More proof that December is critical to nonprofit fundraising

From, December 14, 2010

Here's a holiday cocktail-party fact for you: A third of charities' online donations this year are made in December.  Perhaps more remarkable: 22% of online gifts are made in the last two days of the year.

That's a key finding of a seven-year study by Network for Good of online-giving behavior released last week.  And what may be more important about this time of year:  Donors who start giving in December are worth more over time. Over three years, the total amount they give is 52% higher than people who start giving at other times of year.  The study suggests that charities should start building e-mail lists and relationships with supporters in the fall; change their Web sites to make donation collecting their focus during December; and send several reminder e-mails during the last week of the year, preferably in the early morning before most people get to work.  The study also found that the prime time for online giving occurs on December 31 between 10am and 6pm in the donor's time zone.  "The Online Giving Study: A Call to Reinvent Donor Relationships" can be found here.

>> FROM TC: 6% of all online gifts tracked in this study were for the arts.


Fine art to get its own "stock exchange"

From The Art Newspaper, December 14, 2010

As the notion of art as an asset gains momentum again, the first stock exchange for art -- on which clients can buy shares in works from galleries -- is due to launch in Paris "in the next few days" according to its website.  Art Exchange will offer collectors the chance jointly to own works of art with shares available from between €10 and €100. Participating galleries are currently selling works valued at €100,000 or more, although the exchange intends to lower this figure once the company is established. "Given that we are doing something new, we had to create confidence and credibility in the investor and this is done through having high-class art works," said Caroline Mat­thews at Art Exchange.  In return for a 5% commission, the exchange has the exclusive right to sell shares in a work over a period of three to six months, but if it does not sell 20% of shares within six months, the gallery recuperates what has already been sold and retains the work of art. If one collector amasses 80% of shares in a work, they have the option to buy it outright and remove the work from the exchange. Currently around half-a-dozen Parisian galleries are participating, but Matthews also wants to enter the US, UK and Chinese markets. The question remains why a gallery would use an intermediary exchange when it can directly sell works without difficulty. "This may sound Utopian but we're hoping to inspire people to become collectors," says Olivier Belot, the director of Yvon Lambert gallery. "We've opted to be involved only where the works are owned by the gallery, which is more respectful towards the artists. We're not involving them in any risk."


Start-up company scoops up unsold concert and sports tickets

From The Wall Street Journal, December 16, 2010

A start-up with several high-profile backers is planning to unveil a system Thursday that it says will help find buyers for some of the millions of concert and sports tickets that go unsold every year.  The system aims to sell the tickets in a way that doesn't undermine their face value, though some sports and entertainment executives are skeptical.  ScoreBig, which has raised $8.5 million from investors, has been quietly testing a system that aspires to do for concert and sports tickets what does for airline seats and hotel rooms: Allow customers to buy them at cut-rate prices, while avoiding the whiff of desperation that typically accompanies discounts.  Unsold seats are a major problem for the music and sports industries alike. "We have 35% to 50% of total industry capacity that goes unsold each year," said ScoreBig Chief Executive Adam Kanner, "and fans that can't afford" the events.  The company lists tickets on its website, showing the date, game or performer involved, and a general description of the seat's location, rather than a specific row or section. Instead of a price, it shows potential bidders the size of the discount other buyers have received on similar seats. Losing bidders are barred from bidding on the same event for 24 hours.  ScoreBig says the uncertainty makes the service more appealing to casual buyers than to hard-core fans. "This is a market need," said an executive whose company operates several high-profile venues, but is leery of having its name linked to the discounter for fear it will depress ticket sales.  "You can't just go out flashing discounts, because that hurts your brand," the executive said.


Commentary: Add an orchestral 'scoreboard' to better engage concert audiences

Posted by Michael Oneil Lam on his blog The Free Arrow, December 6, 2010

On the topic of increasing the relevance of classical orchestra music to modern audiences, I had an idea of my own: orchestral scoreboards.  My biggest gripe about modern orchestra concerts is that I lose my place so easily. The program notes talk about an "icy interlude in the high strings indicating a modulation to the subdominant;" but even if I understood what a subdominant was, the violins are nearly always playing and they always sound high to me so I have no idea when the particular segment referred to by the program notes actually occurs.  Nearly every organized sport that is broadcast on TV or experienced live provides a scoreboard. The purpose of a scoreboard is to keep the audience informed about the progress of the event.  Most [concert] halls already have the ability to display information to the audience, either on a projector screen or TV. For other venues, these mechanisms are not difficult to set up temporarily for a concert. To maintain the respectful atmosphere of a classical symphony concert, the information should be displayed in as unobtrusive manner as possible while maintaining its accessibility to the entire audience.  With increased engagement comes increased memorability; the audience is far more likely to recount the event later in conversation and to recommend the experience to their friends and family. This would help to reconnect music patrons (both young and old) to the world of symphony orchestra music and all of the talent it encompasses.

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