News and updates from the Arts People company

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.  

Flight picture from the production.

Podcast: Spike speaks with Eric Guerin about the stagecraft of flying actors, and the safety concerns involved

I sat down today to talk with Eric Guerin, who’s a new member of our Client Services staff here at Arts People.  Eric comes to us from the Brighton Center where he was Theatre Director.  In his role there, he recently was part of the creative team of a production with high school students that involved flying two of the actors on stage.  In this podcast we discuss the challenges, concerns and intricacies of flying actors on a theatre stage, and also the overall challenges of creating highly theatrical and exciting productions, while still maintaining strict control over safety.

Listen to podcast (approximately 18 minutes)


Photo:  Actor in fly rigging with cable wrapped in nylon rope to appear he was parachuting down to the stage.  (c) 2017 Blue Heron Photo


Visit them online:
Brighton Center:
Brighton Musical Company:
ZFX Flying:



lille aeske boutique performance space with Sarah Farrell Mackessy

PODCAST: Spike interviews Sarah about lille aeske & boutique performance spaces

I sat down with Sarah Farrell Mackessy of our client services team to talk about her boutique performance space in Boulder Creek, CA.

Originally a gallery to feature her husband’s woodworking business and skills combined with artist gallery space, lille aeske (little box) has quickly become a popular performing arts venue for live music with artists passing through the area from LA to SF and back.

Sarah talks with us about how the idea developed and how popular it’s become, both with patrons in their small town and also with artists who love the intimacy of the tiny space.

Listen to the podcast
(approximately 16 minutes)


Where to find lille aeske online:  

Their website with images and video samplings:

Facebook page with their upcoming performance events and more:

Instagram page with great images from their space, performances, hand crafted items and more:

Their Youtube channel with a couple videos featuring their space and some performances:



Shotgun marketing often misses the target audience

Marketing segmentation – Increase sales with patron grouped communications

Shotgun marketing often misses the target audienceIt’s proven that marketing communications need to be simple, clean, direct with a clear call to action. The days of sending out long email marketing messages that contain all the upcoming events at your performing arts organization are just not effective. Overwhelming your viewer leads to inaction. They simply stop reading and delete the email.

Instead, the better approach is to segment your marketing messages by creating carefully worded and targeted messaging to selected patron groups who have expressed interest in the type of specific event that is coming up.  Communicate about the show content, message, artists, special promotions, and other details that relate to former events they’ve marketing segmentation graphicattended, or how the style is something they might enjoy.  If you can include specifics around why this group of patrons will enjoy this event, all the better. It can create a personal touch to the communication that patrons will appreciate, and lead them trust you more.

Communicate about one event at a time.  Choose selected patron segments that will receive the message favorably and target the language to each segment group.  How will THIS group of patrons connect to this material?  Versus how will this OTHER group of patrons connect to this material? Or maybe some patrons don’t receive communications about this event at all, based on their past history. Over time, test your segmentation and communication choices to see what is the most effective so you can hone your future messages.

Arts People marketing public opt-in list feature

Within the Arts People marketing system, utilizing database / CRM data, you can create as many lists as you wish, with different segments based on expressed interest, past purchases, donations, membership and much more. Using the Public Opt-In feature, you can establish lists for patrons to opt into themselves online, such as based on their areas of interest.  Then you can also create lists based on buyers of each specific event, or types of event, such as comedy, Shakespeare, musical, classical, jazz, traditional, modern, etc.  When preparing to send out communications of various types you can use these lists to segment your message and repeat messaging over time.  

Yes, this type of segmentation takes planning and time to set up, but your patrons will pay more attention to the messages you send out, will feel more confident that this is something they will enjoy, and trust you moving forward to communicate with them personally 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.  


Overworked box officer - Arts People system to the rescue

Arts People’s built in automation lets you focus on your patrons and your art

Overworked box officer - Arts People system to the rescueThere’s never enough time to do everything you would like to do, or need to do, when you’re running the daily operations of a performing arts organization. Manpower is often slim. Pressure is high. Timelines are absolute. If only there was a way to use your time more effectively by setting things up in advance and then letting automation implement your strategy along the way.

Arts People, an industry leader since 2003 in integrated systems for the performing arts, has created a collection of automation tools that arts organizations rely on every day.  The software includes ticketing, fundraising, marketing, database CRM and reporting all in one easy to use system. It is designed to help the staff and board members of performing arts organizations to accomplish their goals through simple yet powerful tools that can be configured in advance to handle the details while enabling staff to focus on other things.  

Flexible scheduling of on-sales

When building a season or individual shows into the system in advance, dates can be set to enable your entire season to go on sale at once, or you can stagger on-sales for individual shows.  Also, the system can be configured to allow advance purchase to subscribers, or to special groups by sending them a non-public link to access purchase before the public sale date.  

Create urgency with time sensitive offers

The pricing system in Arts People is powerful, flexible, and one of a kind. Pricing rules can be configured with specific trigger on/off dates, or set based on hours prior to a performance. So you can automatically enable and disable dynamic pricing, discount offers, coupon codes, membership pricing and more.  At any time, pricing can be increased or decreased with ease, by single performance, by day of the week, by show or for a group of performances or shows.  Flexibility is an understatement with the Arts People pricing engine, and the client services staff is ready to help at any time.  

Simple reserved order confirmations

Unlike many ticketing systems, Arts People has reservation tools to create orders pending later payment. Automatic email confirmation is sent to the buyer so they can pay later online, or cancel the order if they wish. You can also easily send reminder emails with just a couple clicks, or cancel reservations with the same ease.  It’s a great way to offer flexibility and great customer service to your patrons, handle larger group orders, or accept payment for subscription packages at a later date.  

Ticket add-on up-selling

Arts People was the first to offer ticket add-on capabilities. Designed originally for dinner theatres with a need to have patrons select their meal choices during ticket purchase, this tool has been expanded and used creatively by clients to sell retail items, parking passes, flower bouquets for Mother’s Day, Valentine’s day and much more. Having the ability to up-sell during a ticket purchase can mean more revenue with ease.  Since patrons can do this all self-serve via the online interface, or with a box officer on the phone, it also means less time needed handling these details later, and less potential unsold items and waste.  Just print a report before the performance and have everything ready to go.  

Automatic ticket reminders with partner offers

Communication is key to strong relationships and confidence with your theatre audience applauding - successful customer service via ticketing system automationpatrons. The Arts People system comes with tools to automatically send ticket reminders to buyers ahead of their performance date.  This email, like most of our system, is easily customizable.  Use it to expand on the reminder to inform patrons about nearby restaurants that might partner with you on a discount offer. Patrons will appreciate guidance to parking options as well.  Also, add details about your upcoming events so they can consider buying more tickets.  

Follow up emails after the performance are simple to generate as well.  It’s a great opportunity to extend a share pricing discount offer, ask patrons to complete a short questionnaire, or to look forward to the next event.

Print at home tickets with cross promotions

Following the patron’s smooth online ticketing experience, they can specify their ticket delivery option including print at home custom tickets.  Arts People’s ticket designs are the most highly configurable in the industry, with space for sponsor logos, a venue map, upcoming events list, coupons and more.  Even post performance discussions and other details can be featured.  Building on the excitement about their upcoming show can be the ideal time to communicate with your buyers about additional events or details.  Sponsors love the exposure, and recognize the benefits of partnering with you. The details of these tickets change dynamically based on the venue, show purchased and more.  

The easy to use system and built in automation, along with the friendly arts-based support staff, have made Arts People the preferred option for performing arts organizations across the USA and Canada.  Our team helps clients at every turn to use the software to their full advantage.   Since they have worked in the arts and know the needs of the organizations using the platform, clients speak of our customer service as the best they have ever experienced, anywhere.  With integration and high flexibility within the software, the team often consults with clients on new ways to accomplish their goals, and helps them every step of the way to make their operations run smoothly 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.  

Greg Maguire - selfie

Greg Maguire takes on new role as UI/UX Designer at Arts People

Greg Maguire - selfie

Greg Maguire (pictured), another member of our team, is moving to a new position within the company! As of today, Greg will now be our UI/UX Designer.

Greg Maguire - photography work 2“I’ve spent over 5 years connecting with Arts People users as a Client Services Representative. During this time I’ve acquired a wealth of feedback from clients that I’m certain will be advantageous in continuing to improve the Arts People experience — making it cleaner, simpler, and more intuitive.” Greg Says. “I’ll absolutely miss the wonderful Client Services team, but as a design buff I’m incredibly excited to take on this new position! Greg studied Sociology at the Greg Maguire - photography work 1University of Colorado in Boulder and spent 4 years with Apple before making his way to the Arts People team.

Greg mentions, “I’m an avid patron of the arts and enjoy all forms of performing arts, though I’m particularly fond of live music events. Greg Maguire - photography work 3As for my own artistic endeavors, I’m a dedicated photographer who spends most of his early weekend mornings trying to catch the light at sunrise.” Attached you’ll see some recent photography work from Greg.

Congratulations Greg! We’re excited to have you in this new role.