions. It turned out to be a wise move; those staffers provided much of the content that gave audiences a peek behind the curtain, even appearing in videos that offered virtual backstage tours. Their active participation at all phases of content development eased initial concerns about the information marketers might share digitally and about revealing secrets that help create the onstage magic. </p><h3><strong>2012-Present&#58; Funding Ends but Content Use Expands and Adapts</strong></h3><p>Since that experimentation period, the company has focused its technology-based audience-engagement efforts on digital content, as opposed to less fruitful efforts such as livestreams, simulcasts and similar offerings. The company is now creating more of that content and using it to accomplish a broader range of objectives that also includes sales and community building. It also maintains its use of web analytics to monitor the popularity of its digital content.</p><p>The staff continues to develop material designed to deepen understanding of how opera is produced and, increasingly, to explore its relevance in the world today. Popular features have included videos of directors' and artists' perspectives on the reasons a particular opera remains important, which is not always apparent in a genre where most repertoire is well over 100 years old. Such features may include discussions of universal themes and elements of the human experience that transcend place and time, such as love, humanity and good and evil, and how these themes play out in characters' struggles on stage. Other popular material has included discussions of the work necessary to update old librettos for modern audiences, especially if they include stereotyped portrayals of non-white and non-Western people. </p><p>In addition, blog posts describe different aspects of opera to help explain it to people with varying levels of familiarity with the art form. The company has also continued to produce podcasts, which had limited success when Seattle Opera first experimented with them but have garnered greater listenership thanks to partnerships with a local classical-music radio station and podcast distributor SoundCloud. All this digital content is also shared on social media and on the Seattle Opera website, where it can be easily found by those already engaged with the company.</p><p>Seattle Opera has also elevated digital content’s role in driving sales, capitalizing on the ability of online platforms to reach a wider audience. At the 2009 start of the initiative, Seattle Opera's digital content was largely confined to its website. Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter were fairly new, used by 27 percent and 6 percent of the adult U.S. population respectively. But proliferation of social media since then has allowed the organization to more aggressively promote its content among new audiences. “Our website only reaches people who are already looking for information about us,&quot; says Director of Marketing and Communications Kristina Murti. &quot;But with social, we’re able to deliver the content to everyone who follows us, as well as to people we can target through advertising, … and then hopefully get them over to the website for more information.”</p><p>In order for such efforts to work, however, content first needs to break through the clutter of social media feeds. To stand out, Seattle Opera has started to use more professionally shot, color-rich videos, many featuring scenes in dress rehearsal, striking images of the set, or eye-catching features such as the costume shop. The amount of video produced varies across productions, with the company publishing approximately two to four videos in advance of opening night, followed by another four to six short performance clips featuring singers or segments that potential audiences may recognize. </p><p>But Facebook is more than the primary digital sales channel. Seattle Opera also uses the platform to foster community, with news about the company and opera in general, and posts referencing operas and musicians that transcend any one production or season. The approach has helped the organization increase its Facebook audience from approximately 40,000 likes in 2015 to 81,000 likes in early 2019, outpacing the 50 to 60 percent growth <a href="https&#58;//mrbenchmarks.com/numbers/social-media">experienced by other nonprofits</a> during that time. Seattle Opera is also investing in Instagram, largely because the platform is widely adopted by younger generations and its visual nature allows for inventive storytelling. The company is not putting as much effort into Twitter; digital consultants and other arts organizations suggested that its return on investment in driving sales is lower than Facebook and Instagram. Seattle Opera’s social media growth has tracked with that investment&#58; the number of its Twitter followers has plateaued, while Instagram and even Facebook—a mature and more saturated platform—continues to add followers.</p><p><em>Seattle Opera’s Social Media Following</em><br> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/New-Media-Gets-New-Audiences-into-an-Old-Art-Form/Seattle-Opera-Digital-Media-Strategy.jpg" alt="Seattle-Opera-Digital-Media-Strategy.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /><img src="file&#58;///C&#58;/Users/jmoreno/AppData/Roaming/Adobe/Dreamweaver%20CC%202019/en_US/OfficeImageTemp/clip_image002.png" width="593" height="343" border="0" alt="" /></p><h3><strong>Still Learning and Partnering</strong></h3><p>The opera remains focused on continuous learning, in large part to keep up with changes in how platforms such as Instagram and Facebook deliver content. “You never know how your content is going to land. Something that works today may not work six months from now,” Murti says. What’s more, people respond to different aspects of each opera, so every production has an unknown element. There’s no set formula.</p><p>Online analytics and guidance from social-media consultants have helped navigate these uncertain waters. From its web analytics, Seattle Opera can see that Facebook brought in approximately $700,000 of the company’s annual ticket revenue of $7.5 million in the 2019 fiscal year and another $300,000 in donations and other earnings. According to systems developed by its consultants, $80,000 of this revenue came from people who had watched a video at some point in the sales process. Such data obviate the need for some surveys, though the company did have to pay to develop the systems needed to collect them. Murti says the expense has been well worth it; the analytics allow the marketing team to look on a bi-weekly, post-by-post basis at the content that is and is not moving sales, and then reinvest in what appears to be working. </p><p>Having that data also allows Murti to inform artists, production and technical staff about how their collaboration on digital content drives ticket sales. Such feedback encourages their ongoing participation, a continuation of the cross-departmental partnership that Seattle Opera established early in the process and has made it easy to produce large volumes of material. With so many metrics and platforms to track and understand, the importance of this partnership might have been easy to overlook. But perhaps more than any tactic or technological advance, the collaboration has been essential to the company’s progress and could help it continue creating relevant content that moves and engages audiences. </p>Research, collaboration and web analytics help Seattle Opera make opera more meaningful to connected audiences.GP0|#8056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be;L0|#08056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be|Building Audiences for the Arts;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61Bob Harlow82<img alt="" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/seattle-opera-lg-feature.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />2020-02-04T05:00:00ZYour source for research and ideas to expand high quality learning and enrichment opportunities. Supporting: School Leadership, After School, Summer and Extended Learning Time, Arts Education and Building Audiences for the Arts.2/4/2020 7:31:19 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / New Media Gets New Audiences into an Old Art Form Research, collaboration and web analytics help Seattle Opera make opera 432https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
How Communities Can Put Data to Work for Young People15385<p>​​“Show me the numbers.” It’s a refrain that’s sure to be familiar to those who work hard to create enriching afterschool and summer experiences for young people. Funders and civic leaders want data demonstrating how their dollars are making a difference. Program providers want to use data to get better and make a case for public support. Often, they rely on intermediaries—nonprofit organizations that coordinate out-of-school-time (OST) efforts and resources in a community—to oversee the data gathering and analysis. But what if intermediaries are gathering the wrong data in the wrong way? </p><p>As part of a project spearheaded by Every Hour Counts, a coalition representing intermediaries, the RAND Corporation explored how three of the nation’s most mature intermediaries gather and use data. RAND reviewed the quality of the data the organizations collected, the measurement tools and databases they used and more. The result was the recently published <em> <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/putting-data-to-work-for-young-people.aspx">Putting Data to Work for Young People&#58; A Ten-Step Guide for Expanded Learning Intermediaries</a></em>. Developed with support from Wallace and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the guide offers practical advice on gathering and working with data to improve decision making. </p><p>Every Hour Counts Executive Director Jessica Donner, along with the heads of the three intermediaries that participated in the project—Erik Skold of Sprockets in St. Paul, Minn., Hillary Salmons of the Providence After School Alliance, and Chris Smith of Boston After School &amp; Beyond—provided us with their take on the power of data and what intermediaries and others in the field can do to harness it. </p><p> <strong>What is the problem this guide is intended to solve?</strong></p><p> <strong> <img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="Jessica.jfif" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/How-Communities-Can-Put-Data-to-Work-for-Young-People/Jessica.jfif" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;168px;height&#58;212px;" />Donner&#58;</strong>&#160;Over the course of our project with RAND and the three intermediaries, we learned that data use is messy, much more so than we anticipated. A number of key questions came up, like, What youth outcomes should we measure to show the impact our out-of-school-time programs are having? What’s the best approach for sharing data with providers and schools? How do we act on data in a timely and meaningful way? We developed the guide to answer those questions and to help intermediaries and others deal with common data-related challenges.</p><p> <strong>Why is it important for intermediaries to be able to work with data effectively? What does effective data work look like?</strong></p><p> <strong> <span> <span> <span> <span> <img class="wf-Image-Right" alt="Erik.jfif" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/How-Communities-Can-Put-Data-to-Work-for-Young-People/Erik.jfif" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;167px;" /></span></span></span></span>Skold&#58;</strong> Data is a space where intermediaries can really add value to the field.&#160;Youth-serving organizations often lack the time and capacity to<span></span> effectively collect, analyze and use data. Intermediaries can provide them with the systems, tools and processes to help them better understand what’s happening in their programs and make improvements.&#160;Intermediaries can also aggregate&#160;data from across programs to tell a broader story about what’s happening in a city or a system.&#160;That allows for larger community conversations about how best to support youth and helps policymakers and other stakeholders analyze gaps and needs and think about how to prioritize investments.</p><p> <strong> <img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="Chris.jfif" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/How-Communities-Can-Put-Data-to-Work-for-Young-People/Chris.jfif" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;259px;height&#58;173px;" />Smith&#58;</strong> Data is one way for us to know, as a city, if we are effective in our work of providing high-quality opportunities for students to grow in their knowledge and skills. It can shine a light on what we're doing well and what we need to work on, and help programs across the city build capacity together. </p><p> <strong>How should intermediaries get started working with data? What's the first step?</strong></p><p> <strong>Donner&#58;</strong> There is an overwhelming plethora of data out there for intermediaries to consider so the first step for intermediaries, as noted in the report, is to do some hard thinking about the purpose of the data gathering. Then, we hope communities will turn to the <a href="https&#58;//static1.squarespace.com/static/5b199ed585ede1153ef29e8a/t/5b19a09e2b6a28c655798a25/1528406174521/Every+Hour+Counts+Measurement+Framework.pdf">Every Hour Counts Measurement Framework</a>, a tool that our organization has developed (and is revising) to &#160;streamline and simplify a data collection process that can be daunting. The framework lays out what we’ve assessed as the most valuable outcomes for out-of-school-time system builders to measure, how to measure them and the research base for each. The framework has an intentional tri-level focus on a small number of system-, program- and youth-level outcomes that we hope communities will achieve as a result of building local expanded-learning systems. Informed by our work with RAND and our network, we are releasing a revised Framework in 2020 that further distills the outcomes into an even more manageable and focused list for intermediaries. </p><p>We advise communities to tread lightly when it comes to measuring youth outcomes. Systems are ultimately developed to support young people, so there’s a natural desire to want to measure the impact of your investment. But positive youth outcomes develop through multiple experiences over the course of a lifetime. We encourage systems to start by focusing on promoting and measuring the conditions that research has shown to improve youth outcomes&#58; program design, high-quality program implementation and frequent attendance. </p><p> <strong>What are the biggest data-related challenges that OST intermediaries face?</strong></p><p> <strong>Skold&#58;</strong> One of the biggest challenges is working with large amounts of data from various program models.&#160;Aggregating&#160;and making meaning of data collected from programs of varying focus, length and age groups is difficult.&#160;It can be especially difficult when trying to demonstrate the impact that the programs and the intermediary are having on participants.&#160;Intermediaries need to be very thoughtful about what data they’re collecting from programs and what types of data to aggregate.&#160; </p><p> <strong>Donner&#58;</strong> Out-of-school-time intermediaries, and they aren’t alone in this, don’t know what they don’t know. Data work is complex, and without tremendous in-house data expertise, it’s hard to know what questions to ask, where to start and where there are missed opportunities for efficiencies. Intermediaries need to develop an infrastructure to do data work well, and that takes support, financial and in-kind, from public and private partners. </p><p> <strong>What’s one piece of advice you would give to other intermediaries to help them get better at working with data?</strong></p><p> <strong> <img class="wf-Image-Left" alt="Hillary.jfif" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/How-Communities-Can-Put-Data-to-Work-for-Young-People/Hillary.jfif" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;110px;height&#58;165px;" />Salmons&#58;</strong> Take the changes one step at a time. While you may have an ultimate vision to guide you towards where you want to be, understand that each step along the way requires thoughtful planning, trial, reflection and improvement. That way, you can set clear goals of what to accomplish within a set time period; be honest with your partners and stakeholders about what’s realistic within the coming months and years; and make sure that each data improvement you make is meeting their needs. </p><p> <strong>Smith&#58;</strong> As early as you can manage it, set up a system that makes it easier for programs to collect and submit data and designate intermediary staff who can devote time and attention to answering questions, troubleshooting and helping programs see the importance of continuous improvement.</p><p> <strong>How can intermediaries use the guide to get better at working with data? What are some of the most useful tips that came out of the research? </strong></p><p> <strong>Donner&#58;</strong> One of the most important tips featured in this guide is for intermediaries to find a way to have in an in-house point person for data—even if they work with an outside research firm or university. Due to the complexity of data collection, the intense nature of collaboration with stakeholders and the likelihood of mistakes, we’ve learned it’s a good idea to have a person on the team who’s dedicated to using data effectively and efficiently and, above all, thinking about the right questions to move the work forward. </p><p>Another recommendation from the guide is to start by making a list of your key stakeholders, what they need or want to know and how they’re likely to use the information. That advice is everything. We hear time and again that the mayor or superintendent asks a particular question, and intermediaries want to be at the ready with attendance, retention and other stats. So how do you get in front of that, anticipate questions and design a system that gets you the data you need to answer them? The guide has template—data needs for program directors—to help. </p><p><em>Top photo&#58; Youth race cardboard boats they designed and built in one of the many out-of-school time offerings in Providence. Photo courtesy of the Providence After School Alliance.</em> </p> <p></p><p> <em>For more information, see these publications on <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/afterschool-programs-a-review-of-evidence-under-the-every-student-succeeds-act.aspx">afterschool</a> and <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/investing-in-successful-summer-programs-essa-review.aspx">summer programs</a> for a review of evidence about out-of-school-time programming. These Wallace Perspectives offer insights on <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/summer-a-time-for-learning-five-lessons-from-school-districts-and-their-partners-about-running-successful-programs.aspx">summer</a> and <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/growing-together-learning-together.aspx">afterschool</a> as well.</em></p>Four leaders in the out-of-school-time field offer practical advice for harnessing data across organizations and schoolsGP0|#4838d563-77b4-44ff-a5c1-d01628309a7e;L0|#04838d563-77b4-44ff-a5c1-d01628309a7e|afterschool systems;GTSet|#e1be52fb-ad26-4379-9818-fd44f616dcf2;GP0|#cad33471-a186-455a-836f-0d0657808f00;L0|#0cad33471-a186-455a-836f-0d0657808f00|research;GP0|#88b77bae-56d6-47d9-922f-54af703d57b5;L0|#088b77bae-56d6-47d9-922f-54af703d57b5|learning;GP0|#91bf67c6-3cc1-4097-9074-16701a50b2ac;L0|#091bf67c6-3cc1-4097-9074-16701a50b2ac|enrichmentGP0|#b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211;L0|#0b804f37e-c5dd-4433-a644-37b51bb2e211|Afterschool;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61Wallace editorial team79<img alt="" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/data-young-people-lg-feature.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />2020-01-28T05:00:00ZYour source for research and ideas to expand high quality learning and enrichment opportunities. Supporting: School Leadership, After School, Summer and Extended Learning Time, Arts Education and Building Audiences for the Arts.1/28/2020 2:53:42 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / How Communities Can Put Data to Work for Young People Four leaders in the out-of-school-time field offer practical advice 499https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx
Ambassadors, Advice and Strategic Discounts Bring Newcomers to Minnesota Opera3805<p> <em>This post is an update on <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/wallace-studies-in-building-arts-audiences-someone-who-speaks-their-language.aspx">a 2014 case study</a> of Minnesota Opera’s Wallace-funded efforts to attract new opera fans and supporters. It is one of a series of blog posts exploring how organizations' audience-development efforts fare once Wallace funds run out. It does not include a thorough analysis to determine whether the financial benefits of the efforts described are commensurate to their costs.</em></p><p>Those unfamiliar with opera often assume the art form is for a different kind of person; they may think of someone older, wealthier, with different sensibilities and maybe even a bit pretentious. For the marketing staff at Minnesota Opera, the key to bringing newcomers to the performance hall requires, first and foremost, challenging that assumption. One tack has been to enable trusted opera devotees to act as ambassadors and encourage others to give the art form a try. Assisted by a four-year (2009 to 2012), $750,000 Excellence Award from The Wallace Foundation, the organization successfully enlisted an influencer with a wide following who attracted new ticket buyers. When a medical condition forced that influencer to retire, the staff empowered other groups in its audience base to cultivate new attendees.&#160; </p><h3 class="wf-Element-H3">Tapping Local Partners</h3><p> The company, which produces five operas per year for an audience of nearly 45,000, first experimented with this idea in its 2008–2009 season, with a Bring-a-Friend program. Through that effort, its roughly 3,000 subscribers could receive a free companion ticket to a performance, which they were asked to give to a friend who had never attended Minnesota Opera. Staffers were discouraged when fewer than a fifth of subscribers took advantage of the offer but took heart when half the invited friends later bought tickets themselves. That high return rate got the marketing staff thinking about how to expand the model by tapping into a trusted advocate with greater reach. </p><p>As detailed in a <a href="/knowledge-center/pages/wallace-studies-in-building-arts-audiences-someone-who-speaks-their-language.aspx">2014 case study</a>, the company launched a partnership with Ian Punnett, a longtime opera attendee and host of a morning drive-time pop-culture radio show. In show banter and in ads, he told his audience, which was made up mostly of professional women, what they would find enjoyable about specific Minnesota Opera productions. Avoiding esoteric references, he emphasized the drama, spectacle, pageantry and passion on stage. Over the four years of Wallace Foundation funding, more than 1,000 new households redeemed free tickets received in promotions on Punnett's show, in line with the company’s projections. What’s more, 18 percent of these newcomers returned on a paid ticket, well exceeding the 10-percent return rate documented in <a href="https&#58;//www.oliverwyman.com/content/dam/oliver-wyman/global/en/files/community/Pro%20Bono%20Program/Solving%20a%20Classical%20Mystery/OW_EN_PUBL_2008_AUDIENCEGROWTHINITIATIVE%281%29.pdf">a 2008 study of first-time visitors at nine American symphonies</a>.</p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Ambassadors-Advice-and-Strategic-Discounts-Bring-Newcomers-to-Minnesota-Opera/Traviata2.jpeg.jpg" alt="Traviata2.jpeg.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /> <br> </p><p>The radio partnership was just one component of the strategy. A local afternoon TV talk show also distributed free tickets to all members of its 50-person studio audience. But the show’s hosts lacked Punnett’s connection to opera and couldn’t speak as compellingly about it. Further, audience members received tickets whether they were interested or not. Few redeemed tickets and the partnership was scrapped in its second year. </p><p>The company also conducted research into audience motivations for buying tickets and, importantly, what prevented first timers who had come through the radio promotion from returning a second time. The research revealed that, although those newcomers may have enjoyed attending the performance, when they were considering a return visit, they didn’t have Punnett to steer them toward another opera. Marketing brochures were designed for traditional audiences, lacked Punnett’s accessible style and had references that newcomers did not fully understand. What’s more, the decision to return not only involved choosing an opera, but also selecting a seat in an unfamiliar hall. Consumer psychologists have long noted that <a href="https&#58;//insight.kellogg.northwestern.edu/article/what-predicts-consumer-choice-overload">too many options can overwhelm unfamiliar consumers</a>, causing them to avoid choosing anything at all. Minnesota Opera’s research suggested that this tendency may be at play among its prospects. They needed help and sometimes a push to identify when and how to return.</p><p>These insights gave rise to multiple marketing strategies to overcome that purchase inertia. One tack was to simplify the decision-making process by creating offers for tickets in a specific seating section, eliminating the need to select where to sit. These promotions typically offered configurations such as “Three tickets for $75,” and produced about 100 new subscribers when they ran in local newspapers. Another approach was an impulse-buy promotion offered at two or three performances each season. First-time subscribers received a discount on a new subscription if they signed up before leaving the performance hall. Approximately 100 new subscribers did so each evening the offer was made available.</p><h3 class="wf-Element-H3">Turning to Existing Ambassadors</h3><p> Severe tinnitus forced Punnett to retire from radio in early 2013, bringing Minnesota Opera's partnership with him to an unexpected end. The company sought a similar partner who shares a love of opera, a large audience and a relatable personality—critical factors that drove the program's success—but was unable to find one. The staff therefore tried to deputize different groups within its audience base. “When a friend recommends going to the opera, it’s very different than being served a marketing message,&quot; says Marketing Director Katherine Castille.</p><p>The company still runs its Bring-A-Friend program but has had to pare it back as its popularity has grown. Minnesota Opera has approximately 3,000 subscribers, and an open offer to all of them meant that the company could potentially hand out more than 500 tickets per production. It therefore offers Bring-a-Friend tickets for just one production each year to the approximately 200 subscribers who automatically renew their subscriptions before the next season’s titles are revealed. The approach provides an incentive to auto-renew while also attracting a small number of newcomers to the performance hall. </p><p>Bring-a-Friend<em> Redemptions and Returning Households<br></em></p><p> <em><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Ambassadors-Advice-and-Strategic-Discounts-Bring-Newcomers-to-Minnesota-Opera/bring-a-friend-chart.jpg" alt="bring-a-friend-chart.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /></em><br> </p><p>Beginning in the 2016–2017 season, Minnesota Opera also began offering complimentary 'loyalty tickets' to some subscribers, not just to show appreciation but also to help introduce their friends to the company. The group that receives the offer varies. That way, no one gets used to relying on free tickets and the marketing team can target larger or smaller groups depending on the number of seats available. For one show, free tickets might be offered to weekend subscribers; for another, they could go to new subscribers or those who have subscribed for more than ten years. Unlike Bring-A-Friend, these tickets do not need to be given to someone new to the company, but many are. Some preliminary results (below) show that the program is providing a very low-cost way to bring in new audiences; 183 (25 percent) of the 720 new households that came through the program purchased tickets themselves afterwards. </p><p> <em>Loyalty Ticket Redemptions and Returning Households<br></em></p><p> <em><img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Ambassadors-Advice-and-Strategic-Discounts-Bring-Newcomers-to-Minnesota-Opera/loyalty-ticket-chart.jpg" alt="loyalty-ticket-chart.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /></em><br> </p><p>The staff is aware of the arguments against offering free tickets&#58; They can deflate perceptions of the operas’ value and, if used too liberally, teach people to expect them. For that reason, it distributes loyalty tickets in a highly targeted way. For starters, the company offers at most one free ticket to each patron each year and, to capitalize on patrons’ social connections, asks the recipient to invite a friend. The company typically makes these tickets available only in circumstances where sales are likely to need a lift—e.g., less popular showtimes, hard-to-fill seats, less familiar titles and shows early in the season that don't have much time for advance sales. </p><h3 class="wf-Element-H3">Offers and Messages to Encourage Ticket Purchases</h3><p> Relying on insights from its research with first-time attendees, the company still offers impulse-buy subscriptions following certain performances. It provides a discount of between 30 and 50 percent to single-ticket buyers who opt for these offers. The company targets well-known titles and performances outside of the subscription series, because those evenings are likely to have the most non-subscribers in attendance. Over three nights at the end of a run of <em>La Traviata</em> in May 2019<em>, </em>the company sold 160 new subscriptions, together worth approximately $25,000. The year prior, it ran the offer at two performances of <em>Rigoletto, </em>bringing in approximately $14,000 through 90 new subscribers. </p><p> <img src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/Pages/Ambassadors-Advice-and-Strategic-Discounts-Bring-Newcomers-to-Minnesota-Opera/Traviata.jpg.jpg" alt="Traviata.jpg.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;" /> <br> </p><p>The company also tries to point newcomers in the direction of operas they might like, much as Punnett did on his radio show. The practice began when the staff heard in focus groups that people who had not returned to the opera missed Punnett’s guidance. Staffers initially responded by rewriting season brochures to signal which works were “perfect for an opera newbie” or “perfect for an opera buff.” But they nixed the strategy after one season; staffers became concerned that the phrasing might sound as if they were suggesting “opera smart” or “opera dumb.” </p><p>The need to help newcomers pick an opera was still there, however. “We have to find new ways to help people relate,” says Castille. “The seemingly natural reaction seems to be, ‘It’s not for me,’ and we need to make it more approachable.” </p><p>Now, communications targeting single-ticket buyers, who are more likely to be newer to opera, provide guidance on who should see what opera by including references to similar works and pop-culture. For a recent production of <em>Marriage of Figaro, </em>for example, audiences were told that it would be perfect for people who like <em>Downton Abbey, Amadeus </em>and <em>Cosí Fan Tutte. </em></p><p>In all communications Minnesota Opera also targets misperceptions about opera more directly. The company always promotes the fact that tickets start at $25, as it has done for the past ten years, because people assume opera is expensive. It also shows simultaneous English translation during performances, and has consistently communicated that point in print, TV and radio advertising for more than a decade. Even so, misconceptions have proven to be resistant to change (that’s true for other art forms as well). The company recently completed focus-group research and, Castille says, “Those perceptions are still out there—that opera is super expensive, it’s stuffy, it’s exclusively for much older people, I have to know a different language. The work is never done.&quot;</p><p><em>La Traviata, 2019. Photos by Dan Norman courtesy of Minnesota Opera.</em></p> <strong></strong><p></p>A midwestern company taps its networks and carefully crafts promotions to introduce new audiences to opera.GP0|#459b8438-9b87-47d0-814e-02452652da81;L0|#0459b8438-9b87-47d0-814e-02452652da81|arts;GTSet|#e1be52fb-ad26-4379-9818-fd44f616dcf2;GP0|#7ee74777-f4ad-4204-a3cc-1a02bb45abab;L0|#07ee74777-f4ad-4204-a3cc-1a02bb45abab|arts audiences;GP0|#44800786-66e9-4e66-8f29-d9d79cc403ae;L0|#044800786-66e9-4e66-8f29-d9d79cc403ae|museumsGP0|#8056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be;L0|#08056f3bc-89c1-4297-814a-3e71542163be|Building Audiences for the Arts;GTSet|#a1e8653d-64cb-48e0-8015-b5826f8c5b61Bob Harlow82<img alt="" src="/News-and-Media/Blog/PublishingImages/wea-update-story5-lg-feature.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />2020-01-21T05:00:00ZA midwestern company taps its networks and carefully crafts promotions to introduce new audiences to opera.1/29/2020 2:35:54 PMThe Wallace Foundation / News and Media / Wallace Blog / Ambassadors, Advice and Strategic Discounts Bring Newcomers to Minnesota Opera A midwestern company taps its networks and 335https://www.wallacefoundation.org/News-and-Media/Blog/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx

​​​​​​​​​​​​​