“Hope for the best but prepare for the worst” isn’t just a catchy phrase; it’s the reality of how performing arts organizations must survive in today’s shifting economic landscape. And now more than ever, as we stare down a looming recession, it’s crucial that performing arts organizations make the organizational improvements today that will help them weather the storm tomorrow.
Invest in Organizational and Process Improvements
The economy goes through cycles of growth and contraction, and financial investors respond by taking a hard look at their portfolios or investing in value stocks. The same concepts apply to any performing arts organization. When the economy slows and the nonprofit cycle is down, people spend less on discretionary items like tickets to performances or donations to arts organizations. In fact, during the pandemic in 2020, performing arts presenters and performing arts companies joined oil drilling and air transportation companies as the hardest hit and steepest-declining areas of the U.S. economy.
It makes sense, then, for performing arts organizations to invest in organizational streamlining, efficiencies and improvements that will not only save money in the short term but also lay the groundwork for smarter growth in the long term. One of the areas that can see immediate improvement and cost savings is the use of digital program books.
Digital Program Books: Lean and Cost-Efficient
By opting to deliver a full season of digital program books, or even a mix of light printed program books offset with a digital program book version, your organization can forge a new marketing and promotion path that is much leaner and more cost-efficient than the old model of printing a full season of paper program books. And the money saved will not only help you get ahead of budget cuts, but can even be directed towards other organizational improvements like audience research, staff training, and software upgrades.
When the economy eventually swings back around, your organization will continue to reap the benefits of the more streamlined, low-cost digital program book publishing model. And your team will be stronger, wiser, and ready to thrive in the face of any economic challenge.