Funding the Arts is Smart for Business

Written By: Jessica Hurov

According to the Americans for the Arts “Arts and Economic Prosperity IV” survey, 72 percent of businesses see improved profitability through their contributions to the arts. The majority of corporations and businesses that support the arts do so through their advertising and marketing budgets. Wisely choosing to spend advertising and marketing dollars at a nonprofit arts organization makes perfect sense when you consider the demographic you reach.

In Alachua County, more than 50 percent of arts audiences have household incomes over $60,000, and 87 percent have at least two years of higher education, including 32 percent with a master’s or doctoral-level degree. Businesses who support the arts see a 7:1 return on their investment, beating most traditional investments or advertising platforms hands-down!

Let’s take a look at the big picture. In Alachua County, nonprofit arts and cultural organizations have an $85,491,538 economic impact and generate almost $50,000,000 in direct income to residents. Nonprofit arts organizations generate $3,220,000 to our local government, according to the American for Arts survey. Most significantly for our business community, arts attendees in Alachua County spend $53.2 million above and beyond the cost of admission when they attend a cultural event.

Support of the arts not only reaches target demographics but it also has a direct impact on our area’s young people through outstanding educational opportunities, award-winning outreach and support programs for underserved youth, and free- and reduced-price ticket opportunities for school children. Engagement with the arts community is a win-win: Businesses have a greater impact reaching their audience than any other advertising or promotional opportunity available, and the financial support goes directly into programming that enriches, educates and entertains our entire community.

The Hippodrome partnered with the University of Florida Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Warrington College of Business Administration, and they shared some astounding facts with us.

Fact 1: The Hippodrome is a top local attraction and also one of the “can’t miss” places in Gainesville.

Fact 2: Hippodrome patrons spend an average of $28 over their ticket purchase when they come to see a show.

Fact 3: The summer is one of the Hipp’s busiest seasons — we average more than 20,000 patrons during June, July and August.

Fact 4: More than 30 percent of these visitors are from outside Alachua County.

Fact 5: The 20,000 Hippodrome patrons will bring an estimated additional economic impact of $560,000 to Gainesville businesses during the summer months alone.


What do these facts mean to you? Simply put: Your engagement with the Hippodrome generates more revenue for your business. You may ask yourself: How do we best engage with our arts organizations to get the maximum impact from our budget? The answer is by selecting a level of support that works for your company.

A multi-tiered approach to marketing means that one size rarely fits all. Development and marketing officers at nonprofit arts organizations are highly sensitive to the needs of their corporate supporters and can customize marketing packages to the contributors’ exact specifications.

A few ways that nonprofit arts organizations go above and beyond the traditional marketing package include tickets and invitations to special events and networking opportunities that enable you to interact with business leaders; advertising and marketing opportunities across a variety of platforms including web, social media, print, recorded announcements and incentive packages; your company name and logo on signage and recognition in printed advertising materials; reduced-price tickets for your employees as sales incentives; and use of rental space for receptions, parties and corporate meetings.

The Hippodrome drives tourism and extensive out-of-county visits. In fact, we are aligned with the national averages in that out-of-town visitors represent more than 30 percent of the audience at our events and productions.

What does this mean for Gainesville? According to UF’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, communities that are engaged with the arts see more revenue. The arts are imperative in generating and sustaining growth. The preservation of art and culture not only generates the revenue necessary for its own sustainment but it also creates jobs and develops a cohesive community that is proud of its culture.

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