Leveraging Social Media: Becoming a Networked Arts Nonprofit

The Wallace Initiative is the major funder of this program aimed at increasing social media capacity for arts organizations, led by noted non-profit technology expert Beth Kanter. Watch this space as well as Beth’s Blog for more from the 30 organizations participating in the extended program as well as Beth and the other trainers.

On Monday, April 18, 2011 at Z Space at Theatre ArtaudTheatre Bay Area, the Wallace Foundation, Grants for the Arts, The San Francisco Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation and the Koret Foundation will host Leveraging Social Media: Becoming a Networked Arts Nonprofit, a comprehensive training, peer learning, and coaching program designed to help Bay Area nonprofit arts organizations create an effective social media strategy and put it into practice to get results. The program objectives include:

  • Understand the basics of designing an effective social media strategy including internal adoption issues, program evolution, and integration overall program and marketing objectives
  • Provide a method to learn about and improve their strategies through thoughtful experiments
  • Help participants understand how to increase audience engagement in program development and promotion
  • Provide a methodology for participants to measure results and analyze return on investment, and providing successful organizations with implementation grants to help make the planned investment a reality

In the spirit of the Wallace Foundation’s dedication to shared insights that arts organizations can use to build and sustain participation in their programs and activities, Leveraging Social Media brings best practices from the non-profit technology sector to the Bay Area arts community.

Leveraging Social Media: Becoming a Networked Arts Nonprofit is a continuation of a program that was launched in 2010 where the same team of funders came together to support Beth Kanter, providing two face-to-face workshops for 25 Bay Area arts organizations.  That program was originated under Marc Vogl’s leadership.  Working with a small group of arts, philanthropic and social media professionals in the fall of 2009, which then included Adam Hirschfelder, Beth Kanter, James G. Leventhal, Clay Lord and Adin Miller, Marc helped formulate this learning opportunity.

As funders committed to the health of the Bay Area’s arts ecosystem we believe strongly that arts organizations ought to have sophisticated conversations about the role social media can play in advancing their missions.  We think it’s vital for arts organizations who want to engage technology to broaden and deepen their relationships with audiences, artists, students, stakeholders and community members to learn from experts and share ideas with their peers — and that’s what the LSM workshops are all about.

Marc Vogl, Program Officer, Performing Arts Program, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

Kanter started her first peer-to-peer learning forum for local arts organizations in the spring of 2010 inspired by The Lab Theater, a program to try out contemporary or experimental works before you bring them to the main stage and part peer learning program.

To see more from that program, see how Theatre Bay Area live blogged the event on their old blog space here.

A few spots are left for the upcoming, one-day Master Class in Social Media conducted by Kanter (author of The Networked Nonprofit), and other recognized social media experts: Geoff Livingston and Devon Smith (author of the blog 24 Useable Hours).  You can register here.  The workshop will also be documented in various ways.  Check back here for updates and follow the tweets through the Wallace Foundation Cultural Participation Initiative on Twitter at @WALLArtsSF or using by searching the hashtag #participarts.


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In 2008, The San Francisco Foundation (TSFF) and Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund (GFTA) embarked on a four-year funding partnership to encourage systemic and sustainable structural change in the relationships of Bay Area arts organizations to their audiences, supported by the Wallace Foundation. Community offerings during the grant period (2008-2011) included seminars, workshops, large public convenings, implementation grants, development of a regional shared mailing list, and expansion of the SFArts.org website.


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