Knowledge Centre Blog

What will the legacy of 2013 be?

Have you noticed the amount of major events/campaigns scheduled for Ireland in 2013? From the Cultural Programme of Ireland’s Presidency of the EU to The Gathering’s year long activities and the World Actors Forum to IETM (The International Network for Contemporary Performing Arts) Spring Plenary Meeting. All these events got members of the Development Managers’ Forum thinking…Can we galvanise the activity of multiple arts organisations in 2013 to build visibility /create momentum / encourage the private sector (individuals, businesses trusts, and foundations) to invest in Irish arts and cultural organisations?

If, like many of us, you are involved with one or many of these initiatives, have you looked at what your organisation’s role is in these events and asked yourself, can your involvement help build awareness, enthusiasm and support for your organisation from the private sector?

While your role is most likely because you have great art programmed to coincide with the events, this great art along with the profile of being part of these major events should be used creatively to engage current or future supporters.

This can be achieved by undertaking an institutional marketing exercise. Institutional Marketing refers to “the creative use of organisational assets to create spikes in awareness, energy, and enthusiasm around an organisation, beginning with the presentation of bold transformational art itself and continuing through activities that heighten awareness about the people, process, and other institutional assets behind that art.”  (DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the Kennedy Center).

Institutional marketing is different to programmatic marketing. (see DeVos Ireland Section of New Stream site for more information on Programmatic Marketing.)

The benefits of institutional marketing

  • It uses all the existing assets of the organisation (physical, human or experiential) to generate interest among current and future supporters
  • As it relies on the imaginative utilisation of existing assets, it is relatively inexpensive, if not free to execute
  • It creates, not just awareness, but energy, enthusiasm and genuine engagement around what you’re doing to ‘soften’ potential buyers and investors –excitement is critical to successful fundraising

What should you do?

  • Start by creating a calendar of activities that your organisation is involved with in 2013 (and beyond)
  • Identify spikes of activity which relate to other major cultural events or activities
  • Identify board members to act as ambassadors and ask them to showcase your activities during these spikes of activity to interested parties
  • Target a small group individuals (usually no more than 100 people) who currently (or in the future) have the potential to be supporters of your organisation. These individuals should be privy to spikes of activity such as these and your arts organisation should make a special effort to ensure that institutional marketing activity reaches this core group of ‘change makers’
  • If possible, plan at least one institutional marketing activity per month for large arts organisations (or one per quarter for smaller organisations)
  • Like all forms of marketing, institutional marketing around your organisation’s involvement in these activities will only be effective if repeated

Major Cultural Events in 2013

Ireland’s Presidency of the European Union (Cultural Programme)  - 01 Jan – 31 May 2012. 

The Gathering 2013 – year long calendar of events.

International Network for Contemporary Performing Arts – 11 – 14 April 2013

World Actors Forum May 17th to 19th 2013

JFK 50th Anniversary Ireland Visit Celebrations – 29th May – 4th July 2013

Derry/Londonderry 2013 – UK City of Culture – year long calendar of events

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