By Mike Scutari, Inside Philanthropy
Imagine if some Google engineer designed an algorithm that would increase online ad clicks by 450 percent. Then imagine if Google voluntarily gave the algorithm to Facebook, Yahoo, Twitter, and Microsoft, saying, "Hey guys, check this out. You can thank us later."
Needless to say, Google's shareholders wouldn't be too happy.
Voluntarily sharing the "secret sauce" is frowned upon in the private sector, but thankfully not so much in the arts philanthropy world. Take recent news from the Wallace Foundation. The foundation realizes that arts nonprofits face a perennial struggle of boosting attendees while simultaneously expanding their audience bases. It realizes that this task is only getting more difficult as social media, mobile computing, Netflix, and a host of other entertainment options vie for audience attention.
All of which helps explain why the foundation is laying out $40 million over six years to find the best strategies for audience engagement. And when it finds them, it's going to spread them around. Wallace's money will help 24 selected nonprofit organizations design projects to build audiences through a variety of ways, including new programs as well as nontraditional venues.
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