It’s not all about the attendance numbers! Over and over we hear from Culture Days activity organizers that the quality of engagement with the public is what makes participating a worthwhile experience. Here are some important measures of success to keep in mind when planning and subsequently evaluating your Culture Days activities. When evaluating your activity, consider how many of these “qualitative” measures you achieved:
Did you reach new potential clients and customers?
Be sure to have a sign-in sheet, guest register, comment card, or some other way (raffle?) to collect participants contact information so you can inform them of your future activities. Advertise your paid services so people know what you have to offer on the 362 days that aren’t Culture Days. If you are a visual or craft artist, you can also have artwork for sale visible and clearly priced for anyone wishing to purchase a piece before or after participating in your activity. Similarly musicians can have CD for sale.
Did you promote your upcoming activities?
Do you have a performance, exhibition, or workshop coming up? Have promotional materials available and accessible. Display registration forms for any upcoming classes or workshops, and have tickets for any upcoming performances on hand.
Did you forge some new year-round relationships?
Consider collaborating with other artists or arts and cultural organizations or institutions. You might build some partnerships that open the door for future work. Culture Days is a great time to reach out to local businesses, government representatives, and media – it’s all about public engagement and letting people know who you are and what you do.
Did you raise your profile?
Interactive arts and cultural activities are attractive to the media. Approach them to cover your Culture Days activity.
Did you build support?
Do you need volunteers? Are you an organization with charitable status that relies on public support through donations? Are you looking for a board member? Culture Days is a great chance to bring people into your organization, company, or festival and show them how they can be involved and how their support can help you do your work!
Did you connect with community leaders?
Invite your city/town councilor, mayor, MPP, MP or other community leaders and influencers to attend your activity. Introduce yourself and familiarizing these community leaders with your work, which will help to build a community network of arts and culture supporters and advocates at many levels of government.
Submitted by Aubrey Reeves and Catherine McLeod of Culture Days Ontario.