How to live an audience development for the arts life…

Happy Friday to all!  Today I have been thinking about the philosophy behind audience development, which is living a life of the 4 C’s: connecting with people, being a part of your community, collaborating with others, and showing you care about people.

You never know where people are going to be in the future.  The waiter that messed up accidentally while serving your order, the one that you yelled at in a fire alarm fashion, could be your boss in the future.  The driver that you curse at on the road could be a potential donor that you meet later down the road.  The customer that you snub during a busy time since they are not one of the top patrons (your rationale) could win the lottery next week.  Do you want to build good relationships or bad relationships?

Again, you never know where people are going to be in the future.  Circumstances change.  This means that applying the Golden Rule and being kind to all people could benefit you further down the line.  Also, if you do not act kindly, you are leaving a bad taste in someone’s mind which could haunt you later on. Let me give you another example.

Some of you may know that I am applying for a PT job to attempt to stay afloat.  I had applied for 3 promising jobs in the past month.  All three of these organizations are non-profits in our area.  Only one of these jobs has notified me about their final decision.  The one that notified me, I did not personally interview for the position.  In her email, she mentioned that 50 people had applied for the position.  She took the time to send a message to the other 49 people they did not select.  I actually emailed her a thank you since this is a rare thing to do these days.  I appreciated her taking the time to treat me like a fellow human that took time out of my life to apply for the position.  You bet that I will continue to rave about this non-profit organization!

The other 2 organizations, the ones I actually interviewed in person, I am still waiting for a reply, even after I had emailed them a thank you and a follow up email asking for an update on the positions.  I do feel this is a bad practice in terms of business relations and future audience development.  I may not have such a great opinion after being snubbed in this fashion.  I don’t think any non-profit can afford to create bad relations, then why are they doing so in this case?

Yes, perhaps I am feeling a little personal about this situation, but there is a grain of salt behind the story.  You see, I could have been a supporter to these organizations, regardless of whether or not I landed the job, but due to being ignored and unappreciated, I’m not feeling supportive feelings.

What you do today, how you care and support others in your life has an impact.  If you ignore, snub, or make people feel bad, that might be what you receive back in the future.  You could be supporting or hurting a future audience member, a donor or sponsor, or a volunteer or potential board member.  The choice is yours.

On the plus side, I received a hand written thank you note from an organization I volunteer and fundraise for.  They took the time to care and be supportive to me by thanking me personally.  Now that is how to live an audience development for the arts life!

What do you think?

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists


“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

Although we are not a non-profit, if you would like to support ADS to continue our work, you can donate here.

My eBook

New eBook!  The How of  Audience Development for the Arts: Learn the Basics, Create Your Plan


Filed under Arts, arts management, Audience Development

2 responses to “How to live an audience development for the arts life…

  1. I wish that people i worked for would be that considerate, This is why we have poor relations in the workplace and one of the reasons I hated being at my last job. They don’t understand that the workplace relationship should be improved that way and can only get better results.

    • Thanks for stopping by, Chris. I hope more people will start improving workplace relationships. You are so right to point this out. Everyone is our potential audience and supporter!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s