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AMA’s Birthday Benchmarking

#25AMA’s Birthday Benchmarking

The AMA helps people reach and engage more and more diverse audiences with arts, culture and heritage. It’s impossible to know if you’re succeeding in that aim if you don’t measure and track progress. You need to know what’s working so you can do more of it, and what’s not, so you can take those learnings forward.

Over the 25 years that the AMA has been around, the arts and cultural sector has seen many shifts in funding, focus and emphasis. The latest iteration of ‘quality metrics’ from Arts Council England state their intent to: “support benchmarking, enabling an organisation to compare itself against a relevant cohort of organisations”.

Now, while it is useful for organisations to compare performance — so that they can get an idea of what is realistic to aim for, what should be celebrated and what could be worked on — there is no place for individuals within those organisations to benchmark aspects of their own work.

At the AMA, our members often ask questions such as: “what percentage of my total budget should I put into marketing?” or “what’s a good open rate for email campaigns announcing new shows/exhibitions?”. Our members tell us they really value the opportunities to connect and compare best practice with each other, and without context, it can be hard to tell whether the results you are getting are good, bad or indifferent. The drive to continuously improve and develop, which the AMA and its members embraces, relies on being able to recognise achievement.

With that in mind, we’re launching a benchmarking survey which is designed to answer some of those questions we most typically get asked.

The intention is that we will track the benchmarks over time to see what trends and learning can be identified. This will help members, working in roles with responsibility for audience touchpoints, to shape their strategies and tactics as appropriate.

The benchmarks are not intended to be prescriptive, but a useful source of evidence to help support business cases, to recognise achievement, and take success forward over coming years.

We’re launching an initial benchmarking survey among our members in early January 2019, following a consultation with members to help shape the initial focus and format. Depending on how this is received, we may well run follow-up surveys looking at additional aspects of the roles represented by our membership.

We’re encouraging all members to take part: the survey doesn’t require that all questions are answered by all respondents, and everyone’s input is important. Responses can be anonymous, and the more responses we get, the more reliable and useful the end report will be.

This benchmarking exercise is for our members, and informed by our members — so please make sure you take the opportunity to both have your say in what we benchmark, and in completing the relevant sections of the survey.

The final report of the AMA’s first benchmarking member survey was published in June 2019 and includes email open rates and social media benchmarks — for more information go to AMA research findings published.

The AMA’s new member resource — A beginner’s guide to Benchmarking — is now available to download in the Members’ Area within Monitoring and Evaluation. You will need to be  logged in to access.

The final report of the AMA’s first benchmarking member survey was published in June 2019 — for more information go to AMA research findings published.