These guidelines from the Heritage Lottery Fund explain what audience development is, why it is important to them, and why arts and cultural organisations and the people marketing and fundraising for them should take full account of the HLF’s priorities on audience development. The Guidelines then cover topics such as who takes part and who doesn’t, barriers to participation, factors driving participation, and gives a 5-step process to help museums, heritage sites and cultural organisations build audience development into what they do.
Consult and involve people
Consultation with your local community and stakeholders is crucial to audience development, and is especially important when seeking to engage new audiences. Asking people’s views and taking them seriously helps you to start your project with the right plans to attract your target groups.
• a questionnaire asking what would interest people, e.g. at a large local event or in a public space;
• consulting local people and organisations about your plans through workshops, focus groups or meetings e.g. of a community forum or residents association; or
• opportunities for target audiences to test ideas for new interpretation or a new website.
It can be even more effective to involve communities in a more in-depth and active way. Consider whether you can involve people from your target audience in making decisions and delivering activities. This is what HLF calls community participation and will also help you to meet our participation aim.