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Last Build Date: Thu, 19 Apr 2018 13:00:07 +0000


That Sounds Nice: Retaining Your Audience Members by Listening to Their Needs

Thu, 19 Apr 2018 13:00:07 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Zack Einstein, Implementation Specialist, PatronManager. 
If you are like many arts organizations, you struggle with dwindling audiences. It makes sense, in a way: I can sit at home and binge-watch all ten seasons of Friends on Netflix while wearing sweatpants and eating ice cream. You want me to get dressed up and leave the house? Make me!
The key to motivating your audience to become repeat visitors lies in your ability to listen to their needs and act accordingly.
Prior to joining the PatronManager team, I was the Box Office Manager and Volunteer Coordinator at Civic Theatre of Allentown. One of my tasks in recent years was to plan a bus trip to see a Broadway show in New York City. I narrowed the choices down to Wicked, Anastasia, and School of Rock. I’d already seen Wicked, and it’s been open for so long, that I was leaning towards Anastasia. I asked the rest of the staff what show we should choose, and then it hit me: why don’t I ask the people who will be buying the tickets?
I ran a report to find people who had gone on past bus trips, parents of our theatre school students, and anyone who had ever attended a children’s show. I sent them a one-question survey asking them to rate the likelihood they would purchase a ticket to each of the shows. And to my surprise, the results of the survey were overwhelmingly in favor of seeing Wicked, with Anastasia pulling in enough votes to not be ignored. So I ended up giving the option of either show. In the end, we had one bus go to Anastasia, and three buses go to Wicked. It was by far the most successful bus trip our theatre had organized; for an event that was expected to break even, we ended up with a profit of almost $2,000.
In this case, a short survey was the perfect way for me to uncover the needs of my potential audience. But you can even take this a step further with focus groups. Find audience members who have engaged with your organization in a meaningful way, and ...

The post That Sounds Nice: Retaining Your Audience Members by Listening to Their Needs appeared first on Patron Technology.

The Alphabet of the Future Explained: AR

Tue, 17 Apr 2018 13:00:22 +0000

About a year and a half ago, just after Dreamforce 2016, I wrote a blog post in which I predicted which new technologies were going to change our world in the next few years, and AR was one of the more interesting ones. AR stands for “augmented reality,” which in concept sounds interesting; but until we see practical applications of AR, it’s hard to really understand how or why it will be a big deal.
Then I came across this article which brought it all home. Many of you have probably had the experience of putting together a piece of IKEA furniture and subsequently the “fun” of deciphering their instruction booklets. Well, as you’ll read in the article linked above, a designer named Adam Pickard has come up with an app utilizing augmented reality to make the process easier! With his AR app, you can use your phone to superimpose the instructions right over the actual furniture pieces in a way that is transformative. Watch this video, and you’ll see what I mean:
Now, does AR become more interesting? What ideas can you come up with for your theater, orchestra, or museum?

The post The Alphabet of the Future Explained: AR appeared first on Patron Technology.

How Arts Organizations are Adapting to a Post-2016 World

Thu, 12 Apr 2018 13:00:38 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Jordan Simmons, Senior Account Executive, PatronManager. 
After the 2016 election, many organizations I spoke with were very concerned about the consequences for the arts. Not only did the atmosphere seem to presage massive cuts to government arts funding, but it also looked like individual donors’ priorities were shifting in a big way towards social justice causes. For example, following the election in November, Planned Parenthood received more than 300,000 gifts; and in January after the Inauguration, the American Civil Liberties Union brought in 24 million dollars online in one weekend (six times its usual yearly online intake).
As the new President came into office and announced his administration’s proposed budget, the worry seemed to be borne out. The initial budget cut the National Endowment for the Arts and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting entirely, as well as putting other smaller regional arts programs on the chopping block. Arts organizations have always had to do their fair share of fundraising, but in an atmosphere where total abandonment of arts support by the nation seemed possible, (and in a time where so many other causes needed urgent assistance), there appeared to be a very real risk that arts funding from all sources could dry up. The fear was that donors would need to choose between social justice causes and the arts, and that the arts would ultimately lose out, being deemed frivolous or secondary to human rights causes.
In response, arts organizations and supporters pulled out reams of data showing that the arts are—as Gene Carr lays out in this blog post—a “double-bottom line” enterprise: beyond the intrinsic value that the arts supply, they create jobs, spur community redevelopment, and generate travel and dining spending. In essence, an investment in the arts pays back. Of course, the economic cases in the pro-arts column resonated with some funders, but what about those corporations and individual donors that were more focused on social impact?
Arts organizations in 2016 and 2017 had to do some soul-searching. Many of them came out of the economic near-death experience of 2008 afraid to perform work that could be considered polarizing, ...

The post How Arts Organizations are Adapting to a
Post-2016 World
appeared first on Patron Technology.

Facebook’s Moment in the Mirror

Tue, 10 Apr 2018 13:00:52 +0000

Since the very beginning of social networks, the implied contract between the users and the social media company was about personal information. The users (all of us) trade our personal information with the social network in return for the benefits of the service — and for the first time we all benefit by having rich and instant contact with our own network of friends and family. This model stands in contrast with traditional advertising in one fundamental way. In traditional advertising, the advertiser positions a message that is consumed by the users themselves in the form of their time and attention. However, in a social media context, when we share our personal information, we are also allowing the social network to enable advertisers to target those within our personal networks with advertisements and messages.
Since the beginning of Facebook, the various ways that it collects and shares our personal information have been purposely obscure. Facebook’s privacy settings have, in my view, been made continually more granular to the point where they are nearly incomprehensible. And yet, so long as nobody was harmed, this all worked well for everyone. As we are seeing now, though, when misuse becomes public knowledge, the backlash against this has caused Facebook to come clean about how it manages personal information, as outlined in this recent article in The New York Times. The company is also rolling out a new “privacy hub” for users. There are many articles that explain all of this in more depth, and this one from Fast Company, “How Facebook Blew It,” is particularly insightful.
What is driving the news is that it now appears that bad actors violated the trust Facebook had with its users. Word got out that Facebook had knowingly enabled a private company to share its users’ personal data in an inappropriate (and possibly illegal) manner and didn’t tell us or do anything about it for years. Now we have the makings of a real scandal. To make matters worse, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, was silent on this issue for days, and Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer, continues to be silent. ...

The post Facebook’s Moment in the Mirror appeared first on Patron Technology.

Notes No Longer Belong on Paper

Thu, 05 Apr 2018 13:00:55 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Erin Madden Ramirez, Client Project Manager, PatronManager. 
You work for an arts organization. You wear a lot of hats and time is a precious resource. You’re always looking for a way to streamline your work efforts to make your job easier. So why are are you still relying on legal pads, sticky notes, and scraps of paper to keep track of meeting notes and your to-do list? This is the 21st century, right?
Oh, we’ll never get away from paper entirely, but with the dawn of the cloud era (arguably, we’re in mid-morning at this point), note-taking apps, collaborative workspaces like Slack, and free project management tools, there is no reason to keep your notes so disorganized and so inaccessible as keeping them on paper. That’s not to say you can’t take your notes the old-fashioned way, but you should never leave them there.
First thing’s first, good note-taking can be a challenge. Sometimes, it’s hard to find a balance between quantity and quality. This article from The Digital Project Manager provides a detailed guide on how to prioritize what notes you should capture. And while this article focuses on project-related calls, the concepts are applicable to staff meetings, phone calls with donors, and really any other note-taking situations.
At the top of the list of must-have notes are action items, requests for follow-ups, decisions made, and instructions given. Less important are pleasantries (yesterday’s weather has very little impact on today’s discussion) and any hemming and hawing someone might do before determining their viewpoint.
In the middle fall a number of categories that aren’t always clear-cut. For example, brainstorming in a staff meeting is an important process, but tracking the general conversation and noting every opinion is likely not necessary. That being said, you should be prepared to catch the odd statement or idea that provides context for any final decision or request. Since it’s hard to know in the moment what those key statements might be, recording the meeting is an easy backup solution.
Equally as important as which notes to take is where you save them. What happens to those notes on the legal ...

The post Notes No Longer Belong on Paper appeared first on Patron Technology.

What the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” Means for Your Organization

Tue, 03 Apr 2018 13:00:49 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Kevin Patterson, Senior Account Executive, PatronManager. 
On December 20, 2017, Congress managed to pass large-scale tax reform, the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” (TCJA). While the long-term implications for the economy might not be fully realized for years, the tax bill did alter the landscape for charitable organizations. Now three months into this new world of TCJA, let’s look at what this might mean for your organization.
While there was much lobbying on Capitol Hill, the central policy change that will likely impact nonprofits the most is the increase in the standard deduction.
Tax deductions are a way to subtract some expenses that individuals pay from their overall taxable income, resulting in a reduction of their tax bill. The tax code allows for two choices, claim a standard deduction or itemize all expenses to claim a higher deduction. According to the Tax Foundation, approximately 65.8% of tax filers take the standard deduction.
So for the remaining 30.1% who itemize, adjusting the amount of the standard deduction potentially becomes a critical factor — a higher standard deduction would mean less of a need to itemize to gain the same tax benefit. Another important factor is that taxpayers with higher incomes are more likely to itemize deductions. They are also more likely to contribute more of their income to nonprofit causes with which they identify and receive the resulting tax benefit.
For the 2017 tax year, the one in which taxpayers are currently filing their taxes, the standard deduction is:

$6,350 for single taxpayers or married taxpayers who are filing separate returns
$12,700 for married couples filing jointly

The federal income tax system also increases the standard deduction for taxpayers who are age 65 or older.
For 2018, the TCJA effectively doubled the standard deduction for taxpayers to:

$12,000 for single taxpayers or married taxpayers who are filing separate returns
$24,000 for married couples filing jointly

These new rates make it less likely that a fair percentage of the remaining 30.1% will continue to itemize. Higher income taxpayers might instead claim the new standard deduction. So what does this mean for charitable giving?
There are really two main schools of thought. The first is that ...

The post What the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” Means for Your Organization appeared first on Patron Technology.

The Demographics of the Broadway Your Audience

Thu, 29 Mar 2018 13:00:51 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Jason Silverman, Client Cultivation Specialist, PatronManager. 
Every year, The Broadway League publishes a report summarizing the previous season’s grosses and the makeup of the Broadway audience. From this analysis, producers and theater organizations gain a better understanding of who their audience is to determine what is working and what needs to be improved. While these statistics are specifically pulled from the Broadway market, there are some universal trends you can use to help guide the decisions you make at your own organization. Here are my major takeaways from this year’s report: 
Theatregoers reported personal recommendation as the most influential factor when it came to selecting a show to see.
In the era of streaming, there are so many choices when it comes to arts and entertainment. So how do you decide that you should spend your money on a show rather than stay at home to Netflix and chill? Perhaps when you see a friend or family member post a rave review about a show they just saw, or they send you a text about a show they know you would love. More often than not, you trust their recommendation. They’ve done the hard work of finding a show, assessing it, and found that it was worth their time and money. A personal recommendation is like having a private concierge tell you about the greatest thing in town. So how can you use those personal recommendations to your benefit as an organization?

Create a rewards system and give patrons their own individual discount code to share with their friends or family. Their friends/family will get a discount on the current show, and the patron will get a credit towards their next ticket purchase!
Consider implementing other limited time deals, such as buy one ticket, bring a friend for $10.
Within the first few weeks of a production, tape people’s reactions as they exit the theatre and ask how they would describe it to a friend. Edit this together into a short and friendly video to share on your social media platforms.

Approximately half of respondents said they purchased their tickets online.
The online ticket buying ...

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Are Your Patrons Your Best Brand Ambassadors?

Tue, 27 Mar 2018 13:00:12 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Kevin Patterson, Senior Account Executive, PatronManager. 
Recently, I was having coffee with a friend. He asked me about an event I had attended with my wife, a fish and chips night at a local English Tea Room. The Tea Room is known in the area for its English ownership, authentic tea selection, afternoon high tea, and special English-themed events; in this particular case, an authentic fish and chips dinner.
My friend Will asked me for my opinion of the evening, and I shared with him just how much we enjoyed it. Will said that he and his wife were initially interested in attending the same event. However, when he went online to buy tickets, he abandoned the purchase as he felt that the total amount to be paid didn’t equal the perceived value he would receive by attending the event.
This event involved purchasing a ticket for a seating time (6:00 pm, 6:30 pm, etc.), and quantities were limited, so tickets were only available online. The cost of a ticket was $35.00, so with a per-ticket fee of $3.50 a couple could expect to pay $77.00 plus tip for the evening, say another $14.00 for a total of approximately $91.00. Though the dinner included a full meal, tea, beer or wine, and dessert, Will felt that this total price was beyond the perceived value provided. He wanted more information, a patron recommendation with which to evaluate his decision.
When a new restaurant opens in your community what do you do? Some people might go immediately, but if you are like me (or Will!), you might wait and talk to someone who has dined there first. If a friend has a good experience, I will give it a try and recommend it to my friends if I have a good meal. If I have a bad experience not only will I not go back, I will not be inclined to recommend it to my friends either. Word of mouth is so important in the restaurant business that it can make or break them.  
Never underestimate the value your patrons can add to your organization. Your level ...

The post Are Your Patrons Your Best Brand Ambassadors? appeared first on Patron Technology.

Better Training = Better Retention

Thu, 22 Mar 2018 13:00:33 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Alex Pagano, Documentation Supervisor, PatronManager. 
In the nonprofit world, there’s never enough time. Making sure your artists are happy, getting press announcements out, setting up your season, contacting donors, and working with your board is just your average Tuesday. So when a staff member puts in their two weeks notice, it can feel like the straw that just might break the camel’s back — especially when it happens time and time again.
Staff turnover in the nonprofit world is a reality. In 2016, Guidestar’s Nonprofit Employment Practices Survey indicated an average 19% turnover rate for all NPOs. That’s one in five employees per year! And this high turnover rate is expensive; there’s the time you spend looking for candidates, interviewing, and training, plus the loss of any institutional knowledge or professional connections that go with your departing coworker.
Not convinced? Try out this turnover cost calculator from Nonprofit Leadership Alliance to see what your turnover rate is costing you.
So you’re ready to address the problem, now what? Turnover is a complicated and multifaceted issue, to be sure, so today, we’re going to focus on just one of the contributing factors to this problem: training (or lack thereof). Read on to find out how a stellar onboarding plan and a solid continuing education program can help you keep star employees and stop posting in the classifieds.
All aboard onboarding
If you know you’re going to have to train a new employee every once in a while, why not be prepared? The next time you hire new help, use that opportunity to create an effective and repeatable onboarding plan for that position. You’ll reduce the time and energy you have to spend directly training your new co-worker, and they’ll become an effective member of the team faster than ever before. Good onboarding is also a preventative measure; 40% of employees not trained properly will leave an organization within their first year.
Our team uses Trello (you can also use Asana or KanbanFlow) to organize staff onboarding. Each position has their own board template, and new employees ...

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Membership Benefits 101

Tue, 20 Mar 2018 13:00:54 +0000

As our economy moves towards a more subscription-based model, member benefits are becoming the norm. As an example, Amazon has done an incredible job layering on perks for being an Amazon Prime member, extending all the way to shopping at Whole Foods (which they acquired this past year). The notion of member benefits has been around for a long time. For decades American Express has based the entire value chain of card membership on benefits offered at a variety of levels: basic, gold, and platinum.
The arts can take advantage of this trend as well (and do more), without impacting their bottom line. In this insightful article from Baker Richards in the UK, some of the fundamentals of thinking about membership plans are outlined. If you have not been to the theatre in the UK, the article points to some interesting cultural differences (in the UK patrons pay for programs, and covet ice cream at intermission). Beyond that, it presents some thoughtful concepts around offering benefits in the arts in the same way we see them offered in other commercial industries utilizing reserved seating. For instance, when you select seats on many airlines today, some unsold seats are held back for frequent flyers. Do you hold back the best seats for your donors or members?
Arts organizations should always be working to build closer relationships with their best patrons, donors, and members. As this article points out, some of these benefits can be highly valued, and cost very little to deliver.

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