This past week, I spent time at the Opera Europa fall conference. This year’s conference was held in two European cities, Strasbourg, France and Karlsruhe, Germany. “Building Bridges” was the theme of the conference and there was a lot of discussion about the role of opera, its relevance and value in our communities and even how the business model of opera is or should be changing. This was a great opportunity to explore how opera is being produced all across western Europe and even as far away as China.
I was invited to give a presentation on the first day of the conference to the Opera Europa Fundraising Network. This lively groups of European colleagues is being challenged in new ways when it comes to raising money for their organizations, especially in the area of individual fundraising.
When we think about building bridges with our audience we often times get so caught up in the act of selling that first ticket that we miss out on the greater opportunity to engage with the patron on a deeper level. In my talk, I put forth the idea of creating a patron journey. A patron journey is a series of narrative touch points that connect the patron to organization resulting in increased engagement. In this model the organization acts a guide for the patron who is really the hero of the journey. This is a pretty large shift in priority from the concept of the organization being the hero and simply attending a performance became the end of the story. Click on the video to view the presentation. It is about 12 minutes in length.