People: Staff and Audiences
Governance and leadership
Over times of radical change you may have relied on your Board more – and/or realised you need to bring in new skills, either immediately or over a couple of years. Remember that funding organisations are always looking at your board and asking if it reflects what you’re saying about yourself. You may find yourself diversifying, and bringing in younger people with new skills.
If you have to reduce staffing levels
You may have already had to make difficult decisions about reducing staff, deciding which skills are most needed as well as adapting to the absence of volunteers and staff working from home. Ask yourself what worked well and what didn’t.
Remember too that being a little more open about how and why decisions are made, make them easier for people to accept.
As of the close of 2021, many are finding audiences are returning, but at much lower levels than pre-pandemic – for museums, some early estimates are around 40 – 50% of previous footfall, although some individual sites are bucking the trend. Some seaside resorts and areas of natural beauty received larger-than-usual influxes of visitors over the summer, giving a much-needed supply of optimism. The picture has been more mixed in cities, especially London, most affected by the lack of international visitors.
Whatever your situation, a crucial first step is to keep communicating with your audiences. This will be second nature to many, but some smaller organisations may find that they are making an audience comms plan for the first time.
Here are some questions to structure your thinking:
• Has the core of your audience returned? If not, explore the visitor sentiment resources below, along with more local knowledge to discover what is blocking return, and what will help overcome wariness about making a visit.
• Have you expanded to attract new audiences (whether online or those visiting attractions closer to home for the first time). How do you keep these new contacts?
• Are you thinking of teaming up with another organisation, to encourage a cross-over of visits and audiences? Are there situations where previous competitors should now become collaborators?
• List your stakeholders, whether they are patrons, members, funders and how they can help.
• Organisations that are membership run, including the Heritage Alliance, the Association of Independent Museums, Arts Marketing Association or Association for Cultural Enterprises. These and others will be asking questions about what you need and how they can support you.