Basic database needs

by Jini Stolk

As we said in our final report on Creative Trust’s Audiences Project, good databases and box office systems are the essential base for effective audience relationships and communications but are, in their own way, the most difficult to put in place and maintain. Altogether, Creative Trust helped more than 30 companies move to more appropriate and advanced data management systems, but the challenges of maintaining complete and accurate data, and then analyzing it and using it effectively, are still significant barriers for many small and mid-size organizations.

Neighbourhood Arts Network (the wonderful support, professional development and communications organization created by the Toronto Arts Foundation with Art Starts) recently researched its own members’ data base needs and discovered that the observations above still hold true. Their results, summarized in the graph below, will be used by Young Associates and Creative Trust to develop a series of seminars for small and culturally diverse companies throughout the GTA and perhaps beyond.

We have learned from our arts service organization colleagues in the U.S. that they have responded to similar challenges by moving to a Big List system, where each organization can be assisted to make the best use of their own data and sophisticated analysis can be centralized. This would, of course, be difficult under Canada’s privacy legislation; here data collection and analysis will remain an area requiring continuing group learning and targeted assistance.

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