News and updates from the Arts People company

Press Release: James Dixon joins the Client Services Team

James Dixon, Portland Actor, Director, Radio host and Social Justice worker joins the Arts People Client Services Team

Dateline: Portland, OR – Sept 11, 2017

James DixonJames Dixon has joined the Arts People Client Services team, bringing a variety of experiences with him in performance, directing, radio and social justice work. James is a radio host for KBOO in Portland, hosting their Stage and Studio program, is a co-producing company member with Theatre Vertigo and a stage director. On the social justice side, he is an intersectional equity facilitator with a primary focus on LGBTQ, gender, race, and sex positive issues in various social and arts communities.

James says, “After leaving my full time position at Portland Center Stage a year ago I made a firm decision of what my purpose was in the arts community at large… I love challenging work that doesn’t necessarily attempt to change the world, but sparks conversations and gives people something to chew on when they leave the theater.”

When asked about his interest in applying for this position, he explained…

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Arts People stands with Dreamers

Arts People stands with Dreamers

It is our work at Arts People to help our curious, creative, artistic clients to share the stories and voices of our diverse communities.  It is through their sharing that we all can grow, laugh, love, cry, appreciate and learn from our varied histories.  While we can never fully understand someone else’s experience or struggles, we can relate to them, empathize with them, and be thankful for their sharing.

As we struggle in this current time in our nation’s latest challenges, we believe that the programs such as DACA are vitally important to the heart of who we are, as they have always been.  These programs enable immigrants to follow in the footsteps of so many of the rest of us who are descendants of immigrants, and who wish to join us in our grand vision of the future.  That future is built in love, celebrating our diversity, learning from each other, making our nation, or society, our communities stronger and richer.  For this to happen, we must respect each other.  We must retain perspective built on the past with an eye to a more positive future.

Arts People welcomes everyone.


Press Release: Patrick Spike takes over new role as Marketing Director

Patrick Spike - Marketing Director for Arts PeopleFormerly Product Manager, Spike hopes to work magic again in his new position

Dateline: Portland, OR – March 21, 2017

Patrick Spike, most recently Product Manager and all around system expert for Arts People, has now moved into the roll of Marketing Director for the company as other staff members move up the ranks as well. Creating a new department, he hopes to continue his trend of establishing processes and practices for the company in an area that has previously been non-existent.

The company has relied for the past 11+ years on direct contact sales to communicate its mission of performing arts support and to sell its arts specific software system and renowned client support. Marketing and related communications have not been an area that has garnered much attention. “We really have focused on our client referrals, and our amazing sales team’s consultant style approach to reach out to arts organizations and show…

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Losing customers

Beware software systems claiming they are FREE

There are many ticketing and related software systems out there marketing themselves as FREE.  The truth is they are not, and the reality is that their pricing model may drive your customers away.It's NOT free,, On The Stage,, Ticket Tailor

We all know that nothing is free.  We are also smart enough to know that a claim of being free is merely a tactic to try to entice you in.  This is a hook that unfortunately too often successfully manages to ensnare some people who don’t consider the ramifications of a pricing model where the service is free… to THEMSELVES only.

When a ticketing system claims to be free, it simply means that their fees are not charged to you, as the client organization.  Instead, fees are added on top of the ticket costs to your patrons during their purchase, and all too often these fees are exorbitantly high, provide no options to you for amount charged to the patron, or are some sliding amount that makes it impossible to publish a fixed price.  Try explaining why a $20 published ticket price is actually $21.47 to a patron.  In these cases you typically are without options, and these  fees jeopardize the relationships and loyalty of your patrons that you work so hard to build, all before they ever set foot in your door.

Another ramification of this model is that a) patron disapproval of the added fee costs may drive them and you to try to sell more tickets via your box office where you may not charge fees. This leads to b) having data in multiple places that complicates your marketing communications, patron analysis and more, and c) means you lose the powerful benefit of having more patrons buy online, self serve, taking a load off your staff and providing better customer service. Also, what kind of support is offered by company that is claiming to be free to use?  When you need assistance quickly, help or advice from experts, where will you turn?  Over time, these issues become more and more detrimental and unsustainable.

We love our customersArts People instead not only offers you a variety of fee options to best suit your business model, but also gives you  complete control over how much of the fees you might want to pass to your patrons, how much you pay yourself as a planned business expense, or how much you embed into your ticket prices.  For example, if the fee is $.95, you could simply increase your ticket price by $1 and not show any added fees on your patron’s purchase. Or perhaps you add $.50 per ticket, and the rest you simply absorb.  You can even put a cap on fees to the patron, such as $.50 for the first 4 tickets, after that no additional fees to them.  With our unique pricing controls there are infinite options for you to tailor the pricing application to ensure that your patrons take top priority.  Unhappy patrons, before they ever attend your performance, is NOT a good business model… and we know how patrons really don’t like added fees.

It is important to note that many of our clients report increased ticket sales and donations after they come on board with Arts People. The added revenue may completely cover your costs of using the system. This, along with some simple additional offerings such as selling ad space on your print at home tickets, or sponsorship of your online shopping cart, etc.. and you can more than pay for the system that actually helps you to build your audience and develop lasting relationships with your patrons and donors.

More and more we see clients electing to not charge fees to their patrons at all. Anything that jeopardizes those relationships is not a good idea.  Try looking at other performing arts groups in your area.  Are they adding fees on top?  If so, do you want to do the same? Charge less in fees?  Or would you rather be able to communicate proudly to your patrons that you don’t add any fees?  With Arts People, you get to make all those decisions, and we’re here ready to assist you at any time.

Patrick Spike - Marketing Director

Arts People’s staff, deeply rooted in the arts

Arts People, from its very beginning, looked to experienced arts creators and administrators to staff its ranks.  We wanted to make sure that the people who would be guiding the development of our product, designed specifically for the very particular needs of the performing arts, would know how to give it the power and flexibility required for the industry.  In addition, the client services team and other members have also frequently come from backgrounds that include arts participation. In this way, we have a staff supporting the product and our clients that absolutely comprehend and appreciate the intricate and unique challenges and strategies that the arts present. We work with you to get the most out of your live data, and develop relationships over time with your ticket buyers and donors.

We don’t target sporting arenas or other non-arts venues as many other systems do.  We don’t look to venture capital and investors with dollar signs as their primary motivator who might want to steer the product in a more profit driven direction.  Arts People was created and has thrived with the idea that we are here to uplift and support the performing arts, as powerful and valuable pieces of the communities in which they exist, to shine brightly on our society and to enrich our lives – through both hearts and minds.

Here are some examples of staff members participating in the arts:

Patrick Spike – Marketing Director, former Product Manager, and System Expert, Scappoose, OR – Over 30 years as director, performer, administrator, marketer and consultant for community to Katie on stageprofessional theatre and other non-profit arts organizations. In the Fall Spike will be performing with Bag&Baggage Productions in OR, and in the Spring directing at Ferndale Repertory Theatre in CA.

Katie Behrens – Client Services Representative, Portland, OR -Professional improviser with Curious Comedy Theatre and others for 9 years, acting, writing, directing, producing, teaching.

Patrick Kelly – Client Services Representative, San Diego, CA – Found his love for the Theatrical Arts in Middle school nearly 20 years ago.  He has worked as a professional actor, director, technical director, musician and general arts administrator for the past 10 years, with a major project underway currently.

Russ Gage – Director of Client Services, Portland, OR – Film festival programmer and producer for over 20 years including San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival, Portland International Film Festival, Northwest Filmmakers Film Festival, and founder of QDoc ~ the Portland Queer Documentary Film Festival.
Cari Palazzolo – Administrative Assistant, Portland, OR – Musician, Digital Designer, and Visual Artist for 18 years, producing, performing, educating, managing.

Sam Valenti – Junior Developer, Kona, HI – Currently Sam is producing Waimea Community Theatre’s Production of Pippin. Previously Sam was Managing Director of Aloha Performing Arts Company as well as more artistic endeavors on the stage.

The Arts People system includes ticketing, fundraising, marketing, CRM / database and other full function features for the performing arts.  Our best in industry client services team works one on one with our clients to make sure they are fully supported and can succeed using their system. If you have any questions about the system’s capabilities or would like to see a personalized demo, please contact us right away.  Our no pressure sales consultants will work with you to see if our system is a good fit for your organization.

Flex pass tickets

White paper: Make your life simpler using the power and flexibility of passes

Arts People led the industry in the development of powerful, multi-functional and flexible pass capabilities.  Our clients use them with great success for season package sales of different types, for comp ticket fulfillment, for sponsor ticket benefits, board cultivation of donors and much more.

Learn how passes can be used in a variety of ways to benefit your patrons experience with your organization, and also to alleviate staff handling and headaches of various ticket packages and fulfillment.

Patrons and staff both love the way pass holders can easily redeem their tickets, self-serve online or via your box office, and at the same time result in less seat inventory going wasted.  They are a powerful tool for every performing arts organization to meet their needs.


Request a download link for this white paper:

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White paper written by 

Patrick Spike - Marketing Director of Arts PeoplePatrick Spike is the Marketing Director, system expert, and one of the original architects of the Arts People software system, with over 30 years in performing arts creation and administration. His work with clients has helped them to increase their revenue while streamlining their box office and back office operations.

Arts People, software for the performing arts, serves theatres, music and dance groups, choirs and opera, high school, college and university programs, performing arts center facilities and more.


Arts People #supportthearts

Winners of six donations from Arts People!

At recent TCG (Theatre Communications Group) and AACT (American Association of Community Theatres) conferences where Arts People was a sponsor and had a booth in the exhibit hall, we had our enter to win box out collecting entries to win $100 donations. Lots of visitors to the booth took advantage of the opportunity!

The following organizations are the lucky winners!  Each will be receiving a $100 donation to their organization to support the great work they do in the arts scene within their community.


From the TCG “Full Circle” conference, held recently in Portland, OR – #TCG1TCG Conference 2017 Portland OR

From the AACT AACTfest conference, held in Rochester, MN – #AACTfest17 #AACTfest2017

AACTfest 2017 conference, Rochester MN

Congratulations winners!  It was great to meet and chat with so many theatres, related organizations and other vendors present at these events. We were also thrilled to be able to demonstrate our system to those interested in a complete software package with ticketing, fundraising, marketing, reporting, CRM and more, all designed specifically for the performing arts.

Arts People system is powerful, yet easy to use.  Built by and for performing arts administrative staff, we understand the needs of these unique organizations. They often have a small team doing a number of jobs. Their system needs to be powerful, yet simple and efficient enough to get the job done quickly.  Also, customer support is key their success, which is why our client services reps know our clients on a first name basis and often assist them in setting up new shows, new pricing, even changing out the design of the pages to match their new website.  Our support is second to none.  For any organizations that attended these events, we have special pricing available for TCG or AACT members. Visit one of the pages below for more information and also free white paper downloads on topics of interest to organizations just like you.


Arts People to show off its performing arts specific tools at the upcoming AACT conference

AACT, the American Association of Community Theatres will be holding it’s AACTfest conference in Rochester, MN next week, and once again Arts People will be front and center as a sponsor and exhibitor at the event. Running June 26 – July 1, the festival “is the culmination of a two-year cycle of state and regional theatre AACT festivals across the country–with 12 community theatre productions, a theatre management conference, a youth leadership conference and youth festival, educational workshops, top vendor displays, the design exhibition and competition, a new monologue competition, social events, sightseeing and networking opportunities, all ending with a festival awards presentation,” says AACT.

“AACT has always been a perfect fit for Arts People to be a part of.” Says Arts People’s Director of Sales Marc Ross.  “This is an organization dedicated to the nurturing of arts groups all across the country who can greatly benefit from an integrated system such as ours.  With ticketing, fundraising, marketing all built in, Arts People can help these organizations to enhance their customer service, generate more revenue, and foster relationships with their loyal patrons and donors.”

We’re excited to support this festival and organization, and to meet with current and future clients!  We’ll be giving 30 minute no-pressure demonstrations of the system at our booth, and in fact people can visit now to schedule their appointment ahead of time. Additionally, free white paper downloads are available on the page as well for help with social media communications, season renewal campaigns and more.

The future of the arts in our country is in the passion of individuals who make up organizations like those participating in the AACT.  It is our goal to help these organizations to thrive.  We hope attendees will stop by our booth and say hello!  Have a great conference all!

For more information on AACTfest 2017, visit


Good data?

The vital importance of maintaining clean data

Your database of persons and organizations who have purchased tickets, made donations, provided grants, sponsored events, signed up for your email or postal mailing lists, or just expressed interest is vitally important to the success of your goals.  Maintaining this data in a clean form, without duplication, is extremely important as well, in order to maintain good relations with your patrons and to move them up the De-duping your dataladder of engagement.

Fully integrated patron management systems with all the pieces of ticketing, fundraising, marketing built in, such as the Arts People system, should provide tools for you to maintain your clean live data.  But, the tools vary widely as to their user-friendliness, ease of use, automation and overall effectiveness.

The trouble with many systems

Many systems offer duplication cleanup tools that are extremely cumbersome.  I was recently assisting a friend at a community non-profit organization with record cleanup of their Sales Force database and I was quite frankly shocked at how time consuming and cumbersome the process was. I had to conduct various searches to find the potential duplicates to begin with, not really knowing if I was actually finding all the records.  Then I had to painstakingly look into each match one by one and specify how I wanted the pair to merge.  It took at least several minutes per pair to conduct the process.  It was days of work to clean up as many records as I had time for, without completing the task by a long shot. I truly don’t know how most organizations using a system like this can hope to keep their data clean at all, and unfortunately duplicate data leads directly to patron dissatisfaction when they receive duplicate mailings, have miscommunication from the staff about their contributions or worse.

The above scenario is just one example of how over-complication is something that most arts organizations simple have to avoid.  We understand our clients at Arts People.  As with so many non-profits, staff numbers are small and people are doing various jobs throughout their day. They just don’t have the time for a laborious process of trying to keep their data clean.

Arts People provides a better solution

As I’ve worked in the industry for nearly 30 years, I can  honestly say that I’ve never seen a duplication detection and merge process system that works as efficiently and easily as the Merge screen in Arts People. Duplicates are identified within minutes of data being entered or updated. Exactly duplicates are merged automatically!  Partial matches are presented to the user side by side where they can make a decision as to merge them keeping the record details on right or left, or connecting them together as members of the same household.  If there’s a question, users can click on the address or phone to trigger a search to help them identify current information for those records.  They can also click directly into one of the patron records to check the entered date, update date and more to help them now which record is newer and more likely to be the correct data.  Also, the system itself helps prevent duplication via the email address login process, enabling patrons online to link to their existing data. Clients are trained by their assigned client services representative to spend a few minutes each day or week to review and process any duplicates, keeping their data absolutely clean.

Don’t let your data cost you sales, donations or patron relationships. Make sure you’re using a system that is capable and easy enough to use that you can easily maintain your data, clean of duplication, and show your patrons that you care enough about them to communicate with them correctly and efficiently.


Patrick Spike - Marketing Director of Arts PeoplePatrick Spike is the Marketing Director, system expert, and one of the original architects of the Arts People software system, with over 30 years in performing arts creation and administration. His work with clients has helped them to increase their revenue while streamlining their box office and back office operations.

Arts People, software for the performing arts, serves theatres, music and dance groups, choirs and opera, high school, college and university programs, performing arts center facilities and more.


Sustaining members our heros

Recurring donations for sustainability and building patron loyalty

Contributed income generally runs somewhere in the neighborhood of 40-50% of the operating budget of a performing arts organization, with the remainder being made up of earned income.  This contributed income comes in the form of donations, grants, sponsorships and other similar gifts.  As we all know, the ask is often the hardest part. In standard donation programs you must ask patrons to donate over and over again, each year, or two or three times a year. This can be come laborious, tedious and you run the risk of alienating your donors from all the requests for donation.

recurring donation

Recurring donations have become a very nice alternative to the regular task of asking for one donation after another. By converting donors to an automatically recurring donation program, the donor gets to spread their gift out over the year with small transactions every month or quarter, or even automating their yearly gift.  The Arts People system, as one example, offers these three recurrence frequency options for your donors.  While it can be a significant thing to ask a donor to contribute $120 all at once, asking for $10 per month can be both more comfortable for the person asking, and also for donors to accept.

Recurring donations can be open ended, where they continue to recur time after time until the patron communicates with you to stop.  Or they can specify an ending date upon which they want the recurrence to stop.  In Arts People these choices are simple to setup by the donor themselves online, or in your office as you begin their recurring donation, or at any time to schedule or immediately stop the recurrence.

Recurring donations also play well into Membership structure in the Arts People system.  When a donor begins their recurring gift, if that gift applies toward membership the system will automatically calculate how much they will donate by the expire date and then set their membership to the appropriate level.  So if your membership is based annually, with a yearly expire date for all members, their $10 monthly recurrence might run for 7 months.  This 7 month calculation will the apply $70 toward membership levels. They might earn a silver level.  However if your membership is rolling where each member has their own expire date based on the anniversary of their membership start, they will have $120 apply toward levels, giving them a gold level membership.

Many organizations with recurring contribution option will promote it with enhanced benefits both to the donor and to the charity, referring to it as a “sustaining membership” or some specific label to imply to the donors that this helps their organization more than one time donations. With it perhaps the donor receives some extra perks, such as a pair of free tickets along with the standard member ticket discount.  Working to drive donors toward this option can be very beneficial as donors contribute more over time with their recurring gift, and you need less asks to the donors through their giving history, only needing to thank them periodically and sending an end of year summary for their tax purposes. The Arts People system automatically notifies the donor of each recurrence being processed and the system makes it easy for you to acknowledge and thank the donors and provide them a tax receipt.

If you want to learn more about how the Arts People system can help increase your fundraising success through recurring contributions and other means, contact us for a consultation and free demonstration.


Patrick Spike - Marketing Director of Arts PeoplePatrick Spike is the Marketing Director, system expert, and one of the original architects of the Arts People software system, with over 30 years in performing arts creation and administration. His work with clients has helped them to increase their revenue while streamlining their box office and back office operations.

Arts People, software for the performing arts, serves theatres, music and dance groups, choirs and opera, high school, college and university programs, performing arts center facilities and more.