Strengthening Ties

Being kind, thoughtful and reliable….on-going dedication and engagement with your patrons…

These are a couple of the phrases that I pulled together from my first week with the Long Beach Opera.  This summer, I will be working in the development department building relationships with donating patrons, organizations and companies.  I will be looking for new ways to bridge the gap between marketing and development.  

One of the major points I pulled from this week was the ‘importance of relationship building.’  Now, I have already researched, written essays and experienced much of the importance of relationship building.  However, I did not quite grasp just how important it is in development.  BUT it makes sense.  If you have a stronger relationship with your patrons, they will be more willing to donate money.  My first week at my internship strengthened my idea of the importance of this relationship building in the arts.  These are a few tips that I picked up.

  • Art audiences are open to engaging the arts in new ways
  • Relationship building is ongoing and never ends
  • Relationship building has to be integrated into every aspect of your organization not just development
  • Staying true to your mission will lead you to become more successful 

Those are a couple of points that I picked up that can help any art organization. However, can’t we implement this concept of ‘relationship building’ in our own career development?  For instance, if you would like to be noticed in the job market over the other billions of other qualified applicants, engage companies and individuals in new ways.  Start building relationships with various individuals in your field.  Take the time to send them an email, talk to them on the phone or take them out for coffee.  Ask them about their careers and how they got to the top.  Build that relationship and when the coffee date is over….keep up on Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter or email.  Integrate this idea into all of your career development goals. 

Finally stay true to what you are good at.  Develop the skills that you have already grasped, discover new skills that will benefit you and be passionate about what you love.  I am passionate about the arts.  It is something that I love working with, and I hope to continue working with.  With every internship I take, I continue to develop my skills and stay true to what I want in a career.  I continue to build relationships with individuals in my field, and I constantly ask for their advice.  Relationship building.  It sounds simple, but it is well worth the extra work!

What have you done recently that would be considered relationship building?


Want some academic reading – check out this research essay by the Wallace Foundation



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