Marketing and Development Terminology
comments powered by Disqus

TRG Blog: Analysis from TRG Arts

Marketing and Development Terminology

Doug Borwick | October 14, 2015 7:35 AM

This post by Doug Borwick is part of a series of collaborations and is cross-posted to his blog Engaging Matters on Arts Journal.

Photo: Some rights reserved by greeblie

This is part of a series of blog posts in conjunction with TRG Arts on the interrelationships among marketing, development, fundraising, and community engagement. The point of the series is that they are all rooted in relationship building and maintenance.

Today we’re talking about definitions. Oh great! But if all of these things are related, we’ve got to be able to understand how they are similar and how they differ. That’s what definitions are for. Plus, what can you expect from someone who spent three decades as a college professor? And that is actually a critical point.

I am not nor have I ever been an on-the-ground professional in marketing or fundraising. Being aware of that, my level of humility in talking about these subjects is very high. What I do have experience in is analyzing words, differentiating among related concepts, and crafting definitions that clarify them. That requires theoretical thinking time–a luxury not available to the people doing the “real work” in the trenches.

In the nonprofit world, marketing and development have been viewed as two different disciplines. Marketing has focused on messages to external publics and sales. Development has focused on messages to external publics and contributed income–grants and donations. [Some writers use the phrase “unearned income” for this category. Knowing what it takes to get those funds, plus the reasons for the contributions, that has always made me craz(y) . . . (ier).]

Do you see what I just did? It’s an old professor thing to set up a question in the listener’s mind. “So, if they both begin with ‘messages to external publics,’ aren’t they pretty closely related?” Bingo. And of course that’s why some organizations combine marketing and development.

Of all the terms under consideration here, development may be the most ambiguous. Exactly what is being developed? The answer is contributed income. However, since there are other things that can be developed (e.g., relationships, collaborative partnerships, earned income, volunteer pools), equating development with fundraising is a bit confusing, especially to outsiders or newcomers to the field. It is also, as I hope to show here, limiting.

I have been struggling for years with a theoretical construct that effectively labels this work. I’ve not yet succeeded. What follows is an outline, a work in progress, that presents the various external relationship functions of an arts organization, beginning with claiming the word “development” as the top-level descriptor.

Development: External Relationships

  • Marketing/Communications (including branding)
    • Means
      • Research
      • Self-generated messages, dialogue (social media) based on research
    • Results (Quantifiable metrics: immediate and medium term)
      • Money
        • Sales/Program Revenue
        • Fundraising/Contributed Income (Beneficiaries and Third Party Payers)
      • Volunteer Resources
        • Governance Volunteers (board members)
        • Operational Volunteers
      • Clients/Beneficiaries (some programming does not involve sales)
  • Community Relationships (aka Community Engagement)
    • Means: Direct interpersonal interaction with individuals and groups
      • Meet
      • Talk
      • Work
    • Results (Quantifiable metrics: long term–sometimes very long term)
      • Increased relationships w/individuals and groups
        • #’s (g., mailing lists, followers)
        • Requests for partnerships
      • Increased support
        • Sales
        • Contributed Income
        • Volunteer resources
There is much to be said about each item in this list and there’s not room in this format to do that justice. More will certainly follow here and perhaps in another format later. In the meantime, at the risk of kicking the hornets’ nest, success in development (as the term is used in the outline) cannot be achieved divorced from a voice in programming decisions. Since much current arts marketing is highly self-referential, there is certainly a good deal that can be done to increase sales of the status quo simply by taking a more externally focused approach. Nevertheless, especially for effective community engagement, it will be necessary to have development and programming partner in the selection of work presented. More on that, obviously, later.


Doug Borwick

Doug Borwick
Engaging Matters:
Twitter: @DougBorwick

Doug Borwick is author of Engaging Matters, a blog for ArtsJournal, author/editor of Building Communities, Not Audiences: The Future of the Arts in the U.S. and author of Engage Now! A Guide to Making the Arts Indispensable. One of the country's leading advocates for the arts and community engagement Dr. Borwick has served as keynote speaker and workshop presenter at conferences across the U.S. and Canada as well as in Beijing and Singapore. He is past President of the Board of the Association of Arts Administration Educators, an international organization of higher education programs in the field. For three decades he served as Director of the Arts Management and Not-for-Profit Management Programs at Salem College in Winston-Salem, NC. He is currently CEO of Outfitters4, Inc., providing management services for nonprofits and of ArtsEngaged, offering training and consultation services to artists and arts organizations seeking to more effectively engage with their communities. Dr. Borwick holds the Ph.D. in Music Composition from the Eastman School of Music and is an award-winning member of ASCAP.


Be notified of future content like this with eNews.

Sign up for TRG's eNews and you'll be notified when more content like this is posted, as well as getting our latest research, blog posts, and webinar announcements delivered straight to your inbox. Simply fill out the form below:

* indicates required


Case Study: Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma

Annual operating budget up 32% in 5 seasons

Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma 
 Photo: Joseph Mills

After a poor year for earned revenue in 2012, Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma (LTO) had rebounded and was experiencing a growth spurt. In 2013, Director of Marketing Danyel Siler had turned her attention to single tickets.

Her hard work had paid off, but season tickets were still a challenge. “Season tickets were steadily declining,” she said. “The season ticket campaign had been done the same way for years, maybe even decades. And we blamed the fall on the trend that subs were declining everywhere. Our executive director, artistic director, and I all knew something needed to change, but we didn’t know what.”

Read More>>


Jill Robinson
Adam Scurto
Amelia Northrup-
J.L.Nave Vincent VanVleet Keri Mesropov

Upcoming Events

Executive Summits:


March 14-15, 2019 - TRG Arts Executive Summit; York, England

May 9-10, 2019 - TRG Arts Executive Summit; Colorado Springs, CO


Global Headquarters
90 S. Cascade Avenue
Suite 510
Colorado Springs, CO 80903
US: 719.686.0165
UK: 020 7438 2040
Facebook Facebook
Connect with us!
Terms of Use Privacy Policy
© 2017 TRG Arts. All rights reserved.
Admin Login