Helping funders and arts organizations realize their vision since 1996.


Engaging Audiences & Donors

What makes people connect with your art?

Do you know what influences audiences to attend your events?

What would inspire them to return or donate?


The key to true engagement is fostering two-way relationships with audience members that last a season, a decade,
or maybe even a lifetime. Arts organizations can use technology 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.

In Reading Between the Lines, in the Dance/USA Journal, Suzanne Callahan compares NEA data on audience participation to what we funded and learned through Engaging Dance Audiences. It tells an interesting and consistent story, one with implications for dance companies and arts organizations on how to engage dance audiences, going forward. Read the article.

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 managed Dance/USA’s $2.8 million pilot program that enabled the dance field to explore methods of engaging audiences, learn from peers, and share the learning nationally. As partners with Dance/USA, we encouraged the dance field to embrace the use of technology, better understand its relationships with audiences, and build capacity in areas that are critical to the field’s future. We led the redesign of the program, and were responsible for its administration and evaluation (2008-2018). Read about the final round 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.
  • 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 conduct 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 of 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 the 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.