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PatronManager CRM: One Database for Ticketing, Marketing, and Development

Last Build Date: Fri, 23 Feb 2018 20:20:40 +0000


Why a Career in the Arts is the Best Business Training You Can Get

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 14:00:00 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Christa Avampato, Director of Product Development, PatronManager.
About two years ago, I went to the Kennedy Center’s Arts Summit. It was a gathering of about 150 arts professionals, hosted by Yo-Yo Ma, and focused on Citizen Artistry, the idea of using the arts to influence positive change in people’s lives. I was one of the only people there who had worked in an industry other than the arts, and one of exactly two people who had an MBA. Several people asked me why I ever thought about pairing my artistic interest with business training. I told them that art and business are equal partners, not adversaries. In an artistic organization, you need business skills just as much as you need artistic talent. And in all organizations, business people have a lot to learn from artists.
This was puzzling to a lot of people, and that’s when a lightbulb went off for me. How could I bring the arts and business, and more specifically people who work in both disciplines, together to learn from one another? At the end of the Summit, everyone had to create a card to describe their career goal for the year. Here I am with my card:

“I commit to helping artists find the business people within them, and to helping business people find the artists within them.”
My life and my career have never been a binary choice between the arts and business. They’ve always been a package deal for me. And I wanted to find a way to work that mission into my career. I started my career twenty years ago in company management of Broadway shows and national theater tours. It has been a long and winding road since then. In all of these experiences, I say without hesitation that my work in theater has been the best business training I’ve ever had.
I so fervently believe this that when people ask me “how can I enhance my business skills?”, I tell them to go produce a live performance.
Here are the business skills we wield to produce a live show:

Meeting a preset, non-negotiable deadline (that curtain is going up on time ...

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Best Business Training You Can Get
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Defining Your Customer Service Culture Before It Defines You

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 14:00:00 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Gary Lustig, Principal of LusTicks Consulting. Gary has been in the ticketing industry for over three decades, most recently as Vice President of the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts.
– Gene Carr, Founder
Over 30+ years since we have seen the evolution from a physical box office being the primary sales outlet, to a multi-channel distribution network that includes the traditional “in-person” venue box office, mail-order, fax, telephone, web, social media and third-party partnerships with companies like Goldstar.
As the number of channels have grown, patron expectations have grown as well. While the web (mobile & desktop) is now the primary tool to “transact” a ticket sale, patrons expect to choose how they interact with your organization. Meeting customer’s service needs requires a well-thought-out and integrated approach to technology, marketing, policy-making and staff hiring and training.
According to research from Accenture, 45% of consumers will pay more for products and services that provide a higher level of customer service. This very much includes the “product” of arts and culture. This article will help you understand the importance of assessing your current service culture and learn ways to ensure that your technology, people, and company practices are best aligned to help you attract and retain patrons and drive revenue in today’s increasingly competitive bid for consumer’s entertainment dollars.
We will explore four broad categories to consider when thinking about your organization’s customer service: Mission & Culture; Metrics; Obstacles and Empowerment.
Mission & Culture – Does your organization have a clearly defined “Customer Service Mission?” No organization consciously strives to deliver poor service or have a negative service culture. However, if you haven’t clearly defined your organization’s customer service mission, a service culture will develop by default, and it may not be the one you think it is or want. Without clear direction from top management all the way to the front-lines, your front-line service providers are left without guidance in dealing with service issues that naturally arise. Every organization should have a well thought out and clearly communicated service mission that is backed by its entire management team and becomes a part of all ...

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Before It Defines You
appeared first on Patron Technology.

Quantitative Storytime: The Tales Your Data Can Tell

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 14:00:36 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Kathryn Schmitt, Data Project Coordinator, PatronManager. 
People love a good story. This is more than a cliche; it’s a fact supported by mountains of research. The human brain responds to stories with increased empathy and attentiveness. When used deliberately in communications, stories can increase engagement and motivate action. So what, exactly, does that have to do with you and your business?
I’ve got news for you: everyone who works at your arts organization or nonprofit is a storyteller. Every day, you and your colleagues use different mediums to tell your story. Your marketing department uses social media to tell the story of your mission. Your fundraising department tells the story of your impact through dollar amounts. Your operations department embodies the story of your day-to-day efforts to influence and motivate. Storytelling is everywhere, and it’s crucial to your success.
Stories create emotional connections, which can motivate donors and buyers. Data, on the other hand, proves without question your effectiveness and measured outcomes. But the best and most successful campaigns combine an effective narrative with quantitative data. In other words, you want to engage your listener and offer proof at the same time. Take a look at these three examples:

The Southeastern Toy Bank donated nearly 7,000 toys.
The Southeastern Toy Bank brought smiles to children in need across the region.
The Southeastern Toy Bank has brought smiles to over 3,500 children by donating nearly 7,000 toys to local hospitals and shelters.

The third example illustrates a simple but effective formula; it uses language to tug at the heartstrings, and it also gives context and hard figures which help motivate the reader to act. To utilize your data in storytelling most effectively, choose it wisely! Ask yourself if the piece of data you’re considering will help prove your point. Irrelevant statistics will harm your campaign more than help it. And consider your audience when choosing which data to include. What will they enjoy listening to? What will motivate them to action? It’s also important to remember, a group of theatergoers doesn’t necessarily have the same wants and needs as your board members, so make sure to tailor your data-driven stories towards ...

The post Quantitative Storytime:
The Tales Your Data Can Tell
appeared first on Patron Technology.

Google Searches the Ticketing Industry

Tue, 13 Feb 2018 14:00:57 +0000

Last month I had the opportunity to hear Michal Lorenc, Head of Industry for Ticketing & Live Events at Google, give a keynote talk at the INTIX conference in Baltimore. (Who knew Google even had someone thinking about the ticketing industry?)
Google analyzed the behavior of its customers related to the ticketing industry, and the findings reaffirm many things I’ve been writing about for years. However, hearing this directly from the source was inspiring, and the presentation provided a wealth of interesting (and often staggeringly surprising) data that is relevant for all of us. Here are a few highlights:
Video Motivates: Google found that people who engage with a sports team on YouTube, and watch five or more of that team’s videos, are four times more likely to buy tickets to one of the team’s games. I’ve long been advocating the increased use of video as a driver of interest, and this 400 percent increase is a data point worth paying attention to!  
Digital Advertising at a Tipping Point: Lorenc shared data from eMarketer predicting there will be some $219 billion of ad spending in the United States in 2018, of which digital will be $94 billion. That number dwarfs advertising spending on television, which is dwindling and now projected to be just $72 billion. How much digital advertising does your organization do?
The March to Mobile: Lorenc offered these data points to emphasize the continued importance of mobile:

Mobile searches on Google for terms related to ticketing exceed the number of those searches made from a home or office computer.   
Of the digital advertising referred to above, 66% percent of it will be spent on digital mobile advertising in ‘18 rising to 87% in ‘19.
The performance of your organization’s website on mobile devices is critical. According to Lorenc, more than half of visits to websites are abandoned if the site takes more than three seconds to load on a mobile device.

Computers as Helpers: Lorenc described a concept he called “the age of assistance.” He said that more and more, consumers are expecting technology to help them, much as a human assistant might have done in the past. If ...

The post Google Searches the Ticketing Industry appeared first on Patron Technology.

Credit Card Data Safety: You Can’t Afford Not To

Thu, 08 Feb 2018 14:00:50 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Alex Pagano, Documentation Supervisor, PatronManager. 
Hello, hi everyone, thanks for coming to tonight’s article. Looks like we have a great crowd, so let’s jump right in — show of hands, who handles credit card information on a regular basis? Let’s see…. Mm-hmm, that’s just about everybody in the room. OK, and I think I know the answer to this one, but just to check — how many of you feel like you could run your organization if you suddenly couldn’t accept credit cards tomorrow? Yeah, I’m not sure anybody could; my hand is down, too.
The fact is, credit card information is an integral part of how we do business. In the 2016 U.S. Consumer Payment Study by TSYS, 75% of consumers said they preferred to pay with plastic, and only 11% preferred to pay with cash.1 Think about the ways patrons pay you with credit or debit cards: recurring donations, mail-in subscription orders, online donations and ticket orders, walk-up sales the night of the show… can you imagine not being able to utilize these revenue methods?  
And yet, many organizations are a whole lot closer to this nightmare scenario than they realize. Plenty of risks come with accepting credit card payments — specifically to organizations without the proper policy and technology solutions in place to mitigate those risks.
You need only read the news to find a reason be concerned for your credit card data security: Target and Yahoo! in 2013, eBay and JP Morgan in 2014, Uber in 2016, Equifax in 2017,2 and OnePlus just last month.3 If gigantic companies like these can be hacked, with entire teams dedicated to security infrastructure, nonprofit organizations certainly have risks to consider. Need proof? Look no further than Utah Food Bank, who had just over 10,000 donor records (each including names, addresses, and credit card numbers) stolen in 2015.4
So how can that happen to you, and to your organization? Each point in a transaction, each computer with sensitive data on it, is a potential security breach. Credit card readers can be tampered with if left unattended, even if just for a few moments. Malware can be installed ...

The post Credit Card Data Safety: You Can’t Afford Not To appeared first on Patron Technology.

Because It’s Always Been a Matter of Trust

Tue, 06 Feb 2018 14:00:23 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Kevin Patterson, Senior Account Executive, PatronManager.
With the current tax legislation now the law of the land, there has been much angst over how various parts of it will hurt donations to non-profits. Though there is some merit to these discussions (changes in tax policy always creates winners and losers), too much attention has been given to only one reason why donors give to non-profit organizations. I would submit that the financial consequences of the tax legislation will not be equal to all the fuss that is being made. To borrow a lyric from pop troubadour Billy Joel, “It’s always been a matter of trust.” The majority of donations are not about taxpayer financial benefits, but organizations that are effective in building donor trust.
In a recent article in The Conversation, authors Sara Konrath and Femida Handy published their findings, 5 reasons why people give their money away – plus 1 why they don’t. In it, Konrath and Handy not only draw from previous research done by two Dutch researchers that collected information from 500 other papers, but they also conducted their own research into why people choose to support the causes they do.
Some of the results confirm what we already know about donors:

Most people give to causes that affirm important values, including compassion for those in need.
Donors are more likely to give when they think their donation will make a difference.

However, donors also consider the costs and benefits of making a donation. How will it benefit them? Will donating leave them feeling or looking good to others? It is interesting to note that in all the research conducted, donors rarely gave just because someone asked them to do so. So what motivates donors to give?
Konrath and Handy concluded that donors are most likely motivated to give based on 5 key factors from most important to least: altruism, trust, social, egoism and taxes.

It’s All About Trust
People will often give to an organization that they feel will make the best use of their donation. In being altruistic in nature, they are identifying with the mission of the ...

The post Because It’s Always Been a Matter of Trust appeared first on Patron Technology.

The Importance of Knowing Your Fundraising Asking Style

Thu, 01 Feb 2018 14:00:58 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Dana Phillips, Implementation Specialist, PatronManager. 
I’m writing today with some powerful insights on the art of asking, and how to use your “asking style” to increase your fundraising potential. I am an alumna of the University of Georgia’s Nonprofit Management Graduate Program where one of my main focuses was fund development. I had the pleasure of working with some amazing development professionals who totally changed the way I thought about fundraising.
One of the key things to understand about soliciting donations is that your personality plays a big role in how you go about asking for a donation. Brian Saber and Andrea Kihlstedt founded Asking Matters after years of working in the development world. They came up with a unique assessment that will assist you in understanding your solicitation style. Once you know what your style is, as well as the styles of the other members of your development team, you can begin to play to each other’s strengths and really hone in on a robust development strategy.
You can take the free quiz now on Asking Matters! Your results will place you in one of four categories:
Analytic Extrovert (Rainmaker) — This style means you can fearlessly ask anyone for a donation and you are passionate about building and maintaining strong relationships. You are extremely goal oriented and thrive on making educated decisions.
Intuitive Extrovert (Go-Getter) — This style means you act on instinct when forming relationships with potential donors. Individuals who fall into this style are magnetic; people are drawn to their natural passion and friendliness.
Analytic Introvert (Mission Controller) — This style means you prefer to have a wealth of information handy so that you can be well prepared and informed. You tend to make sure that all of the details are squared away, and everything is clearly defined before making an ask.
Intuitive Introvert (Kindred Spirit) — This style means you rely heavily on intuition and have a deep passion for the organization or cause. You do your best in one-on-one situations and truly believe in helping people.
Every Development department is made up of individuals who fall into one of these four categories. You’ll ...

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Diversity Success Underscores Fundamental Marketing Strategy

Tue, 30 Jan 2018 14:00:23 +0000

We often hear about efforts made to diversify arts audiences, but not often are the results as impressive as they are at the High Museum in Atlanta. In a recent Artnet News article titled “How the High Museum in Atlanta Tripled Its Nonwhite Audience in Two Years,” the author outlines not only the museum’s success (a tripling of its non-white audience) but also how they did it. It’s a terrific guide for any arts organization embarking upon the same goal.
What struck me as particularly relevant was its approach to marketing. According to the article:
Before 2015, the High spent the vast majority of its marketing budget on the promotion of a few blockbuster exhibitions. The result, Suffolk says, was that most locals didn’t think of the museum as a place that fostered regular, repeat visits. If the blockbuster shows didn’t appeal, they had no reason to go. If the blockbuster shows didn’t appeal, they had no reason to go. Now, the High spends 60 percent of its marketing budget to promote a cross-section of its exhibitions.
There often is a fundamental tension in the arts between promoting a big show versus promoting a relationship with an institution. The former tends to work in the short-run. If you have a big production—the likes of, say, a Hamilton—and that’s what you promote, you’ll surely bring in the audience. But converting that audience to see the rest of your season is going to be a challenge. We know this is also the case when we try to convert those who came to a free symphony concert in the park into becoming regular season ticket holders.
The better, and longer-term strategy is to build a relationship with your patrons based the value of your institution as a whole. When you market the institution, people become attached to what you stand for, and they will come back. That’s certainly a big part of what the High Museum did, and it’s a strategy worth repeating over and over.

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What Do Gyms and Arts Organizations Have in Common?

Thu, 25 Jan 2018 14:00:11 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Samantha Colbert, Senior Client Administrator, PatronManager. 
Around this time of year, you’ll start to see gyms and fitness centers offer huge discounts for new members joining in January; a result of New Year’s resolutions that they’re “really going to stick to this time!” A lot of people will join gyms this month, and some of them will stick with it, but most won’t. However, many gyms, while happy to make the quick New Year’s resolution buck, are more invested in getting patrons who will continue to come back, make progress, and be someone who says “look at what I was able to do at this gym!” The long-term patron is far more profitable to them than the New Years Resolution-er.
There are many ways that gyms work to get long-term patrons in their doors. What’s to say that some of those tactics couldn’t work for an arts organization as well? Help your patrons meet their resolution of attending several arts events this year by trying out a few of these strategies that gyms and fitness centers are already doing. Your organization might already be doing some of these, but others may be entirely new concepts:

Meet and Greet — Arts organizations likely use this idea a lot, but really put some thought into what it means. Meet your patrons at the door, give ‘em a handshake and a hello! Let them know that you’re really glad that they are here. Ask them if they know much about that day’s performance or that month’s featured exhibit. Assure them that they’ll love it! Engage right from the get-go, and patrons will be more likely to stay engaged.
“Off-Peak” — There’s that one day when everything is a little bit slower, and crowds are a little bit lighter. On those days consider reducing prices for a time, or allowing kids to enter free of charge. If things are slow, give people a reason to come out!
Free Events — Studies show that patrons are more interested in “free” over “discounted” by a wide margin. And, no, it doesn’t matter if they only have to pay a penny, free is still better ...

The post What Do Gyms and Arts Organizations
Have in Common?
appeared first on Patron Technology.

Why You Can Run Your Organization More Like Google

Tue, 23 Jan 2018 14:00:15 +0000

I’ve always been an advocate for focusing on non-technical skills as an essential quality when it comes to hiring employees. As it turns out, these kinds of skills (often called “soft skills”) are also what the tech giant Google values most in the recruitment process.
In a fascinating Washington Post article, this is outlined in some detail. Quoting the article:
The seven top characteristics of success at Google are all soft skills: being a good coach; communicating and listening well; possessing insights into others (including others different values and points of view); having empathy toward and being supportive of one’s colleagues; being a good critical thinker and problem solver; and being able to make connections across complex ideas.Those traits sound more like what one gains as an English or theater major than as a programmer.
Yes, exactly! And aren’t those just the kinds of employees that tend to work for arts organizations? So, if you’re hiring the same way as Google (notoriously one of the hardest Corporations to get a job at), then the secret to managerial success appears not to be the people alone, but the leadership of them.
It’s clear to me that those organizations whose leadership prizes communication, openness, transparency, coaching, and empathy amongst employees (and across departments) tend to be more successful in the long run. We see this every day across our industry, and I hope that as we move through 2018, more organizations will place an increased value on these fundamentals qualities. 

The post Why You Can Run Your Organization
More Like Google
appeared first on Patron Technology.