Firstly, on the face of it you might not think that artists working with businesses is a good match, but they have a lot in common. And you might doubt whether they can work together effectively. But to dismiss artist and business partnerships would be to miss out on a winning opportunity. Secondly, artists working with businesses often bring a new light and thinking to some business problems, and the two can work together effectively.

The inspiration behind today’s post is our involvement with the Emcees fundraising awards, which support excellent arts fundraising. This year, Mahmood has been asked to be a judge with the prestigious organisation. The Emcees 2020 is the UK arts, culture and heritage sector’s chance to celebrate fundraising success, and every year they help to identify and publicise the extraordinary job many fundraisers do.

For us, it’s an opportunity to think about how businesses and artists can work together and generate funding for their activity.

3 top tips to help artists working with businesses

Put preconceptions aside – artists and businesses have more in common than you think

Don’t go into a relationship with preconceptions. Having an open mind and being keen to explore new ideas and opportunities means that you will get the best out of it. Both arts organisations and business owners are creative and entrepreneurial. They come up with new ideas and ways of doing things. Both are detail orientated, set goals, develop plans, and know their cash flow. It’s a cliché to think that artists can’t be good business people. Their creativity can help shine a new light on business problems, whilst businesses might be able to support artists with a more analytical approach.

Set objectives

Setting objectives and goals are key. Both artists and businesses need to clearly define the aims and outcomes of working together. Having clear expectations from the start will enable you to keep on track towards success. KPIs are crucial for any organisation, and helps you to keep focused. Having good KPIs in place means that you know when you are hitting your targets. Plan, plan, and plan.


Once you defined the nature of the relationship and your objectives and goals, make sure you measure progress. Keep having honest and clear conversations about where you are and the steps you are taking towards achieving your goals. If things aren’t working, speak up, and likewise, make sure you articulate what is going well so that you can do more of it. Make sure that you monitor and  measure progress so you keep getting plenty of value from the relationship. You will find that artists working with businesses can be a great combination

Get in touch with us to find out more about arts and business.  For more business and finance , news, advice and tips, don’t forget to watch our weekly broadcasts, listen to our weekly podcast I Hate Numbers.

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