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Last Build Date: Thu, 25 May 2017 13:00:25 +0000


Why Big Data Isn’t Enough: The Influence of Emotion and Neuroscience Over Marketing in the Arts

Thu, 25 May 2017 13:00:25 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Kathryn Schmitt, Data Migration Specialist, Patron Technology. 
We already know that data plays a key role in marketing for your organization. It provides you with a keener understanding of your patrons: knowing their buying or donating patterns and preferences makes for more targeted and thereby more successful marketing strategies, which in turn produces more sales and revenue. Seems obvious, right?
We hear a lot about “big data” lately — for an arts administrator, big data enables you to apply your patron data into a broader pool of consumer data and extract patterns that tell you very specifically who is most likely to respond to a campaign. Big data is a science, it is cold hard facts married with mathematical logic; and taking the guesswork out of targeted marketing can certainly be useful.
But when it comes to arts organizations, is focusing on the quantitative and extracting all creativity and emotionality from your marketing plans the best course? Are you trying to forge meaningful human relationships with your consumers, or have you fallen into the habit of treating them more like data clusters than individuals?
Psychology is a huge component in effective marketing. Humans are governed by emotions, including what we share and what we buy. The science of emotions, therefore, becomes a crucial consideration for your organization. IPA Databank analyzed 1400 successful advertising campaigns and found that 16% of those using strictly rational-based strategy reported major profit gains; while 31% of those using purely emotion-based strategy reported the same results. As artists, catering to lovers of the arts, doesn’t emotional marketing make a lot of sense?
Scientists know that the brain feels first and thinks second: the emotional brain processes sensory information five times as fast as the cognitive brain. Emotions are what ultimately drive human beings, including our customers. Studies show that humans are capable of feeling four basic emotions: happy, sad, fear/surprised, and angry/disgusted. Each can motivate your patrons to act.
Emotions related to happiness are proven to be the main drivers of social media sharing and are the feelings that drive most viral content. If we see an ...

The post Why Big Data Isn’t Enough:
The Influence of Emotion and Neuroscience Over Marketing in the Arts
appeared first on Patron Technology.

Managing Humans: The Value of Mentoring

Tue, 23 May 2017 13:00:16 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is the third in a six-part series by Rachel Hands, Senior Manager, Client Administration, Patron Technology. Click here to start at part one. 
So far in this series, we’ve talked about the very beginning of your colleague relationships: crafting a job posting and interviewing candidates. Now you’ve hired your best candidate, got them trained up on the nuts and bolts of the job, and they’re ready to dive in.
In the remaining posts of this series, we’re going to talk about fostering individual growth on your team through mentoring and cultivating a team culture. Whether you’re a leader in your organization or looking for ways to grow your own career, this is a great chance to think about how each person’s skills and talents impact your organization’s ability to carry out your mission.
The value of mentoring relationships is easily overlooked in nonprofit spaces, where the urgency we feel of accomplishing the organization’s mission can overwhelm the importance of making sure we’re equipped to do our best at accomplishing that mission sustainably in the long term. (If you’re not familiar with the Stephen Covey/Eisenhower “important vs. urgent” time management matrix, check out this helpful breakdown.)
Plus, our teams are often small, with overlapping roles, forcing close working relationships if anything’s going to get done. But even if you pride yourself on closeness and good communication with your colleagues, that doesn’t mean you’re getting the benefits of a mentoring relationship. Don’t let yourself off the hook.
So what’s the difference? In any successful working relationship, there’s a focus on helping a new person develop the skills and access the resources they need to succeed in their position. For example, you would never hire a new box office manager without showing them how to log into your online ticketing system and guiding them through your organization’s policies on returns, exchanges, and discounts for members or major donors.
With a mentoring relationship, the focus on skill growth and access to resources is both broader and deeper. Good mentors are there to help the mentee develop ...

The post Managing Humans: The Value of Mentoring appeared first on Patron Technology.

When Volunteers Break Up With You

Thu, 18 May 2017 13:00:50 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Jill Michaelree, Client Administrator, Patron Technology. 
I’m writing a blog about volunteer engagement one day after telling the theatre I’ve been involved with for almost a decade that I can no longer swing serving on their volunteer development committee. As an ex-arts fundraiser and volunteer manager, the guilt is real in this, “It’s not you, it’s me” situation.
This particular theater has treated me with flexibility, patience, and respect as I’ve moved through the engagement cycle from patron to volunteer/staff/committee member. I am still motivated by the organization’s mission and work; life is just getting in the way at the present moment.
This had me thinking about when I was on the flip side as an arts administrator. How much energy did I put into lapsed or leaving volunteers? How do organizations maintain relationships with volunteers who move on?
Not never, just not now.
If you sense a volunteer’s change in motivation is temporary or if they are leaving on excellent terms, think about what “jobs” you can give them in the interim.
Try lessening their load to keep them in the circle. If they cannot usher once a week, can they still help with your annual gala? Is setting up a virtual volunteer project like sending out prospecting emails for in-kind donations worth the ROI to keep them involved in the long-term? Virtual Volunteering comes with its own engagement and communication problems, but if you can take the time to work on it (just like any relationship), it could be beneficial.
If you suspect the mission-buy-in is still there, but they cannot show up at all, could you ask them to share your volunteer opportunities with their network? Arts lovers attract arts lovers. If you can swing some comp tickets, think about treating your sunsetting volunteers to a “thank you” performance and ask them to bring a friend who is interested in volunteering or has never been to your theater. You’ll impress someone!
Do you treat your volunteers the way you treat donors? This is the time to make sure you are. Donors often volunteer with an organization before giving, and volunteers are often your most loyal donors, giving amounts that ...

The post When Volunteers Break Up With You appeared first on Patron Technology.

Share Your Office Love: Bridging the Gap Between Artists & Staff

Tue, 16 May 2017 13:00:34 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Alex Pagano, Education Specialist, Patron Technology. 
Welcome to part two of a blog series all about pulling back the curtain on the inner workings of your office. The first blog post in this series helped you get closer to your patrons, and today I’m writing about how to get closer to your most important partners — your artists. After all, the partnership between you and your musicians, your actors, your artists, etc… is at the very core of your organization; it should be about your strongest bond, right?
While researching for my last post, I found plenty of articles on the right ways to connect with your patrons — but not a single source focusing on the best way to open up the conversation with your artists. Worse, when I work with performing arts non-profits, I occasionally hear comments from artists disparaging the office workers, unclear as to what the staff does for the organization.
This apparent disconnect between artists and office staff, if left unchecked, can cause undue stress on your organization. So to learn more about this delicate dynamic, I spoke with a couple of long-time musicians with experience in multiple organizations to get their insight. Together, we came up with some winning strategies.
An Ounce of Prevention
Just like with your patrons, transparency is the best policy for communicating with artists. However, you’ll need to go much deeper than the occasional, short-but-sweet social media posts reserved for your patrons; you have to build trust from the ground up. For the musicians I interviewed, there was nothing more important than the transparency of the budget.
For years, one musician lamented, their CEO would intentionally conflate budget items and become defensive when asked for more details. Besides being a terrible and shady business practice, this behavior (rightly) made the musicians feel as though they were being taken for fools and that the office staff was, under no circumstances, to be trusted. That’s not exactly starting off on the right foot.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, another musician absolutely glowed over the way their budget conversations were handled. Twice a year, their Executive Director held a mandatory ...

The post Share Your Office Love: Bridging the Gap
Between Artists & Staff
appeared first on Patron Technology.

Stop Ignoring Young Patrons

Thu, 11 May 2017 13:00:01 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Paul Miller, Senior Director, Sales & Marketing, Patron Technology. 
I’ll come right out and say it: the reason arts and culture organizations have so few donors in their 40s and 50s now is because they ignored them in their 20s and 30s. I can say that with authority because I’m one of them.
And apparently, our industry hasn’t learned from its mistakes. Earlier this year, I read three blog posts in which the writers stated that it’s a mistake to invest time and money into acquiring new donors under the age of 40. Their reasoning boils down to two assumptions:

They don’t have the money
They don’t respond to our requests

Lack of money
It’s true that with the significant expenses young people have today, they simply aren’t able to make the kind of major gift or top tier annual fund contribution as they might when they have raised their children, paid off their mortgage and student loans, and achieved a level of compensation that enables them to have money to give. But if you’re expecting the average young patron to have the same level of disposable income as older patrons, then the mistake lies not with their capacity, but with your expectations.
Here’s the thing: if we ignore them now, they have almost no reason to give to us when they do have the money. We need to lower the barrier of entry for young patrons and court them now so that when they have more disposable income, we will have already established the relationship that persuades them to give more generously. There are lots of ways to do this: implement lower giving levels for young donors, allow them to earn donor benefits through volunteerism, and give them soft credit for bringing in new ticket buyers or subscribers from their network of friends. And yeah, NOT asking them is the surest way to ensure they don’t give.
Lack of response
Provided you’re offering benefits that they will perceive as valuable (and you have asked what’s important to them, right?), then lack of response comes down to one of two things, the wrong medium or the wrong message.
If they’re not responding to ...

The post Stop Ignoring Young Patrons appeared first on Patron Technology.

Personalizing the Renewal Call

Tue, 09 May 2017 13:00:02 +0000

Recently I received a telemarketing call from an arts organization that sounded like this:
“Hello, this is Sally. I’m calling from [an organzation attended a few times last year and to which I am a donor] 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. After a few hours, it hit me:
“Hello, this is Sally. I’m calling from [an organization attended a few times last year and to which I am a donor] to let you know that I took a look at the events you attended last summer and I’ve put together a selection of four shows I think you’ll really like. Because you are a donor, I can offer you a reduced price during our donor buying window, which ends Friday afternoon. I think you’ll really like the selection I’ve picked out, and I 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 proved that when arts patrons feel 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 a personalized approach.
Many of you are embarking upon your 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.

How Fast is Your Website?

Thu, 04 May 2017 13:00:54 +0000

An article about web page load times caught my eye, and it’s worth look. Published by HubSpot, the article titled How Page Load Time Affects Conversion Rates: 12 Case Studies offers an infographic that tells a compelling story. Most arts organizations don’t sell $100,000 of tickets in a given day, but this consumer research shows for organizations that sell that much, a 1-second improvement in page load time will garner an additional $7,000 of sales!
Most every conversation I’ve had with arts managers concerning their websites have to do with site design as if that’s the only thing that matters. Yes, it does matter, but this article points out that your site hosting and load time (based on design) may influence your potential ticket buyers or donors more than you think. Turns out that almost half of online shoppers expect sites to load in 2 seconds or less on a desktop computer and a bit longer on a mobile device.
When was the last time you benchmarked your organization’s site load time? If your site is sluggish, this is a relatively important (and possibly easy) thing to fix.  

The post How Fast is Your Website? appeared first on Patron Technology.

The Legal Side of Boards & Regulations

Tue, 02 May 2017 13:00:14 +0000

As someone who once ran a non-profit Board, and also worked for a non-profit and had a Board to report to, I know firsthand how complex these relationships can be, and how fraught with peril they are for managers. Most executive directors focus their time and attention on reporting on their financials — progress against goals, fundraising, ticket sales, and otherwise. Yet, too few managers pay enough attention to some of the more fundamental things that go into a Board relationship.

Fiduciary responsibility — do you (and your Board members) understand exactly what they are personally liable for? Do you have Board liability insurance and do you know what it covers? Do they?
Decision-making? Do you know what decisions must be made at the Board level, and what oversight you are required to provide your Board for other decisions?
Regulations — are you aware of all the governmental regulations that go into soliciting, collecting, and reporting on your philanthropic activities?

With regard to #3, there’s a terrific, if not a bit dense article in The Non-Profit Times entitled Operation(s): 5 Things That Are Making Regulators Buzz that provides an excellent overview of these items. This is not only worth reading, it’s worth memorizing and probably distributing to your Board. We live in an amazing country that provides a nearly unfettered access to raising money, but it’s up to us to do this properly and professionally.
Unfortunately, some Board members approach being on a non-profit Board as something akin to a paid social club with benefits. It’s your job as a leader and manager to make sure your Board members are aware of their responsibilities, their liabilities, and most importantly that they are (and your organization is) compliant with all laws surrounding the operation of your organization.

The post The Legal Side of Boards & Regulations appeared first on Patron Technology.

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 ...

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