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Last Build Date: Wed, 22 Nov 2017 17:42:30 +0000


The Importance of Gender Inclusivity in Your Database

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 14:00:31 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Judith Shimer, Senior Client Administrator, PatronManager. 
My name is Judith, and my friends call me Jude. I’m a classical pianist, love cooking vegan food, adore baby goats—and I’m also nonbinary.
Nonbinary is a transgender identity that means a person’s gender is not completely male or female. Although we’ve been around and documented for millennia in all cultures, only in recent years in the U.S. has it started to feel safe to be out, to form communities, have a public presence, and develop a common language for our experiences. For example, since neither “he” or “she” pronouns feel comfortable to me, I use singular “they.”
Being nonbinary in the world is an adventure, especially in the age of data. Here are two experiences I’ve had, the first fairly common and the second rare:
I attempted to donate to a charity online, only to discover that the donation form required a salutation, with no gender-neutral option. I emailed the organization, and they helpfully attempted to make their salutation field optional… only to break their entire online donation form. (Thank goodness this would never break a PatronManager donation form.) I gave up and donated to a different organization instead. Both charities worked with vulnerable populations, and I trusted the second organization better to respect their clients’ gender identities, if they could respect that of their donors.
A canvasser for a nonprofit caught my attention on the sidewalk, and I knew right away that I wanted to become a sustaining member. But when the canvasser asked for my salutation, I got nervous. “Is salutation required?” I asked. “It’s not!” he said. “And we have the gender-neutral option ‘Mx.’ if you’d prefer.” I was thrilled that the organization could accommodate me, and felt suddenly at ease. When he asked what I was up to that day, I was comfortable being honest: “I’m on my way to the TransTech Summit because I’m trans and work in tech.” “That sounds amazing!” he said. At the end of the interaction, we hugged. It was the warmest, most positive experience I’ve ever had with street canvassing, which tends to get a very bad rap.
Your organization can provide ...

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Taking Cloud Computing to the Next Level with Voice Control

Tue, 14 Nov 2017 14:00:34 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Christy Warren, Educational Development Manager, PatronManager. 
“Alexa, make me a cup of coffee.” OK, maybe she’s not that savvy … yet.  
If you’re not familiar with Alexa, “she” is made and distributed by Amazon. You talk to Alexa using one of several devices you can purchase and connect to your home’s internet service. These devices are the Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Spot, Echo Show, and Echo Look. Alexa, and many other competitors*, are taking cloud computing to the next level. Not only are we storing more data on centralized servers (the cloud) that we can access anywhere on many devices, but now we can also control and receive that data verbally. Hal and Jarvis are real!
Sure, there are many novelty uses for Alexa (and the others), such as asking Alexa to tell a joke or to play a certain genre of music. But there are also some serious uses that can help you manage your life at home or in the office.  
Here’s one I use a lot: “Alexa, ask Our Groceries to add bread to the shopping list.” Alexa connects to certain apps through what is termed a “skill.” I already use an app called Our Groceries to keep my grocery shopping organized. My household shares this app, so anyone can add items to it and whoever goes to the store sees the most up-to-date list, which is already cloud functionality. Before, I needed to have my mobile device nearby to add the item to the list. However, when I’m in the kitchen and I notice we’re out of something, but my hands are occupied or messy, I can now just tell Alexa to add it for me. Done! And my phone doesn’t need to be anywhere near, because Alexa is connected directly to my Wi-Fi and not routed through another device.   
So, how could this apply to your office? One simple idea: Use a cloud-based list-building app to track office supplies. After all, even without voice control, the cloud allows all of your employees to access the app online, and they can add their needs to the list. If you wanted to add voice control ...

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Top 10 Data Points Arts & Culture Organizations Should Know, Part III

Thu, 09 Nov 2017 14:00:39 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Paul Miller, Senior Director, Sales & Marketing, PatronManager. 
In my first and second posts in this series, I argued that it’s time for arts and culture organizations to start capturing, measuring, and analyzing data to help grow your audiences and revenue. I also detailed what I believe are the top ten data points you should know, showed you how to calculate them, and explained why they’re so important to track and improve. In this post, I’d like to share with you the results of a survey in which I asked arts organizations to share their metrics with me.
Eighty-six organizations responded, with staff sizes ranging from 1 to 400 and annual budgets ranging from $17,000 to $125 million. When using wide ranges like this, and trying to get a value to compare to your organization, I think it’s best NOT to use the average number, but rather the median, or the “value or quantity lying at the midpoint… such that there is an equal probability of falling above or below it.” My reasoning is that the median is less easily skewed by outlying numbers, whereas an average can be grossly affected by an outlier. (For example, that $125 million at the top of the budget range is an outlier; the next nearest was $18 million.) In the metrics above, the median staff size was 9 and the median budget $1.8 million, which sounds about right for a “typical” arts and culture organization.
As you compare your numbers to those below, please remember that there is no right or wrong number except what works for your organization. It is, however, important to measure these numbers and track them from year to year, making efforts to improve them where you can. On which of these metrics are you underperforming compared to the median? Why is that, and what can you do to improve it?
An interesting thing to notice is that the number of responses to our questions decreased as the complexity of the calculation (and ability to gather the necessary data) increased. Having an integrated CRM—instead of separate ticketing, fundraising, and marketing ...

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Big Corporations, Nonprofit Organizations, and 8-Year-Olds Can Leverage the Power of Matching Donations

Tue, 07 Nov 2017 14:00:57 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Erin Madden Ramirez, Client Project Manager, PatronManager. 
You see it all the time. Big Corporation, Inc. will match every donation dollar for dollar up to $100,000 for [insert important cause here]. Matching donations in this manner is popular because it works — corporations and donors feel like their money is going further. Here’s one such example: USA Today: Tech firms raise millions within hours to aid Hurricane Harvey victims. Luckily, you don’t have to be Big Corporation, Inc. to launch a similar type of fundraiser. You can be Small Nonprofit Organization. You can even be an 8-year-old raising money for the community.
Our local school system recently partnered with the city to raise money for an all-inclusive playground for children, teens, and adults of all abilities. The three schools in the district that raise the most money per student will have a bench with their school logo installed at the new playground.
My highly competitive 8-year-old really wants her school to win one of the benches. During dinner one night she asked us to give “lots and lots of money.” Of course we were happy to contribute a reasonable amount, but something in the back of my mind said it shouldn’t be that easy for her. What would she learn in the process?
Then I had a light bulb moment. I told her that Mommy and Daddy would match whatever amount of money she contributed from the allowance and Tooth Fairy money she’d been saving. She took the challenge to heart and scraped together $21 and we happily matched the amount. But that’s not the end of the story. We FaceTimed with Grandma and asked her to match the $21 donation since her granddaughter gave up her own hard-earned money. Grandma contributed $21. Grandma told two of her friends about the call, and each of them contributed $21. The plumber happened to see a flyer for the fundraiser when he was here to fix the leak under our kitchen sink. He asked about it, and I told him of my daughter’s efforts. Later, when I offered him a tip, he asked that instead, I add it ...

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Putting the Digital Appeals in Your Fundraising Strategy

Thu, 02 Nov 2017 13:00:22 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Kevin Patterson, Senior Account Executive, PatronManager. 
Two of my friends recently celebrated birthdays. When I went on Facebook to wish them a “Happy Birthday,” I saw something that I hadn’t seen before, a fundraising appeal. The appeal was a personal one, “I’m donating my birthday to X organization.” Donations were accepted at any amount. In both cases, the funds raised far-outstripped their goal.
A recent study by The Public Interest Registry and Nonprofit Tech for Good, 2017 Global Trends Giving Report, highlighted how donors are shifting more of their giving to digital platforms. Though the report focuses on NGOs and other social service nonprofits, there are some interesting lessons in the report. Among the findings:
Donors Prefer to Give

61% Online
14% Direct Mail
14% Fundraising Events
6% Mobile
5% Workplace Giving

If the method of giving is shifting, even more, interesting are the demographics of who is giving. One would think that Generation X (1965-1980) and Millennials (1981-1997) would be leading the way in giving as both generations are arguably more comfortable with the technology. While that may be true, the study found that Baby Boomers (1946-1964) lead the way in digital giving.
Generation Z (1998-or After)        1.6%
Millennials (1981-1997)               25.7%
Generation X (1965-1980)              30%
Baby Boomers (1946-1964)         36.7%
Matures (1928-or Before)                 6%
Baby Boomers have the means to give and have acquired the digital fluency to use technology to target their donations. For arts organizations, Baby Boomers are the sweet spot as they make up a disproportionate amount of their patrons. While trying to develop the next audience, don’t forget the value of the audience that is currently engaging with your organization.
In another article by Nonprofit Tech for Good, Facebook Ramps Up Reach for “Donate” Buttons and Fundraisers, being an early adopter of this kind of fundraising may pay big dividends. They point out that those that engage in this type of digital fundraising increase their overall reach. In an era where donors are increasingly more ...

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Fundraising Strategy
appeared first on Patron Technology.

The Gift of Giving

Tue, 31 Oct 2017 13:00:28 +0000

Today is Halloween, which means for the world of retail, the holiday season starts tomorrow. The candy from today will go on sale at midnight, and I guarantee you every corner drug store will have holiday decorations up by mid-morning!
Now, as you well know, the holiday season is a GREAT time for arts and cultural organizations to raise money. After all, it is the season of gift giving. According to this new report from the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy located at Indiana University, Indianapolis, donors tend to be happier than non-donors.
A terrifically nuanced article from The NonProfit Times offers a fascinating look at giving and happiness broken down by gender within families.
Read the article and ask yourself how can you, as a fundraiser, capitalize on this for your end-of-year fundraising campaign?

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Redefining the Meaning of Culture

Thu, 26 Oct 2017 13:00:36 +0000

The 2017 Culture Track Study produced by the cultural marketing agency LaPlaca Cohen, has just been released, and some of the findings about art museum attendance are really surprising. This article from Artsy does a terrific job of breaking down a few of the biggest takeaways. The most significant one, which also headlines the article, is that 37% of art museum visitors don’t view museums as a cultural experience!
Whoa! Does this mean culture is vanishing or somehow slipping through our fingers? Absolutely not, but rather, the definition seems to be changing, and for museums (along with other arts and cultural organizations) the implication is that they must also evolve their branding and marketing tactics to reflect this. Another significant learning from the survey is that 81% of audiences are motivated to attend a cultural activity because they want to have fun.
I would imagine many a museum curator would cringe at that statistic since the traditional raison d’etre of museums is a scholarly understanding of art itself. If there is fun involved, that’s good, but not necessarily the main goal.
The article goes on to highlight some of the barriers associated with attending cultural activities. According to Maggie Hartnick of LaPlaca Cohen, the designation “not for someone like me,” is the top barrier cited by respondents, followed closely by “I didn’t think of it.”
Marry together “not for me” and “fun” and like it or not, that seems to be a clear recipe for arts marketers if there ever was one. I hope you’ll read this excellent article, as there’s a big surprise at the end about what parents think about the use of technology in an art museum.

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Your Patron’s Upset? Do Something About It!

Tue, 24 Oct 2017 13:00:02 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Aaron Schwartzbord, Marketing Manager, PatronManager. 
How much do you (and your staff) think about customer service? If someone has a problem with their experience at your organization, what do you do about it? Do you apologize? Do something special for them? Small gestures can go a long way in reminding your patrons how important they are — especially in this age of airlines kicking people off flights. I recently had a very good experience with a company that shocked me with its thoughtfulness.
Last month was my wedding anniversary, and my mom sent me a gift from Hudson | Grace, a wonderful home goods store with a number of locations in California. The gift was a set of cocktail glasses and a pitcher, all of which was shipped from one of their stores. When I opened the package, one of the glasses was broken. The next day I called their customer service line, and much to my delight, they couldn’t have been nicer and easier to deal with. They didn’t ask for a receipt; they didn’t need any proof, they just asked for my address and said that a new glass would be shipped that day.
As a cynical New Yorker, I was sure I’d have to call them again, but I was surprised this week to come home to a box from the store. When I opened the box, I pulled out a new (not broken) cocktail glass. Next to it was something else wrapped in bubble wrap. I opened it to find a bottle of their own branded “dirty martini mix” with a handwritten note:

I was so touched that they did this and, as I said before, totally shocked by how thoughtful and personal it was. I would have been happy with just the replaced martini glass, but the fact that they went the extra mile made me not only want to shop there again but also tell my friends and family all about the store and my wonderful experience with them.
So… what about your organization? Arts and cultural organizations can absolutely offer these types of gestures to patrons that have ...

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Neuroscience for the Arts

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 13:00:57 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Jordan Simmons, Senior Account Executive, PatronManager. 
The Washington Post recently published a beautiful interactive piece about why humans respond so powerfully to the performing arts, which I highly recommend checking out. The authors interviewed several practitioners of a new field of study known as “Neuroaesthetics”: neuroscientists that are looking to uncover the reasons that in an age that offers us streaming everything directly to our living rooms, we still gather in the dark together to watch other people act out stories.
As the article states, there are many reasons why we shouldn’t enjoy going to see a ballet, concert, or play — we are surrounded by other people who might be disturbing or annoying, we have to leave our comfortable homes, there’s a price to pay for the ticket, and we may find ourselves so moved by the performance that we cry, laugh, or otherwise react in public in a way that in the normal course of things we might find embarrassing.
Despite all of these obstacles, however, our brains are fired up by attending performances in a way, unlike any other experience. Scientists theorize that there are many reasons why, including, (but not limited to!):

The fact that humans love to gather in a crowd, and being around others amplifies our own emotions.
Our brains are hardwired to respond to movement, and indeed even give us the sensation that we are leaping and soaring alongside a dancer while he or she moves.
Storytelling is inherent to the human condition and allows us to learn lessons free from personal risk and expand our consciousness outside the bounds of our own experience.

As an arts administrator, beyond my interest in this piece from a purely theoretical standpoint, I also wondered if there wasn’t something in this data which could be useful to us in bringing new audiences to our venues. For example, people with an interest in sports may also respond to similar stimuli when watching a dance performance — seeing the bodies in motion and having their mirror neuron system triggered. A person who enjoys rock concerts might also like musical theatre— the addition of storytelling to ...

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Real Time Foreign Language Arrives

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 13:00:28 +0000

I have always been fascinated with what’s up and coming in technology, especially when it’s something that could apply to the arts! My goal with this post is to provide you with some grist for your creative mills — when you have an idea of what’s coming down the pike in the technology world, it may inspire you, or challenge your thinking about what’s possible in the art world. This post is likely to be the first of several on this general topic over the next few months.
Let’s start with foreign language. If you’ve read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, you will recall the Babel Fish, which is defined by Wikipedia as:
…small, yellow, leech-like, and probably the oddest thing in the universe. It feeds on brain wave energy, absorbing all unconscious frequencies and then excreting telepathically a matrix formed from the conscious frequencies and nerve signals picked up from the speech centres of the brain, the practical upshot of which is that if you stick one in your ear, you can instantly understand anything said to you in any form of language: the speech you hear decodes the brain wave matrix.
If you’ve ever used Google translate (or seen translations on Facebook), you know that computers can do this kind of work pretty quickly. Well, this week Google announced “Pixel Buds,” which operate pretty much the same way as the Babel Fish. Here’s an article about this exciting development from MakeUseOf, a techie blog typically reserved for reporting on cutting edge consumer tech, which this undoubtedly is.
Quoting from the article:
It’s like you’ve got your own personal translator with you everywhere you go. Say you’re in Little Italy, and you want to order your pasta like a pro. All you have to do is hold down on the right earbud and say, ‘Help me speak Italian.’ As you talk, your Pixel phone’s speaker will play the translation in Italian out loud. When the waiter responds in Italian, you’ll hear the translation through your Pixel Buds.
Applying “Pixel Buds” technology to the arts seems both amazing and sacrilegious. Imagine during a classical music performance you hear a ...

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