pivot, adapt, change

Managing a dynamic arts membership program.

May 14, 2019

janet mark, vp of development
kauffman center for the performing artS

Janet Mark has spent the better of her career in nonprofit fundraising, across several sectors including social service, public education and arts and culture. Shortly after the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts opened in 2011, Janet joined the team as Senior Director of Development. She and her team launched their membership program a short while later and have been paving the way ever since to offer unique experiences to their members, all while ensuring civic pride stays top of mind for members and donors alike.

In this podcast episode, Janet shares insight into launching this brand-new initiative and offers advice to others who might be launching a new program or wondering how to take their current membership to the next level.


  • Stewardship, Stewardship, Stewardship. Find out what your donors’ value and make it a key component of your benefit structure. Hint: it’s often experiences they can’t get anywhere else! And don’t underestimate the value of a personal call.

  • Offer a varied experience. Membership can’t be a one-size-fits-all experience.

  • Messaging is key. Be clear about who you are and the impact you have in the community. The Kauffman Center has found positioning their value around civic pride has been more effective than offering more freebies and drink tickets at performances.

  • Focus on metrics. Closely monitor your results. Make tweaks as needed, relying on data to guide your decisions. Keep a keen eye focused on R.O.I. and be sure to factor staff time into the equation.

  • Offer surprise and delights: Advanced notice of performances or special announcements sent to members first go a long way. People love to feel like an insider.

  • Be nimble. Try new things, learn from them and make adjustments.

For more information about upcoming events & performances and how you can support the Kauffman Center, visit kauffmancenter.org.