Quick post – more random thoughts for audience development for the arts

I am off to Austin, TX for a family wedding.  I wanted to post a little something before I leave.  Today I have been thinking a variety of random thoughts due to interactions with people:

  • Are we getting caught up on the words?  I had someone ask about whether I thought “Community Engagement” was overused.  This phrase may be overused, but maybe we need to focus less on the words and more on the actual action of building relationships within our community.  After hearing some other typical phrases over and over, eye rolling can happen.  We need to remember that it is the actual action we take, the people we meet, the people we invite and form friendships with, that is what really matters!
  • Be careful of founder’s syndrome.  Some of us get caught up in a job being ours that when it comes to getting the help we need, sometimes we do not ask for help.  Instead, our thoughts are along the lines that no one else can do it better, so we better keep the job to ourselves.  There are two reasons why it is best to push through founder’s syndrome.  Number one, you will burn yourself out quickly.  Number two, you are missing out on an opportunity to let others get involved, lend their energy, and share a passion for your mission.  Start asking for help and let yourself work with the amazing people that come across your path.
  • Volunteers are special people, so treat them well.  There is an #artsmgtchat happening on Friday that I will have to miss.  The topic is Volunteerism in the Arts.  The best way to find and keep volunteers is to set up a volunteer management program.  Find out how people want to volunteer and contribute and then help them become successful.  Also, it is a good idea to have an incentive thank you program, and to be sure to communicate with them and get their feedback on their preferences for volunteering and benefits.  Happy volunteers are more likely to become loyal volunteers.
  • Big Bird and Binders – The debates have been a little comical, however, we can turn this dramady into action.  Now is the time to start heavily promoting the arts and helping to further the cause of equality for women by serving as good examples (the arts have a little ways to go on this matter).
  • WOM, a friend, an email…I surveyed one of my client’s events that happened last weekend. Again, the majority of people were there because they heard it from someone they knew or from a personal email we sent out.  Audience development works!
  • Time with people is time well spent.  I saw a picture on FB of a group of friends that stack their cell phones on the table so everyone enjoys the time they have with each other, and not with their cell phones.  When is the last time you gave someone your full attention?  Audience development is about connecting with people, and we certainly will not be able to connect fully if we can’t give another person our time.
  • Have a great rest of your week and a fantastic weekend.  I will see you on the flip-side!

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.

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Filed under Arts, arts advocacy, arts management, Audience Development, Volunteer Management

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