Audience development – Collaboration for the arts!

Collaboration for the arts!

I have been seeing more interesting collaborations in our arts world, so I thought I would do a quick top 10 list for ways to collaborate in the arts!

  1. Programming collaborations – pretty self explanatory, but I challenge you to come up with new mixtures.
  2. Marketing collaborations – this could mean trading lists, cross promoting using emails or coupons, or sharing ad space to save money.
  3. Collaborating with a social cause – you can use a special event or concert to donate a portion back to a social cause – be sure to figure out which cause rings true for your audience and which organizations are energetic enough to help provide you with an audience.
  4. Office space collaboration – with office space getting pricier, join up with another organization to share the costs of a nice space!
  5. Community box office – more and more smaller arts organizations are going this route – one concern though – make sure that each organization is well cared for customer service wise and that audience information for each organization is captured for follow up – some community box offices don’t have time to collect, and this could make a big difference in obtaining or not obtaining repeat patronage.
  6. Collaborating with corporations – similar to sponsorship, except perhaps you would be providing entertainment or art for their corporation in return for their support – turn your sponsorships into partnerships!
  7. Community Outreach collaborations – two of my favorites are collaborating with the local libraries and the local farmers’ markets – both provide great spaces and opportunities to reach the public, and they help promote and advertise for your special outreach event!
  8. Business collaborations – cross promotions with businesses that make sense for your audience – make sure this is in compliance with non-profit laws before proceeding.
  9. Restaurant and Transportation collaborations – find  local transportation and restaurants willing to collaborate on giving your patrons a deal off of their meal if they can show their tickets or season subscription card.
  10. Gala collaborations – yes, I saw this in an article today.  Two organizations combined their galas since they knew that they shared an audience.  The patrons were happy that they didn’t have to go to two separate events and the organizations saved costs while still obtaining funds equal to amounts that they usually receive.

As you can see, collaborating is smart on so many levels.  Collaboration will help you build all of your 4 C’s while at the same time saving you some C notes!

Until next time, may your audiences be happy and loyal ones, and if they are not, feel free to contact me!


Shoshana Fanizza is the founder of Audience Development Specialists. Her mission is to introduce artists and arts organizations to their existing and potential audiences and to help them to form more rewarding relationships.

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Filed under arts management, arts marketing, Audience Development

2 responses to “Audience development – Collaboration for the arts!

  1. I love your post and suggestions. However, I think there has to be a way where artists and arts organizations must look at improving a situation not just for their own stuff, but globally, e.g. What I do will help me and also my collaborators equally.
    I have plans to start a small group to look at better ways of collaborating. If I do, would you like to join it?

    • Hi Lionel. I completely agree that collaborations need to be a win-win situation, and that collaborations can be global solutions. I was watching CBS Sunday Morning, and they had a segment about the underwater sculpture museum in Cancun, Mexico. The reason this museum was put into place was to establish a new diving experience that would downplay the dives to to the coral reef area. The coral reef area needs to be protected, and the visits to the reefs are harmful.

      The new underwater sculpture museum allows the tourist businesses to continue thriving and the visits to the reefs are down 40%, which is very helpful.

      Here is the link to the segment:

      Art collaborations can be used for global solutions! Thank you for your comment, Lionel, and yes, keep me in the loop to inform me about your group.

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