How to engage

Local, free and family friendly are the watchwords for engaging this group with a focus on entertainment and fun

A chance to get out with the children and enjoy some social time without having to worry about the expense. While they are willing to pay possibly a higher price than might be expected for family treats, it will only be for guaranteed product – popular and well-known. For all activities, these families will be looking for endorsements through either high profile local and TV advertising or their own social media networks. Hidden costs for a day out with the family may prove a barrier to engagement, so pricing strategies should consider add-ons such as transport, food and take-aways for children. At a local level, engaging families in community activities provide opportunities if they are free and offer social opportunities for parents.

Programme

Families within this group are looking for tried and tested product in the main which has the necessary guarantees for enjoyment from their children. They may also engage with local culturally specific activities which happen in their communities – most likely to be free. Engaging this group more deeply with more ‘risky’ or contemporary product would need to involve community engagement or outreach work offering programmes, workshops and activities tailored to their needs.

Particular considerations are important when making this offer – chiefly a range of product for different age ranges (but without being too prescriptive) – not forgetting those older (but not yet teenage) ages. With extended families common in this age range, programmes and experiences suitable for inter-generational groups might also be relevant.

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Will follow the recommendations of trusted sources

Partnerships

Local partnerships may be particularly effective, such as through schools or community groups which involve children. Local children’s Sure Start centres, nurseries or after school groups may also provide useful links. Making relationships between cultural organisations and local creative participatory activities would be effective – bridging the gap between participation and attending. Care should be taken to ensure that partners are in themselves family friendly.

These families will also be receptive and respond to brand associations, particularly those which are visible on television and in advertising.

Place: Environment

Family friendly facilities and an appropriate welcome is required for this group who are unfamiliar with cultural venues, to ensure that the whole experience accommodates their needs. Fundamentals from baby changing to buggy parks as well as appropriate and affordably priced food and drink facilities. Staff should be trained and empowered to ensure families feel able to take part, are safe and looked after.

Place: Access & distance

While this group live relatively close to arts, museums, galleries and heritage sites (being based on the edges of cities in suburban areas), their level of engagement is comparatively low. They will rely on public transport to get to larger, more central venues, which may or may not be reliable or easy to navigate (particularly with a large or very young family).

Promotion

Depending on the programme, this group will either be looking for prominent and visible advertising through mainstream channels or endorsements from peer groups through word of mouth or social networks. This can be triggered by local level promotion through local press, notice-boards or by engaging community leaders of local groups. Once captured they may respond to direct mail by post or email – as long as it includes suitably engaging content and/or low prices, offers or discounts. Digital content should be engaging for both adults and children.

Beyond this community engagement, local ambassadors or outreach projects will be necessary to engage harder to reach families.

Kids love ‘doing’ things

Participation

For this group participation is most likely to come via children. Catering for different age ranges is important (with a consideration of how to occupy those not directly involved and their parents). For adults, participatory activities with child care attached could be effective to an extent. Activities which develop skills and confidence and could support job prospects may be more appealing, as well as opportunities for adults, representing time away from the family.

Relationship building

Many local families may just need an entry point to their local venue or museum – family fun days, free events or low cost tickets to appropriate programmes, e.g. Family days in the school holidays may offer them a foot in the door. For younger families use of café spaces on a regular basis with soft play or toys provided could also be an entry point.

Giving & volunteering

It is more likely that people in this group may be able to volunteer more than donate, although they are also squeezed for time, bringing up their families. Forging a relationship may be the first step as they are more likely to donate if they have some sort of personal connection through their children or their local community.

It may be challenging to engage these families further, but creating a local ‘family panel’ or family ambassadors may be effective if they are well connected in their communities, briefed appropriately or offered financial incentives. Use of venue spaces for local groups may also place the organisation in the consciousness of the local community and lead to further engagement.

Any relationship will also rest on providing appropriate facilities – as per those described in the environment section.


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Increasing reach & diversity

Attracting more local families or those of a particular community should involve creation of links and consultation in order to devise appropriate projects or activities with the involvement of target groups.

Strategies such as working with local community organisations, housing associations, local authority arts managers, schools or children’s centres could be considered.