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Last Build Date: Thu, 27 Apr 2017 18:12:35 +0000


Being Treated Like Somebody on Your Birthday (and Everyday)

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 13:00:43 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Samantha Colbert, Senior Client Administrator, Patron Technology. 
Today, April 27th, is my dad’s birthday! I got him something, and my mom will likely take him out to dinner, or maybe go see a movie, or head to one of their favorite entertainment venues in the area, but they’re most likely to go where they know they’ll get a good deal, especially if it’s a deal because it’s his birthday!
I talked to my dad last week and asked him about his birthday plans, or, if he expects any gifts. Here’s some of our conversation:
Me: When you think about birthday rewards, what comes to mind?
Dad: Usually it’s a restaurant. It’s nice when you go out to eat and you get your cupcake with a candle in it and they sing happy birthday. I don’t know if those are necessarily a loyalty reward, but a business is trying to gain your favor by making a fuss over the fact that it’s your birthday…
Me: Okay, but outside of servers singing Happy Birthday to you, have you signed up for any birthday clubs specifically?
Dad: Nope.
Me: Why not?
Dad: No one tells me about them, they don’t advertise for it, and it’s not something I ever really think to ask about.
I proceeded to tell my dad that almost every restaurant I can think of, fast food, sit down, and so on, has some sort of birthday club from IHOP for Breakfast to Ice Cream for dessert, you could go a whole day (or week!) on free food. Earlier this month on this blog, Acount Executive Kirsten Main discussed why she finally became a member at an organization, and the same is true for birthday perks.
The truth of the matter is, birthday or membership perks are a great way to collect information about the people who frequent your organization. This can teach you about your demographic, keep people interested in upcoming events, and offer an incentive to visit! Patrons need to stay opted in to receive their birthday rewards, and in the meantime you can remind them about upcoming events, even when it isn’t their birthday! Here’s some ...

The post Being Treated Like Somebody
on Your Birthday (and Everyday)
appeared first on Patron Technology.

Managing Humans: Interviewing

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 13:00:10 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is the second in a six part series by Rachel Hands, Senior Manager, Client Administration, Patron Technology. Click here to read part one. 
In our first post in this series, we looked at how to write an accurate, inclusive job posting that sells your position to the right candidates. Now that your applications have started rolling in, it’s time to prepare for your next step: interviewing candidates.
If you don’t already have an applicant management system, there’s no better time to establish one. It doesn’t have to be fancy HR software; I personally use a combination of Trello and Google apps to manage applications for our Client Administration team. Here’s what I find valuable about it:

Keeping track of what phase each applicant is in: are we ready to do a screening, a first interview, a reference check?
Connecting my notes with the applicant’s resume and cover letter
Sharing the applicant’s resume and cover letter – but not my notes – with other colleagues participating in the interview process
Keeping an outline of my standard questions and the information I need to convey
Collecting feedback from colleagues in a way that’s consistent with our evaluation rubric (check out this Medium post for some inspiration)

Speaking of those colleagues who are participating in the interview process, how do you go about choosing who participates in the interview? If your organization has more than a few employees, you may be able to pick and choose from among your staff; if you’re a solo or two-person operation, you might want to rope in a board member or two to round things out.
When asking colleagues to participate in interviews, I look for a few factors I consider “must-haves”:

Does this person understand the requirements of the position we’re hiring for?
Do I trust this person to give me their candid feedback? (If the person thinks I really like a candidate, will they be willing to give me their concerns?)
Do I trust this person to evaluate candidates in the best interest of the team?

Okay, so now you’ve gathered your team, and you’re ready to prepare your questions. We won’t go too ...

The post Managing Humans: Interviewing appeared first on Patron Technology.

There Is No Such Thing As An Excess of Access

Thu, 20 Apr 2017 13:00:30 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Natalie Petruch, Implementation Specialist, Patron Technology.
Once upon a time when I was a young audio apprentice in Maryland, I went on a backstage tour of Everyman Theatre in Baltimore. While the whole experience was phenomenal, what really stood out to me was the fact that they offered Closed Captioning of their performances through an app called Simultext that allowed patrons to follow along with the play being performed while reading the script from the comfort of their own (or a loaner) iPod/iPhone.
As I, at the time, was in a seemingly constant battle to keep an antiquated assisted listening system up to date, this seemed like the wave of the future. It has always been my opinion that as artists, we have an obligation not only to create art that emotionally resonates with our patrons but also to ensure that this art is accessible. However, upon seeing that Closed Captioning system, I realized that I had been ignorant not only to newer accessibility options but also to lesser known ones. And with that, I began my foray into arts accessibility.
When discussing the accessibility of your organization and artistic offerings, there are a few different questions that must be asked:

Are there any accessibility needs within your organization’s patron demographic?
Are those needs being met?
Are there other communities that could be better served?
Is there room in the budget for accessibility improvements?
If some accessibility options exist, are patrons able to provide feedback on their availability and ease of use?
Is your organization compliant with federal and state accessibility laws?

With all of these things in mind, let’s talk a little about what communities may require a little more access:
Patrons With Mobility Concerns:
While a large portion of an organization’s ability to be cognizant of mobility-impaired individuals is ingrained in the venue’s architecture and must comply with ADA regulations and standards, there are some other things to consider. Does your organization offer early seating or advanced entrance? Are there chairs in your lobby or front entrance for individuals who may not be able to stand for long periods of time?
Patrons Who Are Hearing-Impaired:
While your organization ...

The post There Is No Such Thing As An Excess of Access appeared first on Patron Technology.

Personalizing the Renewal Call

Tue, 18 Apr 2017 13:00:02 +0000

Last week I received a telemarketing call from an arts organization that sounded like this:
“Hello, this is Sally, I’m calling from (name of a summer festival I attended a few times last year and am a donor to) and I am calling to tell you that the donor early-buying period is about to end. If you’d like to secure the best seats and early pricing, please call me back and I’ll be glad to help you. My number is…”
I didn’t call back even though I intend to buy tickets for this organization again. That got me thinking about what would have motivated me to call Sally back. And after a few hours it hit me:
“Hello, this is Sally, I’m calling from  (name of a summer festival I attended a few times last year and am a donor to) to let you know I have taken a look at the events you attended last summer and I’ve put together a selection of 4 shows I think you’ll really like. As a donor, I can offer you a reduced price during our donor buying window which ends on Friday afternoon. I think you’ll really like the selection I’ve picked out and look forward to telling you more about it. My number is…”
The first approach is generic and price driven, while the second is personalized. I’m sure you recognize that more and more aspects of our world are becoming customized — from a crafted Starbucks drink to a subscription service that sends you a selection of customized doggie treats every month, it seems like the more you personalize the experience the more your patrons feel like you know them. And over the years, our research has conclusively proven that when an arts patron feels like you know them they will buy more often and donate more money.
Of course, to do this well, you need what every sophisticated marketer has today — a sophisticated CRM system that helps you automate and organize this kind of personalized approach.
Many of you are just embarking upon subscription renewal season. Maybe this is the year to take this kind of personalized approach?

The post Personalizing the Renewal Call appeared first on Patron Technology.

You (the Vendor) and the Vendors Who Vend to You

Thu, 13 Apr 2017 13:00:08 +0000

6 Things to Keep in Mind That’ll Improve Your Vendor Relationships
Today’s guest blog post is written by Ben Ferber, IT Coordinator and Office Manager, Patron Technology.
You’re probably a person who works for an arts organization. Your organization sells stuff to people. But before you can sell stuff, your organization needs to buy stuff — and you probably buy stuff from a vendor.
Buying stuff from a vendor is different than buying stuff as a regular person. The relationship you forge is almost always deeper and more complicated. So here are six things to keep in mind before you make that call or click that link:
1. Your vendor will treat you like a company, rather than a person.
To your vendor, you’re a huge faceless organization. They know next to nothing about you — they probably don’t even know what your company does. And they might not care.
Over-the-phone interactions will make you feel like you’re a robot talking to a wall. They might offer you stuff you have no need for. They might offer a deal outside of your price range or physical scale: “You can buy 6000 of our product for 75% the price per unit!” You’ll have to make them understand who you are, what you need, and what you’re able to afford.
To your vendor, reeling in a tiny fish (i.e. a regular person) is easy, and if they lose it they probably didn’t waste too much time on it. Reeling in a huge fish, however (an arts organization, in your case), takes time, patience, and strength. If they lose you, it’s a big deal to them — so they’re more likely than not going to treat you like you’re an enormous well-respected operation with a huge budget, even if you’re actually a three-person operation.
They’ll be respectful; they’ll want to make you happy. You can probably get a reduced price out of them, too, with much more ease than if you were one person. And, they may also offer you time-based discounts and promotions.
But remember: they don’t really know you and your company, unless you tell them what you do, and how you’re going to do it with their products. Once they ...

The post You (the Vendor) and the
Vendors Who Vend to You
appeared first on Patron Technology.

The Assault on the NEA — Motivate, Don’t Panic

Tue, 11 Apr 2017 13:00:07 +0000

Those of us working in and around the arts for decades know well that the National Endowment for the Arts has been a target of presidential threats in nearly every administration’s budget proposal. And the steadfast and continuing work of Americans for the Arts has been all about defending the NEA to unsupportive presidents for years.
What makes this time different is that this president, Donald Trump, has unsurprisingly set out a more extreme position — the elimination of the NEA — than any previous administration has yet proposed. Though I haven’t read The Art of the Deal, we know that Trump relishes the emotional (and media) bump he gets from establishing an outrageous position from which to negotiate. The NEA is hardly the only organization he has targeted with this negotiation tactic — Trump’s entire budget proposal is designed as a radical statement. And the recent failure of the repeal of Obamacare was the first real bit of evidence that although extreme positions get the media atwitter, they may not so easily result in actual policy change.
As concerns the merits, you don’t need me to reinforce why the NEA matters — and recently The New York Times published the best such article on the subject I have read on the subject to date. As we know, the arts are a “double-bottom line” enterprise — beyond the value of the arts for their own sake, the arts create jobs, spur community redevelopment, and generate travel and dining spending. It has long been proven that investments in the arts pay back. It’s also the case that in Europe the arts are a fundamental part of every state and city budget, and in fact in some cases 100 percent of the expenditures come from the state, making private philanthropy unnecessary. In many parts of Europe, the arts are unquestionably as much a part of any budget as is infrastructure, health care, or defense. The idea that we allocate merely $150 million a year on shoring up the industry called “arts” has always been ludicrous.
My instinct is that when the debate about the budget really gets going, ...

The post The Assault on the NEA — Motivate, Don’t Panic appeared first on Patron Technology.

Don’t Have An Intern Run Your Social Media… #Really

Thu, 06 Apr 2017 13:00:39 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Matthew Robinson, Senior Implementation Specialist, Patron Technology.
No disrespect meant here, I have been an intern myself — and I fully value what they (we) bring to the table: a fresh perspective, an influx of new information into the organization, LOTS of energy… and don’t forget coffee. One thing that I have noticed in some smaller arts organizations is the mindset that social media is not a legitimate piece of the marketing plan, but just an extra-curricular side project. Because of this, managing social media usually gets assigned to an intern — because after all, every millennial knows how to tweet, right? After that happens, it is never revisited again.
Consider this — would you task an intern with holding a daily press conference for all of your subscribers? Surely you wouldn’t (well, depending on organization bandwidth, you might. #nojudgements). But that is essentially what is happening when you give out your organization’s Facebook login information. Any and all posts, tweets, shares, follows, insta-snaps etc… are forwarded to your patrons — and usually directly to their mobile devices, which likely are on their person. This connection is part of the power that social media can bring to a company of any size. But, as we learned from Spider-Man, “with great power there must also come great responsibility.”
The responsibility here is to ensure that the information posted is accurate, matching your brand, useful to your mission, and is sent at times when patrons will be most likely to see it. Neglecting these responsibilities risks wasting institutional energy, or potentially creating bad publicity for your organization.
Keep things correct
I’m sure someone at Google spent a not-small portion of their life making sure that the spell checker in Google Chrome works. You should certainly use it — every time. But remember, spell check won’t ensure that the date and time listed for the event you’re promoting is correct. Before you hit that big blue button, give it a read — especially if you are composing your message from a cell phone. You want to be sure the post says what you actually want it to say, rather than what “you’re iPhone ...

The post Don’t Have An Intern Run
Your Social Media… #Really
appeared first on Patron Technology.

Why I Finally Became A Member

Tue, 04 Apr 2017 13:00:28 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Kirsten Main, Account Executive, Patron Technology.
Full disclosure: although I am immersed in the arts through both my work and personal interests, I have never bought a membership to an arts organization. Ever.
I have all sorts of good excuses for why I never joined. In my younger years, I rode along on my family’s museum memberships. The membership cards were conveniently tacked up in the kitchen for anyone’s use, and there always seemed to be free guest passes rattling around in case we wanted to use them. In more recent years, I have checked out free passes from our local library when we want to go on a family museum trip (a truly wonderful benefit of having a library card). Or, more typically, I simply buy admission tickets when we go to a museum or cultural center. Having a membership seemed, well, unnecessary.
That said, I have occasionally entertained the thought of ponying up for a membership, especially to my local arts organization. This is a venue that I frequent often, where I attend everything from film screenings to flamenco performances. Yet, I never got around to joining. I gave occasional contributions – that was basically the same as a membership, right? I also reasoned (albeit with odd logic) that I was better supporting the organization by not being a member, because it meant I was purchasing full price tickets.
This all excuse making changed one evening in the popcorn line. As we waited to grab our pre-movie snacks at a recent film screening, a volunteer approached our group, clipboard in hand, and said:
“Hello there! Say, are you all members?”
“Errrr…. no,” I replied.
“Would you like to be? We would love for you to join us and become a member. Would you like to sign up? We can have you all set by the time the movie starts.”
That was the pitch. And it worked. I signed up, and am now an official member of this terrific organization.
After all these years of non-commitment, what changed? Why now? It’s simple: someone asked me.
Apparently, I am not the only one who needed to be asked, because as it ...

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Managing Your Social Media

Thu, 30 Mar 2017 13:00:08 +0000

The good news (and the bad news) about social media is that you can track whatever you want. It drives me crazy when I ask marketers for basic information about the results of their social media efforts, and they simply don’t know.
There’s no excuse for that. If you’re reading this thinking that would be your answer, then I am happy to direct you to this exhaustive list of third-party (free and paid) social media tracking tools from the folks at Buffer. In addition to the third-party tools, it contains a second list of all of the analytics dashboards that are provided by the site developers themselves, such as those from Facebook, Instagram, and Linked-in.
Before you click on the link, reserve about 20 minutes and think hard about what really matters to your organization in terms of social media success. If you’re going to invest time, energy, and resources into social media, start by asking yourself what your ideal end result is. Then, poke around this list — I’m sure you’ll find a way to track it here.  

The post Managing Your Social Media appeared first on Patron Technology.

Odd Today, Commonplace Tomorrow; Photo Algorithms Will Change The World

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 13:00:35 +0000

The first time I saw someone talking to themselves sitting in a restaurant I thought it was extremely odd. Then I realized they were talking on a phone with a dangly cord in front of their lips. But what was unusual only a few years ago is now completely commonplace.
However, when you read this article entitled The Surprising Things Algorithms Can Glean About You From Photos, you may not be able to imagine a day when this stuff is considered “normal.” What the article talks about is the idea that there is technology being built that can aggregate data from photographs and draw a conclusion from it. Alternatively, the analysis of data within a picture can also provide interesting (scary) revelations. Consider this paragraph from the article:
Photo-recognition systems can also be used to interpret the environment in which a photo was taken. Several years ago, a small tech company called Jetpac identified and categorized the content of 150 million photos posted publicly on Instagram to build a directory of businesses searchable by their characteristics. If the photos taken at a restaurant showed a lot of mouths wearing lipstick, Jetpac’s app would tag the spot as “dressy.” If most of the faces in a photo of a bar were male, it would tag the spot as a gay bar. (Jetpac was acquired by Google in 2014.)
Taking this a step further, I can imagine a time when an arts marketer might take a picture from the front row of the audience of a show, and have it analyzed to determine the age and/or demographics of those attending. Rather than doing a survey, a digital image properly interpreted could reveal the same information.
Taking this a step further, how about those pictures that are taken at a gala event? Imagine engaging a photo-recognition app to identify who the people were that came as guests of one of your board members. These guests are often “phantom” prospects that you don’t know, but you’d like to identify later.
I suspect all this conjecture may be making you a bit uncomfortable, but some of this seems inevitable. Just remember, years ago it seemed magical (if not a ...

The post Odd Today, Commonplace Tomorrow;
Photo Algorithms Will Change The World
appeared first on Patron Technology.