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2014 Patron Loyalty Study

2014 Patron Loyalty Study: Loyalty by the Numbers

The 2014 Patron Loyalty Study: Loyalty By the Numbers examines the financial transactions (including ticket sales, memberships and donations) of almost a million Greater Philadelphia households, using seven years of data from 17 major cultural attractions in the region. One of the key findings of the report is that, despite the sector’s focus on developing new audiences, the erosion of current audience loyalty represents one of the most significant financial risks for cultural groups. 

The study found that less than 3% of patrons generated over 62% of total patron revenue. However, spending by this small but powerful group of patrons declined 12% throughout the study, driven by a decline in primarily donor activity/revenue.

“While expanding audiences remains critical for the long term,” said Cultural Alliance Vice President John McInerney, “Retention and engagement of current audiences may be the most important strategy for an organization’s bottom line.”

At the same time revenue from the most loyal patrons declined, new audiences remained difficult to retain. Half of all patrons in the study were new every year, but rarely returned after just one visit—70% of new patrons never returned to any of the 17 groups in the year following their first visit.

However, encouragingly, the study also suggested that collaboration and the sharing of resources could be an effective strategy to engage top-level patrons. Over 90% of top-tier Advocates were active at between 2 and 7 organizations in the study, with most making multiple transactions. Sharing information about engaged patrons across the community could help groups target the patrons in their own database that were most likely to become more engaged. 

To download a PDF of the report, click here.



This white paper was produced by the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance with support from TRG Arts and was made possible by the William Penn Foundation.