The sgENGAGE Podcast Episode 141: Engaging & Retaining New Supporters with a Long-Haul Approach

Traditionally, arts and cultural organizations start fundraising after someone buys their first ticket. But is that the best approach for long-term success? What if organizations waited and took a more methodical approach?

In today’s episode, Aubrey Bergauer, Executive Director of the Center for Innovative Leadership and VP of Strategic Communications at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, joins the podcast to talk about developing a long-haul approach to fundraising, being customer-obsessed, and attracting a more diverse audience. You’ll also hear a bonus segment with Aubrey, added after the main interview was originally recorded, in which she discusses how organizations can most effectively operate right now during the COVID-19 crisis.

Topics Discussed in This Episode:

  • How the San Francisco Conservatory of Music is responding in the face of COVID-19
  • How arts and cultural organizations can effectively communicate with their supporters during these uncertain times
  • Advice for arts and cultural organizations attempting to adapt their operations in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • The success Aubrey has seen with the long-haul fundraising model she developed for fundraising and patron retention
  • Why organizations should wait to solicit donations
  • How Aubrey is bringing the long-haul model to higher education
  • Examples of the wrong types of metrics organizations often focus on
  • The importance of being customer-obsessed
  • Shaping your organization’s website for first-time visitors instead of your board of directors or long-term donors
  • Making programming more attractive and accessible to a younger audience
  • Attracting more diverse audiences
  • How to achieve a more diverse staff

Listen Now:


Follow Aubrey Berguaer on Twitter: @AubreyBergauer
Resources to Guide Arts and Cultural Organizations During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Report: Guide to Evaluating your Arts & Cultural Organization’s Online Performance


“I think what’s so important for arts organizations is to really be forward-looking.”

“It’s OK to be human. But we must also be positive, and we must also be looking into the future.”

“The key is to talk to users but to also respond, not justify what we’ve been doing.”