Thursday 10 December 2009

tribal fundraising

I've been meaning to get this down from week now, since hearing Chris Brown speak at the Engage Your Community conference.

The abstract for Brown's presentation didn't really sum up what he spoke about. Brown is director of brand & PR firm Sputnik and co-author with Jill Caldwell of 8 Tribes: The Hidden Classes of New Zealand, a "values-based social anthropology of New Zealanders".

The 8 Tribes analysis breaks New Zealanders down into eight groupings, based on the values they espouse and lifestyle they lead:

The North Shore tribe
The Grey Lynn tribe
The Balclutha tribe
The Otara tribe
The Remuera tribe
The Raglan tribe
The Cuba Street tribe
The Papatoetoe tribe

You can do an online survey to establish your own tribe (in the interests of transparency, I'm half Grey Lynn and half Balclutha)

Now, before you start yelling at me about insensitive stereotypes and pseudo-social-sciences, it's not my book, and it's certainly not The Book.

What it is though is an interesting way for galleries to look at the audiences they wish to engage when they're on a fund-raising drive. This was the best bit of Brown's EYC presentation.

For example. The North Shore tribe are the "ambitious, hard-working, heavily-mortgaged inhabitants of the great suburban jungle". For them, "looking good and keeping up appearances" are really important. This is your audience for black tie celebrity auctions.

Or the Balclutha tribe: "the tribe of the Kiwi heartland, the provincial conservatives, who see themselves as a source of stability and commonsense, bearers of on-going connection with the land – solid, reliable and down to earth, but also deceptively smart". Will lend time and expertise (get them along for a working bee, or help with your accounts) but unlikely to throw cash your way.

Or the Grey Lynn tribe (I reckon this is your hard-core art patron grouping). They're the "highly educated intelligentsia who value ideas above material things and intellectualise every element of their lives." They "prefer to be “challenged” than entertained, seek out authentic experiences". Give them access to important intellectual figures (visiting curators/writers/critics) and artists (not that I'm saying that artists can't fall into the 'intellectual figures' category)

Of course this is just one way of looking at your engagement and fund-raising activities. But a little analysis never hurt anyone. Check out this blog post on the application of 8 Tribes thinking to green politics.

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