First impressions last

White paper: Using separate systems is costing you patron loyalty, sales and donations

We all know that the key to sustainability, increased earned and contributed revenue is cultivating relationships with your patrons. This takes the building of trust and loyalty over time.  We need to walk patrons up our engagement ladder from single ticket buyer to donor to subscriber to major donor to advocate.  The ways in which the patron interacts with us online, via our office… these make up a critical component to building that trust and relationship over time.

If you’re using different systems for various types of transactions and patron interactions, this can drive a wedge between you and the patron you’re wanting to cultivate.  When they see some third party company on the screen where they are buying tickets, or on the ticket itself, or the receipt, how do they feel about your brand, your customer service, your interest in them?

In this free whitepaper we’ll discuss the strategic importance of a unified system toward ticketing,  fundraising and more.

 

Request a download link for this white paper:

Note that you will have 10 minutes to download your requested document from the email received.

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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. www.patrickspike.com

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.

 

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 whitepages.com 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.

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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. www.patrickspike.com

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.

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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. www.patrickspike.com

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.  

marketing segmentation

White paper: Utilizing live data to generate buyer, interest and ranking groups for patron targeted marketing

Marketing of your performing arts events and organization is no longer one size fits all.  To increase patron loyalty and to trigger the best possible sales results you must segment and tailor your messages to your specific sub-sets of patrons based on their buying patterns, areas of interest and level of support.

Live data will help you to test and market your events more effectively and efficiently.  Organized clearly and efficiently for you in the Arts People system, leverage our easy to use marketing interface to quickly pull, merge and segment your patrons.

Out of these efforts will be increased sales, heightened patron loyalty, and statistics that you can use toward sponsorship and grant writing success.

Download our free white paper with detailed instructions on how to create patron groupings to which your messaging can be tailored, tested, honed and executed.

 

Request a download link for this white paper:

Note that you will have 10 minutes to download your requested document from the email received.

—-

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. www.patrickspike.com

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.

 

White paper: Creating a functional paper backup for box office operations

Paper backup plan BOur Client Services team has created a document to help performing arts box office managers create a paper backup plan and kit for those rare instances when computers or internet connection might go down.  While the Arts People system leads the industry in low system down time, you never know when a computer might fail, or the internet connection might drop out. It’s best to have a well planned kit of supplies and instructions read on the shelf to carry out box office operations until things are humming along again.  Also, make sure your staff is trained thoroughly on it’s use.  Read more in our white paper on best practices to make sure you’re not caught without a parachute.

Request a download link for this white paper:

Note that you will have 10 minutes to download your requested document from the email received.

White paper: Best practices to backup your internet connection

We all know that you can’t always count on your primary internet connection to be up and purring along at all times. Things happen either with your own equipment or with the internet itself to cause down time. How should you prepare for these instances to make sure you don’t lose sales and patrons?  The Arts People staff have put together a white paper to help you for just such emergencies.

Request a download link for this white paper:

Note that you will have 10 minutes to download your requested document from the email received.

computer virus

Avoiding viruses and more: Keeping your computers safe and secure

With computer viruses, malware and ransomeware such as the recent Wannacry outbreak in the news regularly, it’s obviously important to keep your computers and networks clean, safe and secure.  There are basic steps you can take and educate users on to help make sure this is an ongoing effort and that you don’t have problems.

First, keep our computer operating system and software up to date

  1. This is the single most important message from our network administrator here at Arts People. The recent massive attack of the Wannacry ransomeware was entirely about out of date computers.  If those computers had updated their windows operating system before hand they would not have been affected.
  2. If you have a computer that is tool old to upgrade to the latest operating system, you should look into updating the hardware, or retiring the computer in favor of a new one.

Maintain strong and up to date anti-virus systems

  1. These tools work well, but only if they are updated regularly and are scheduled to run automatically.  Make sure the settings are correct to keep things updated and tested.
  2. Use a trusted anti-virus software system.  If on an office network, consider a system that can be administered by one person and pushed out and configured automatically on all computers on the network.

Make sure your users understand how viruses are delivered to a computer.

  1. They should not open attachments in emails that they are not sure are safe.
  2. Any executable file such as a program to install something on their machine are suspect.  If they receive something that doesn’t seem typical from a friend or colleague they should check with that person first to ensure they intended to send it and find out what it is before opening it.
  3. Visiting websites that are suspicious or unknown can implant malware or other malicious content.
  4. When in doubt, don’t open it or watch it.

If you are on a large office network, establish firewalls and restrictions to protect against vulnerabilities, and post a clear set of rules for user conduct while using those machines.

  1. Your network administrator is able to configure your computers to not allow software download and installation, so only that person can approve software upgrades and installs.  This will help protect against inadvertent malicious software installations on the machines.
  2. Make sure users understand what they should and should not be doing on work computers.
  3. Some ISP’s allow you to restrict the types of websites users are allowed to visit.  This can sometimes help to keep them away from sites that could secretly install malicious code.

Using some basic and fairly simple to configure restrictions and rules, you can greatly reduce the possibility of becoming victim to viruses.  Knowledge by users of how viruses can gain access also is a huge weapon against these issues as well.

Lastly, remember that it’s always good to back up your data regularly to an external hard drive and also a cloud drive.  Paper backup for any processes you might have is also recommended.  Prepare a kit in a banker box of instructions and materials for what to do in the event of computer or network failure.  Computers break down. Internet connections drop out.  We all know this.  So make sure you’re operation and staff are ready to handle it smoothly.

The Arts People system runs on advanced Amazon servers protected automatically and were not affected in any way by the Wannacry ransomware.

 


Patrick Spike - Marketing Director for 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. www.patrickspike.com.

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.