What’s So Special About Special Events Attendees?


By: Sarah Marczynski

Special Events infographic

Compared to the other ArtsHackers pros, I’m a newbie to this field.  But, in my short time, I realize that special events are… “special”.  I love attending a gala party, running in the charity 5k, purchasing something in that silent auction.  But running that gala party, charity 5k or silent auction is a different story.  Silent auctions in particular kind of suck the soul out of my body.

My boss likes to say “We are in the special events business; all our concerts are special events! So why do we have to put on another event?” And inevitably, the answer she comes to and we come to is that it brings a different set of people into the door.

In a post on special events and donors from 5/4/2014, Claire Axelrad, a CFRE independent consultant and author of the blog Clairification, seems to thinks some of the same things about special events, but since we still put on the fancy gala or Symphony fun run, then we should figure out how to turn those attendees into ticket buyers, donors, subscribers, and advocates.

I like what she says about following up with attendees after the event. If it was a good party, I want to relive it; send me an email on Monday with the Instagram pics or a tally of the money raised and include a link to your website.

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Sarah Marczynski
Sarah joined the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera in 2010 working with the Marketing and Development staffs and quickly became interested in community engagement and education. She holds a Master’s of Public Administration focusing in Nonprofit Arts Management from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga where her capstone and other work under Dr. Christopher Horne examined attendance patterns in high-art cultural institutions and network relationships between local arts agencies and cultural partners. She also holds a Bachelor’s of Vocal Music Education from UTC, where she studied under Dr. Kevin Ford and Ron Ulen. Sarah has been active in the Chattanooga arts community, serving as the founding chair of the Chattanooga Young Artistic Network (CYAN), graduating from the Holmberg Arts Leadership Institute, and working with the Chattanooga Boys Choir, the Choral Arts Society, the Hunter Museum of American Art, the Chattanooga Bach Choir. Outside of the arts world, Sarah pretends to be an excellent cook (but she's broken 2 ovens), reads Jane Austen novels, and watches way too much House of Cards.
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