CHAPTER 3Growing Audiences + Donors: Tools + Tactics

Performing artists and organizations exist and succeed because they have created art that connects with their audiences and they have financial strategies that keep the business alive and thriving. Financial strategies should evolve from an organization's mission and programs offered. Some programs easily translate to selling tickets, merchandise, and concessions (earned income), whereas others are funded through donations (contributed income).

There are five core components to success in the performing arts business:

  • Defining the mission, vision, and values of your enterprise.
  • Understanding your position in your marketplace. For example, are you the fifth Shakespeare Theatre in a 20‐mile radius or the first?
  • Understanding your audience's interests, wants, and needs. For example, they may be interested, but need show times that start early in the evening.
  • Creating products or experiences of value to your audience with pricing and packaging at levels at the intersection of your mission and your audience needs. For example, if you want to share music with everyone, you might offer some free experiences that are funded through sponsorships or donations.
  • Communicating these products or experiences to your audiences in the places and ways they want to hear about them.

Organizations that clearly understand themselves, their community, and their audience have greater success when establishing strategic plans and goals. These strategies ...

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