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Case Study: Citi Performing Arts Center

Case Study: Citi Performing Arts Center

My name is Sue Dahling Sullivan, and I’m the Chief of Staff/Chief Strategic Officer at the Citi Performing Arts Center in Boston, Massachusetts. I’m responsible for key strategic initiatives and have direct oversight for Marketing and Education Departments. Here at the Citi Performing Arts Center, we use SurveyMonkey as an affordable tool that guides us in our decision-making.

Citi Center is committed to providing diverse, high-quality, culturally relevant performing arts and arts education programming for audiences of all ages, ethnicities, and socioeconomic backgrounds.  As one of the nation’s leading nonprofit performing arts centers, we serve the greater Boston community as a cultural integrator, honoring all aspects of the performing arts, including opera, Broadway, classical and popular music.

Citi Center thrives on a nimble and entrepreneurial culture, where strategy is part of everyday operations and results-driven actions are reinforced by data analysis and clearly defined goals. SurveyMonkey’s ease of use and reasonable price, has critically leveraged our limited resources as a type of virtual “R & D department.” We use SurveyMonkey for:

  • Board Governance:  Biennial surveys to measure engagement
  • Donor Feedback:  Annual surveys for both individual and corporate members to measure satisfaction and value
  • Staff Satisfaction:  Periodic surveys to measure alignment and satisfaction
  • Community Access:  Performance surveys gather demographic, impact, and access data
  • Education Impact:  Teacher and Youth surveys measure results against our Theory of Change and Strategic Objective of “depth, breadth, and impact”

Over the past five years, Citi Performing Arts Center has fostered a culture of analysis and data-driven decision making.  Survey results help us attract a more diverse community, improve our education outreach program impact, create a more robust board governance structure, inspire staff development efforts, and target potential donors.

In November 2011, Citi Performing Arts Center was the first non-profit arts organization in the Balanced Scorecard (used extensively in the business sector) Hall of Fame’s history, an achievement that will also be recognized by Harvard Business Review. This award is recognized worldwide as the gold standard of strategic performance management, and relies on metrics to drive strategy and success.  SurveyMonkey has played a critical role in contributing to our goal of becoming a best practice nonprofit organization; despite limited resources and a small staff, we can gather data, analyze results, and implement strategies similar to that of a large company.

This fiscal year, several strategic initiatives are linked to our use of SurveyMonkey.  A few examples include:

  • Fundraising for technology so that we can have students in our education programs answer pre and post program impact questions in real time – whether they are in the classroom or in a community center.
  • Add a homepage website opinion survey widget to engage ticket buyers beyond just a transactional encounter.
  • Expand our survey efforts to include Boston Public School partners and our network of 300 community groups as an effort to measure “depth, breadth, and impact.”
  • Test more incentive-based outreach to our donors and ticket buyers.

SurveyMonkey has been and continues to play a critical role in Citi Performing Arts Center’s reputation as a best practice nonprofit arts organization.  It is easy, flexible, and affordable – which means anyone on our staff feels comfortable using it.

The vision and strategic plan outlined in 2006 for Citi Performing Arts Center was bold, innovative, and transformational.  Using SurveyMonkey, the Balanced Scorecard, and a Strategy Map as a framework to focus on strategic priorities, evaluate progress, align limited resources and multiple stakeholders, and drive breakthrough results, we are successfully delivering on our nonprofit mission while continuing to play a leadership role in Boston’s business and cultural community.

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