What makes a successful arts and cultural organization? Led by DeVos Institute Chairman Michael M. Kaiser and President Brett Egan, this course will introduce you to a management theory called the Cycle which supports thriving arts and cultural organizations. Learning from our work with managers from over 80 countries around the world, the DeVos Institute developed the Cycle as a simple, but powerful tool to assist managers in their effort to respond to an increasingly complex environment and propel their institutions to excellence.
The Cycle explains how great art and strong marketing can create a family of supporters, who in turn help the organization produce the revenue required to support even more great art the next year. The Institute has seen the Cycle work in performing and presenting organizations, as well as museums, arts schools, and other nonprofit endeavors like service organizations, historical societies, public libraries, university programs, advocacy organizations, botanical gardens, and zoos.
By taking this course, you will learn:
• the importance of bold, exciting, and mission-driven programming in an organization;
• how long-term artistic planning can help an organization produce this work;
• how an organization can aggressively market that programming and the institution behind it to develop a family of supporters – including ticket buyers, board members, donors, trustees and volunteers;
• how an organization can cultivate and steward this family to build a healthy base of earned and contributed income; and
• how an organization can reinvest that income into increasingly ambitious programming year after year.
Who is this class for: This course is designed for managers, board members, funders, students, and even patrons and enthusiasts of arts and cultural organizations who are interested in learning how to build thriving arts and cultural institutions around the world.
Introduction to the Cycle
Welcome! This first week you will be introduced to the course structure and learn the key principles of the Cycle, a management theory which supports thriving arts and cultural organizations and which serves as the framework for the course. The Cycle proposes that: When bold art is marketed aggressively, an organization attracts a family of energized ticket-buyers and patrons. The income produced by this family is reinvested in more art that, when marketed well, builds a larger, even more diverse family. When this cycle repeats year after year, the organization incrementally and sustainably builds capacity, presence, and health. Following the introductory lectures, you will learn more about the Cycle by reading the executive summary, reviewing answers to frequently asked questions, and completing an introductory quiz. As a reminder, if you are taking this course as a student or enthusiast not affiliated with a specific organization, we recommend you select an organization of your choosing to reference as you make your way through the course!
Graded: Introduction to the Cycle
Long-Term Artistic Planning
This week, you will learn the benefits of planning your programs further in advance and learn strategies for planning your organizations programs over a five-year time frame. The Cycle proposes that each organization has a rolling, 3-5 year programming plan that is bold, mission-driven, and occasionally surprising. Further, it asks that each organization’s programming is the best example of its kind in its environment that forms the basis for aggressive marketing, successful fundraising, and incremental growth in institutional capacity. Following the series of lectures, answers to frequently asked questions, and case studies, you will have the opportunity to apply the principles of long-term artistic planning to your organization using the planning activity provided.
Graded: Long-Term Artistic Planning
This week introduces institutional marketing, one of two marketing perspectives that is used to aggressively compete for audience attention and loyalty. Institutional marketing is the creative use of organizational assets to create spikes in awareness, energy, and enthusiasm around an organization, beginning with the presentation of transformational art itself and continuing through activities that heighten awareness about the people, process, and other institutional assets behind that art. Following the series of lectures, answers to frequently asked questions, and case studies, you will have the opportunity to apply the principles of institutional marketing to your organization using the planning activity provided.
Graded: Institutional Marketing
Programmatic marketing is the second marketing perspective that the Cycle describes. Programmatic marketing can be defined as the tactics used to identify and target potential audiences for each attraction, create awareness and demand, and drive a sale (of tickets, classes, services, or other experiences). Effective programmatic marketing extends beyond the transaction to contextualize each offering, ensure a high-quality experience, and lay the groundwork for a long-term relationship with the buyer. Following the series of lectures, answers to frequently asked questions, and case studies, you will have the opportunity to apply the principles of programmatic marketing to your organization using the planning activity provided.
Graded: Programmatic Marketing
Family and Boards
An organization’s family makes up the third aspect of the Cycle. The family is an energized, enthusiastic group of ticket-buyers, board members, donors, trustees, and volunteers that anchors an organization’s financial health through its commitment of time, talent, connections, and financial resources. The heart of the family consists of a joyous, engaged, and excited board of directors. If your organization has a board, you will have the opportunity to apply the principles to your organization’s board following the lectures and case studies.
Graded: The Family and Boards
Fundraising and Course Summary
Fundraising, the final aspect of the Cycle, consists of a strategy for sustainable growth that joins long-term artistic goals, and energized family, and logical options for investment to build organizational resources donor by donor, week by week, month by month, and year by year. Effective fundraising pairs each family member with a logical, financial action in support of the organization’s mission. Following the series of lectures, answers to frequently asked questions, and case studies, you will have the opportunity to apply the principles of fundraising to your organization by developing, or evaluating, your membership program, major donor program, or targeted campaign.
ENROLL IN COURSE