I’d love to share data with you!

I have access to data, folks! In fact, I have access to a lot of it  – and I hope that it may help resolve critical challenges facing your organization and serve to inform its strategic direction.

I conduct keynotes, workshops, and boot camps under the umbrella of IMPACTS VSO. This is the visitor-serving arm of IMPACTS Research & Development. We utilize market research and behavioral economics to lend insight into what motivates behavior and how the public perceives cultural organizations such as museums, zoos, aquariums, botanic gardens, historic sites, and performing arts entities. I am grateful to conduct these workshops alongside my fantastic colleague, Jim Hekkers – the former Managing Director of the Monterey Bay Aquarium and a renowned leader in putting data into practice within cultural organizations.

Our data-informed, driving premise is that organizations achieve the greatest success in terms of both mission execution and financial solvency when consideration of the needs, preferences, motivations, and behaviors of their current and potential audiences is the cornerstone of their strategic decision-making.



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What kind of information is shared in keynotes, lectures, and workshops?

At over 108,000 respondents selected by data scientists to be representative of the US population, IMPACTS runs what is believed to be the largest ongoing survey of perceptions, behaviors, motivations, and expectations surrounding visitor-serving organizations in the United States. It’s called the National Awareness, Attitudes, and Usage Study. We can cut this data by demographics, psychographics, behaviors, opinions, and preferences in order to identify critical trends that help us uncover not only what potential visitors are doing (or not doing), but why. We also track metrics regarding 224 visitor-serving organizations in the US in order to stay on top of trends. Learn more about our data sources here. 

With this data, we can pull information aimed to help specific organizations get to the heart of understanding audiences. Here are some examples of the kind of information that we can provide:

  • Why past members to cultural organizations in Dallas decided not to renew their memberships
  • The top barriers to visitation for millennials to science museums
  • How much more likely people in Pittsburg are to visit an art museum than the average American
  • The rate at which zoos are losing visitors and the profile of those that they need to attract to replace them
  • Why people with interest in orchestras do not actually attend
  • Why annual donors in San Fransisco discontinue giving to cultural entities
  • The best thing about a visit to a botanic garden, according to families
  • The most effective ways to increase visitor satisfaction onsite for historic sites

And much, much more…


What makes this data source unique?

First, it’s large. Second, it’s designed to be representative of the US population, which allows us to be most accurate with the findings. Third – and most interestingly, perhaps – the data is collected using advanced technologies and much of it is informed by a process called lexical analysis.

We don’t ask, “Why didn’t you visit? (A) Travel distance, (B) Cost…” Instead, we use open-ended inquiries to populate the data. We don’t guess the barriers for respondents to choose from. Respondents tell us their primary barriers. Our technologies classify, weight, and put these responses into context. We also have a highly-skilled team of data technicians managing the study to constantly ensure that questions are designed to avoid bias, and that biases are corrected within the data. Read more.


Why is this kind of research important?

1) Market research informs strategy and uncovers opportunities, and is not limited to evaluating current practices.  Got an onsite data team? You likely collect audience research. Audience research is information collected on past and current visitors, and it is a subset of market research. Market research includes information about the market at large, and – critically – includes potential visitors and non-visitors alike. Audience research helps to adjust programs and keep current audiences satisfied. It can be particularly helpful in affirming decisions. Market research informs decisions by guiding strategy and providing an overview of how people – not only current audiences – perceive and are motivated by visitor-serving organizations.

2) Market research is more difficult to maintain than audience research, and is still rare within the cultural industry. Organizations tend to have at least some audience research and can often gather valuable information on their own.  These engagements are our way of sharing large scale market research in a way that can be personalized for organizations and more affordable than organizations sponsoring entire big data technologies on their own.

3) Market research dives into behavioral economics and uncovers not only what people do, but why they do it. Behavioral economics is a method of economic analysis that applies psychological insights into human behavior to explain economic decision-making. It studies the effects of psychological, cognitive, emotional, cultural, and social factors on the economic decisions of individuals and institutions – and this is where our market research shines. While audience research can uncover audience preferences, large-scale market research can get to the heart of what is informing those preferences so that organizations may adapt strategically.

An organization does not need to have audience research to find great value in market research (of which audience research is a subset) to inform strategic decision-making. Here’s more on audience research vs. market research. 


Why do trends matter?

The world  – and the perceptions, behaviors, and motivations of the people in it – are constantly changing. Trends differ from fads in that they have identifiable and explainable rises that are driven by audience needs, and they generally grow in strength and prevalence over time.


Why do you share data in these formats?

Our goal in sharing the data in these keynote, workshop, and boot camp formats is to make market research accessible to visitor-serving organizations at more affordable rates than may otherwise be possible. By tapping into the great deal of information that we are already monitoring, we are able to lend insight to specific organizations without their needing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to deploy their own large-scale market research tools. We speak with an organization to learn more about their challenges, and then deliver data related to their current and potential audiences to help resolve those challenges during the workshop.  This format allows us to engage longer-term and build upon information with entities that are interested in carrying out more than one workshop, but also delivers helpful information to inform both strategies and tactics for entities interested in only one share-out cut of data that impacts their organization.



Process and topics covered

Engagements with IMPACTS VSO are based upon an organization’s needs and areas of interest. Prior to any engagement, we will request a conversation to best understand a group’s goals, challenges, and priorities. We then bring trend data to help address these challenges and inform strategic decisions. Workshops usually focus on one or more of the topics below, and often include additional trend information based upon an organization’s challenges and opportunities.

  • The Visitor Engagement Cycle/ increasing attendance
    • Optimizing onsite satisfaction
    • Elevating offsite reputation
  • Understanding barriers to visitation
  • Fundraising and membership trends
  • Marketing trends
  • “The State of The Industry”
    • e. Data-informed challenges facing science museums (or art museums, or aquariums, etc.)
  • Engaging new diverse audiences
    • Diversity and inclusion
  • Attracting millennial visitors and supporters
  • Marketing and digital engagement
    • Onsite and offsite behaviors and expectations
  • Becoming a data-informed cultural organization
    • Creating a culture that understands and embraces data
  • Identifying some of the myths holding back visitor-serving entities
  • Underscoring lessons about visitor behavior from behavioral economics

We’re delighted to customize workshop topics based upon key questions, challenges, or areas of interest for your organization.


Format options and pricing

Engagements are based upon the following formats and fees. All engagements are carried out personally by myself (Colleen Dilenschneider) and/or Jim Hekkers. Fees outlined do not include travel expenses (coach airfare and hotel).

Keynote speaking engagements 

I (Colleen) enjoy conducting keynotes and carrying out speaking engagements tailored to a group’s area of interest. I’m also happy to bring data to present to communities outside of a formal conference. Fee: $3,500

Trends workshop (3-4 hours)

An interactive workshop regarding area(s) of interest with data cut specifically for key demographics or audiences (your region, likely visitor profile, and organization type), as helpful. Data may also be queried based on an organization’s interests or needs. Fee: $6,000

Trends boot camp (6-8 hours) 

An interactive workshop regarding area(s) of interest with data cut specifically for key demographics or audiences (your region, likely visitor profile, and organization type), as helpful. Data may also be queried based on an organization’s interests or needs. Like trend workshops, these engagements are designed to be strategic and also shed light on immediate action items, but with more time for a deeper dive, and more discussion, analysis, and consideration. Fee: $8,500

Board of Directors trends report (2-3 hours)

Members of an organization’s Board of Directors are amongst its most important stakeholders. In this trend presentation, we will work with an organization to present and discuss critical trend information related to strategic challenges or opportunities at a board meeting or board retreat. Fee: $6,000

Consulting projects

Jim and I take on limited consulting projects, but are delighted to discuss these on a case-by-case basis if we may be of service for a particular initiative. Fee: Determined on case-by-case basis

Something else? 

Webinars? Graduate class lectures? I love these kinds of engagements! Please shoot me a message. Fee: Determined on case-by-case basis


Can you provide data for us for free or at a reduced cost?

Oof. I hear you – and I cannot blame you for asking! I received over 160 formal requests for free or significantly reduced engagements in 2017 alone. I’m grateful to be trusted and sought out to work with the valuable associations, entities, conferences, and organizations that have requested my time. That said, I cannot take many of these and still… well, keep my job. And if I cannot do that, I won’t have access to the data that I’m able to share here to help organizations on an ongoing basis. That said, my goal is to elevate the sector and we’re on the same team! One popular solution for smaller organizations is to partner up with other entities in the area and I will bring information about likely visitors (and their preferences, behaviors, etc.) in the city or community, cut for the participating organization types.  While I do have the ability to conduct a few pro-bono engagements each year, my exceptions are very limited. Thank you for understanding!


Who carries out the workshops?

My IMPACTS VSO colleague, Jim Hekkers, and I carry out the workshops personally. At times, we may bring in others depending on the topic. I (Colleen) carry out keynotes and lectures independently. Read my short biography here.

Jim Hekkers specializes in leveraging his extensive experience in the world of visitor-serving organizations as a consultant with leadership at nonprofit organizations with a focus on strategic planning, management, and market research. He’s the former Managing Director at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and he has first-hand experience putting trend data into play as an executive at major institutions. Read Jim’s short biography here. 

IMPACTS VSO has presented for or led leadership discussions with entities including Naples Botanical Garden, Monterey Bay Aquarium, San Diego Zoo, Carnegie Science Center, Exploratorium, California Academy of Sciences, National Aquarium, Tennessee Aquarium, The Franklin Institute, Steinbeck Center, Stanford Live, and many others. We’ve have also led discussions and workshops for several associations, conferences, and graduate classes.


Common questions

Please tell me more about IMPACTS and how to engage the company?

IMPACTS is an acronym that stands for Intelligent Models to Predict Actionable Solutions. The company innovates predictive technologies to help clients identify, understand, influence, and engage their target audiences. IMPACTS provides the types of sophisticated intelligence that organizations require to remain relevant and vital in an increasingly competitive world by delivering actionable, real-time intelligence to clients in the government, policymaking, nonprofit, entertainment, and select enterprise sectors.

IMPACTS’s primary expertise is developing intelligence to predict discretionary consumer behaviors – the kind of information that helps organizations understand not only what their constituents are doing, but also why they are doing it.

Current and recent clients utilizing IMPACTS technologies include the European Union, Google, Facebook, Monterey Bay Aquarium, The Re-Election Campaign of President Barack Obama, Stanford University, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), U.S. Department of State, Warner Brothers Entertainment, and the Wildlife Conservation Society.

The American Association of Museums, American Institute of Architects, Urban Land Institute, U.S. Green Building Council, and Harvard Business School have recognized projects developed in partnership with IMPACTS for achievements in architecture, operational excellence, and financial entrepreneurship.

IMPACTS takes on select clients in the visitor-serving realm and does not respond to RFPs. Carrying out a trends workshop or boot camp is the best way to assess fit (on both of our ends) and we are happy to take the conversation from there if we may be a good match.


Will you please do an in-depth survey on our current members (for instance)?

Nope. There are several firms and resources that can help with audience research. We focus on market research, of which audience research is a subset. Instead, we can strategically inform the process and help your organization use that information most meaningfully. We can share:

  • An overview of how market perceptions and behaviors surrounding membership are changing
  • Information on what is most important to members. (It may not be something that your organization is yet offering!)
  • Top member dissatisfiers within the industry
  • How people who profile as likely members in your region differ from the US composite market in their perceptions and preferences
  • Answers to several key questions regarding target membership demographics

(This is just an example! The data extends far beyond membership.)


Interested? Great!

Want to learn more and get a data share-out on the calendar? Great! I’m pumped!

We are eager to learn more about your needs and share data that uncovers the critical trends impacting your organization!  Please select “speaking or workshop interest” in the form below and let us know what type of engagement would be most helpful to you. We look forward to getting back to you shortly.