The Millennials’ Orchestra: Millennial Generation Audiences & Donors

Millennial Generation Audiences & Donors

Social media, the Internet, and mobile technology are considered to be key to connecting, interacting, and building relationships between Millennials and arts organizations.129 According to the findings from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, just under three-quarters of Millennials have a social network profile, as of 2010.130 The use of social media sites by Millennials increased by 68% between 2005 and 2010.131 Marc van Bree explains how the Internet has become an environment for “participation, conversation, community, and connectedness.”132 He describes the many benefits to arts organizations of using social media and suggests that word-of-mouth is social media’s greatest strength.133 Symphony orchestra audiences become involved and engaged, building a sense of community and pride.134

According to Forbes contributor Greg Petro, Millennial engagement and loyalty with a particular organization and their marketing efforts depend on having a good product and allowing Millennials to become part of the branding process, promoting “co-creation, self-expression, and originality.”135 The inbound marketing company known as HubSpot emphasizes the adoption of a more strategic, customer-centered approach as well,136 pointing to the importance of simplicity, clarity, accessibility, and relevance in online marketing content and design.137 In an article by Chad Bauman, “Who Are Your Best Customers? (And Why Many Don’t Know)?,”138 featured by the National Arts Marketing Project,139 Bauman suggests that arts organizations take a holistic approach to marketing and development in the arts and consider the use of TRG Arts’ Patron Loyalty Index (a loyalty benchmarking tool that identifies an organizations Tryers, Buyers, and Advocates).140

abt-pyramid-325wEugene Carr, founder and CEO of Patron Technology, along with Program Manager and social media expert, Michelle Paul, additionally encourage the use of 21st century technology and social media in the arts.141 Adopting a new framework for arts marketing and engaging arts patrons online can help break the physical and mental barriers forged between arts patrons and organizations, which these authors call “the 5th Wall.”142 Emphasis is placed on fostering a greater artist-audience connection.143

Fortunately, nonprofit organizations are increasingly integrating new technologies into their work and modes of communication.144 MarketingProfs’ Director of Publications Vahe Habeshin shares a statement from Sarah DiJulio, Principal at M+R Strategic Services, regarding the 2013 eNonprofit Benchmarks Study:145

‘Nonprofits are continuing to adapt to the needs of their supporters, connecting with more people in more ways than ever before.’ … ‘Just as their issues have evolved, nonprofits are increasingly embracing new and innovative technologies of email, social media, and mobile platforms to bring the message to the masses.’146


General trends in online charitable giving, as it applies to non-profits (2014)*

What do you think?

For the twenty- and thirty-somethings out there — How have you recently engaged with the symphony orchestras in your communities?  What would you like to see orchestras do more of, regarding communication and appealing to your interests?  I’d love to hear your thoughts, please share in the comments below!

This is a personal blog and “The Millennials’ Orchestra” series of blog posts are not meant to be opinion pieces, but rather founded in research, which I gathered and reported as part of my graduate capstone project from 2012-2013. Resources are listed below.

*Added as an update to original research.

129 Eugene Carr and Michelle Paul, Breaking the Fifth Wall: Rethinking Arts Marketing for the
21st Century, New York, NY: Patron Publishing, 2011, Arts Marketing.
130 Amanda Lenhart, Kristen Purcell, Aaron Smith, and Kathryn Zickuhr, “Social Media &
Young Adults,” In Millennials: A Portrait of Generation Next: Pew Research Center, 2010.
131 Ibid.
132 Marc van Bree, “Orchestras and New Media.”
133 Ibid.
134 Ibid.
135 Greg Petro, Forbes, “Millennial Engagement And Loyalty –Make Them Part Of The Process,” Last modified March 21, 2013, accessed April 30, 2013,
136 Pamela Vaughan, The Essential Step-by-Step Guide to Internet Marketing, HubSpot,
137 Ibid.
138 Chad M. Bauman, “Who Are Your Best Customers (and Why Many Don’t Know)?,” published electronically May 3, 2012,
139 Chad M. Bauman, “Who Are Your Best Customers (and Why Many Don’t Know)? |,” Who Are Your Best Customers (and Why Many Don’t Know)? |, May 3, 2012, accessed March 7, 2015,
140 Jill Robinson, “Too Many Tryers to Sustain the Arts,” in Analysis from TRG Arts, March 4, 2012, accessed March 7, 2015,
141 Eugene Carr and Michelle Paul, Breaking the Fifth Wall.
142 Ibid.
143 Ibid.
144 Vahe Habeshian (Director of Publications for MarketingProfs), “Nonprofit Benchmarks: Email, Social, Audience, Fundraising [Infographic],” MarketingProfs,
145 2013 eNonprofit Benchmarks Study (Infographic).
146 Ibid.


One thought on “The Millennials’ Orchestra: Millennial Generation Audiences & Donors

  1. Pingback: The Millennials’ Orchestra: Millennial Generation Audiences & Donors (cont.) | Mezzaphonically Speaking

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