Connecting the Dots for Outreach and Arts Audience Development

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Guest Post by: Shoshana Fanizza
Founder, Audience Development Specialists
Twitter // Blog

Outreach planning is an important part of audience development. Outreach events and projects enable you to connect with your community and give you the opportunities to have conversations and start relationships with people that are not currently attending.

There are many ways you can outreach to your potential audience members. Creating special events, tabling at community events, and connecting with community organizations are a few examples.

However, one of the best ideas for outreach is to learn how to connect the dots. What do I mean by connecting the dots? It’s a matter of being aware of what is currently happening in our world and in your neighborhood, what is popular or becoming popular, and then formatting outreach programs that will connect in some way to these events that match your mission, goals and branding the best.

Let me give you a few examples:

    • Dance companies having So You Think You Can Dance parties to find new audiences in their area
    • Opera companies outreaching at the Met HD events
    • A music organization having a concert fundraiser for “Storm Relief”
    • Theatre organizations having Twitter chats during the Tonys.

Latching onto something current and bigger than you is a great way to connect the dots to find your best potential audiences. These audiences are already, in a sense, pre-screened for you. You simply have to be aware of what is happening around you, get creative with your outreach programming, and then go for it!


      1. What outreach events do you currently have in place?
      2. Which outreach events have been most lucrative for you?
      3. Have you tried to connect the dots with another major, popular event or current trend?
      4. Is there a current trend or current event you are aware of that would be a good fit for an outreach program? Example: Election, Storms, Memes, Twitter Trends…
      5. Are there any reality shows or television events that would make sense for a creative outreach party?
      6. Are there any big community issues or events that you could connect to?

About Shoshana Fanizza

Shoshana Fanizza has been in arts management for over 13 years and has worked with non-profits for over 18 years. She has been involved in the arts all her life and has a background in marketing, sales, public relations, and customer service. Shoshana is the founder of Audience Development Specialists. From 2005-2007 she was the Marketing and PR Director for the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra, where she began using audience development. Since then, Shoshana has been blessed to work with a variety of talented artists/organizations, providing audience development planning, workshops, and guidance.  She will be acting as a One-to-One Coach at the 2012 National Arts Marketing Project Conference.

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