Engaging Audiences & Donors

What makes your art connect with people?
Do you know why audiences attend your events?
What would inspire them return and even donate?

Audiences no longer attend passively, subscribe yearly, or donate magically. The key to true engagement is fostering two-way relationships that last a season, a decade, or maybe even a lifetime. Arts organizations can use technology aids cultivation to track information and serve audiences online, but there is no substitute for personal interaction. Both strategies require time, resources, and above all, planning and follow through.

Our Approach

We provide clients the understanding, tools, and strategies to intentionally build relationships with their audiences and donors. Being on the front end of national trends in the areas of audience engagement; arts in civic engagement and assessment; and fundraising leaves clients with up-to-date solutions.

Our Results

  • Engaging Dance Audiences.
    We manage Dance/USA's $2.8 million pilot program that enables the dance field to explore methods of engaging audiences, learn from peers, and share the learning nationally. As partners with Dance/USA, we are encouraging the dance field to embrace the use technology, better understand its relationships with audiences, and build capacity in areas that are critical to the field's future. We play a leading role in the design of the program, and are responsible for its administration and evaluation (2008-present). Read about Round Four of EDA.
  • Authored numerous articles about trends in audience engagement, including: Reading between the Lines: What NEA Data Tells Us About Audience Engagement; and Reforming the Rules of Engagement, Part 1 and Part 2 (appearing in two sections, here and here).
  • Arts and Civic Engagement.
    Through the Arts and Civic Engagement Initiative of Americans for the Arts Animating Democracy, we investigated the ways arts organizations engage audiences to become more politically and civically engaged and how to measure this impact. We helped develop Impact Arts, a website of online tools on outcomes and indicators as part of an evaluation framework for arts-based civic engagement practices in the US.
  • Learning About Audience Response.
    We were commissioned by Americans for the Arts to evaluate and write a field study on the artist Rha Goddess and the Hip Hop Mental Health Project, to explore methods of evaluating audience response to Low, an emotionally charged performance. This field study measures changes in attitude toward mental health as a result the performance. (2009).
  • Innovative Evaluation Tools.
    We conducted evaluation on behalf of the Covenant Foundation of Liz Lerman Dance Exchange's Small Dances About Big Ideas, a theatrical work that takes a challenging look at the capacity of the law to address genocide. The evaluation explored he reactions of Jewish educators, classroom teachers, and general audiences in three cities to Small Dances - sometimes to tears, sometimes to greater insight and sometimes to action - through unique survey instruments.
  • Marketing to Presenters.
    We conducted research to expand the Artist Booking Service of Joe's Movement Emporium, an education and presenting organization. Through interviews and online research, developing a marketing plan and new website content to increase bookings for almost 30 affiliated artists, thereby increasing both earned revenue streams and Joe's reach into the community.

Plan well. Then, Fund It.
Learn how cultivating relationships can lead to success in fundraising.