A newsletter on progress-space research and audience development for cultural leaders. One reader calls it, "sometimes funny"

(Reading time: 1m, 44s)

“Then What?” holds closed-door meetings with her colleagues “So What?” and “Why?” each week.

Staff are rarely invited to these meetings.

Listen in, as they discuss the registration process for an upcoming fundraiser.

So What: “Looks like some more people registered through the website this morning.”

Why: “Awesome! Did they say why?”

So What: “How would we know that?”

Then What: “Well, what happens after they register?”

So What: “They come to the event. Duh.”

Then What: “No, no — before that. What happens in the moment after they register?”

So What: “I don’t know. Does it matter?”

Why: “Everything matters. How can we effectively communicate with people if we don’t understand their motivations?”

So What: “We know why they buy — they buy because we’re us. They love us and the work we do.”

Why: “Are we sure about that?”

Then What: “This is what I’ve been trying to say all along. Why aren’t we asking people for more information after they’ve completed a transaction? It’s the perfect time to learn more about what’s going on inside their heads.”

So What: “Even if we did, what we do with that information? I mean, so what if they fill out some form and tell us why?”

Then What: “Well, we could look for patterns and use what we learn to write more compelling copy on the event page.”

So What: “Yeah, but how much can we really learn from a single-question survey?”

Why: “He has a point.”

Then What: “What if, once someone submits the survey, we asked them if they’d be willing to participate in a short interview? Just a few interviews could give us a ton of material to work with for future campaigns.”

So What: “Hmm. We could make that a regular part of our process — Using certain forms to capture little voice-of-the-visitor snippets and then inviting people to short interviews with staff.”

Then What: “Makes sense to me. Right after they submit the initial form, we should also reassure people of next steps. If they have questions they can email Sarah, and check their inbox for a confirmation… Hey, is this form even hooked up to our mailing list to capture opt-ins?”


Then What: “Are you kidding me?!”

If you’re looking for a different perspective, consider inviting “Then What?”, “So What”, and “Why?” to every one of your meetings today.

Thanks for reading,



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