Here's a post that will hopefully thinking about the type of relationship you have with your audience or donors.
About two years ago the theatre company I worked for was producing August Wilson's Seven Guitars. We produced in a 220 seat theatre. In a good night we would get maybe 90-100 people.
Now for those of you would aren't familar, most people think that while August Wilson and Tyler Perry are both playwrights, one (August) is clearly artistically superior to the other (Perry).
Not only was Mr. Perry in town this particular night his show had sold out for the entire weekend run . . . over 3,000 seats at $50 a pop. As a contrast, our seats were $25.
To say I took this particular piece of news poorly would have been a huge understatement. In fact, for a while I resented Tyler Perry every person who had gone to see his show when they could have come to see mine.
Now you may say, "Adam . . . you were just jealous." And you are right, I was. But as I look back on that time years later, I think what disturbed me most was my attitude about his audience . . . about the people that came to see his show.
This is where you come in.
All too often I see a company put on a poorly attended artistic production and their first thought is . . . "the reason no one came the show is because people are too busy watching junk like Dancing With The Stars to come out and see a true artistic work."
Or if you do a fundraising campaign and no one gives it's . . . "people are too selfish to give or too stupid to understand why our cause is important"
This attitude creates a horrible relationship with the people you want and need to support.
Now let's look at someone who created a great relationship with his audience . . . Tyler Perry!
That guy I couldn't stand two years ago? The reason he had a packed house was because he had been doing his shows for over a decade all over the country. And over that decade he had built a enduring relationship with his fans. His message to them was simple . . ."I am doing this work for you, so come out and have a good time".
Did you notice that? He was an artist doing his work . . . FOR HIS AUDIENCE. Compared to an artist that just works to please his or herself.
So after a decade of building credibility and trust with his audience he had earned the right to come to town and sell out a show.
Now here's what I want you to think about . . . .
If you are an artist, what have you done in the last month to gain your audience's respect and trust?
If you run a nonprofit what have you done recently that helps to convince donors you are the best choice for their time, money and effort?