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Patron Technology

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

Last Build Date: Fri, 20 Jan 2017 19:14:15 +0000


What’s Wrong With Having Your Head in the Cloud?

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 14:00:30 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Matt Robinson, Implementation Specialist, Patron Technology.
For many folks who work in the offices of an arts organization, there are a whole lot of details to keep track of: grant deadlines, ads and community calendar listings, pricing and promotions, website updates, rehearsal schedules, playbill listings, and let’s not forget all of those meetings. It’s enough to make your head spin!
I am rather known among my social circle for saying “I get so excited whenever I find a way to incorporate a new part of my life into Google.” For reference, I actively use Google’s Gmail, Calendar, Play Music, Maps, Photos, Fit, Keep, Wallet/Android Pay, Voice/Hangouts, and am of course writing this blog post in a Google Doc. I also recently spent an embarrassingly large portion of my future paychecks on purchasing a Pixel, Daydream, Home, and Chromecast Audio… To answer your question: no, I’m not ready to admit that I have a problem yet.
While Google is my cloud service of choice (clearly!) the reality is that I am excited anytime I can make my data accessible via the cloud. In my life before working at Patron, I was a box office manager. On a handful of occasions, I would get a call/text message from a staff member asking if they could take the day off. At this time, our schedule was saved in an Outlook calendar – this meant that it was not accessible from outside of the theatre. So when I was outside of work, unless I remembered the specifics of the schedule that week, I wasn’t entirely sure if another employee was going to be out that day, or if I would be able to call someone else in to cover that shift until I got into the office that morning.
To remedy that situation, I created two Google accounts, (I’ll explain why there are two in a second) and made a calendar for each employee. Giving each employee their own calendar allowed everyone to have their schedule on their phone or in their own Google account as soon as it was built. The reason it was set up in two separate accounts was to ...

The post What’s Wrong With Having Your
Head in the Cloud?
appeared first on Patron Technology.

A Picture is Worth More than 140 Characters

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 14:00:13 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Samantha Colbert, Client Administrator, Patron Technology.
If you’re a Facebook user, you may have seen a status along the lines of this at one time or another:
“Since life is not only made of photos, I’m going to see who reads a post without a picture. If no one reads this post, this will be a short experiment. If you are reading this status leave a one word comment about how we met.”
The fact is, this Facebook status is correct. Posts with photos get 39% more interaction. I know when I’m sitting on the couch, with my tablet or phone in my hand, scrolling through my Facebook or Twitter feed, an image will catch my eye long before a text post does, and if it’s cute, or pretty, I might even click “Like.”
So, how can you create an image with all the pertinent information you want to come across, and still make sure it’s engaging? I recently attended a conference that was hosted by the National Arts Marketing Project (NAMP), and every panel that I went to about advertising on social media, or on the web in general always discussed images and videos. Text only posts appear to be a thing of the past!
Here are a few highlights on how to make your images more engaging:

Show the performers! Whether you’re running a major museum, or a small town musical theater production, people like seeing the artists’ excitement. If the performers or artists show how excited they are to have their performance or art on display, people will be more excited to see it.
Change up your images. Posting the same graphics everywhere is boring. Try putting new pictures into your graphics, or change up the headlines! Let’s say you’re doing the Wizard of Oz. On Facebook, you might post a picture of the actress playing Dorothy, and include text from a local paper about the show. Meanwhile, on Twitter, you’ve got the Wicked Witch of the West and an iconic line from the show. The same person may see both posts, but because they were presented with different looks they may get different ...

The post A Picture is Worth More than 140 Characters appeared first on Patron Technology.

The Golden Age of Apps

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 14:00:04 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Allison Klein, Platform Innovation Specialist, Patron Technology.
Your first introduction to the idea of an “app store” probably came via your smart phone. You likely visited the Apple App Store or Google Play Store and downloaded an app that a friend said they couldn’t live without, or you read about on a blog like Techcrunch because you wanted to boost your productivity. Or you wanted to find some new ways to entertain yourself and never thought much about the fact that you were actually taking part in a wider software platform.  
Even though I was somewhat late to the smartphone game compared to many of my peers, I can’t imagine my life without one, nor without many of my favorite apps. And for the last four years or so, shopping around for apps has been a major part of my actual job, in my role as Platform Innovation Specialist on the PatronManager Product Development team. I keep tabs on the Salesforce Appexchange (, and evaluate whether or not the apps that are a part of that ever-growing marketplace of business apps are a good fit for our PatronManager clients. I do this by trying the apps out and imagining how they can make everyday tasks faster or easier or even more fun to do.  
Over the years I have found a lot of excellent apps on the Appexchange, but more and more I have been looking beyond it — as vast as it is — because it’s not just the big software companies like Apple, Google, or Salesforce who have app stores and the development platforms that support them. I’ve noticed that even my apps have apps these days — whether it’s their own marketplace of add-on products or the ability to connect to other apps via a third-party integration tool like Zapier ( or IFTTT (
Here are some of my favorite app discoveries of late:
Trello — (
I’ve been using Trello to keep tabs of some of my work-related projects for a few years. I always admired it’s simplicity because who has time to learn ...

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Who Wants a Million Dollars?

Tue, 10 Jan 2017 14:00:26 +0000

Today’s blog post is written by Kevin Patterson, Senior Account Executive, Patron Technology.
Recently, the 2016 Million Dollar Donors Report was published by the English investment bank Coutts, documenting philanthropic trends across the globe and, in particular, the number of million-dollar (or greater) gifts given to organizations in the calendar year of 2015.
The report shows solid growth in the United States, with more than $19.3 billion in philanthropic gifts being given to 1,823 organizations, which represents a 64 percent increase in million-dollar gifts over the previous year. Arts, Culture, and Humanities accounted for 167 of those gifts, approximately $1.6 billion. You may be saying to yourself, “Great, but how do I get my hands on one of those million-dollar gifts?” Well, the tools you need may already be at your disposal.

As the saying goes, people give to what you believe, not to what you produce. Having a great product is important, but the vision and beliefs of your organization will do more to attract potential million-dollar patrons. First, ensure that your messaging supports your vision. Your programming is the outward and direct manifestation of that vision, and having everything in alignment is crucial to your success.
That said, you already know that building strong relationships with your patrons is the very lifeblood of your organization. Today’s thousand-dollar donor can in time be cultivated to become tomorrow’s ten-thousand, hundred-thousand, or even million-dollar donor. Today a robust CRM system, such as our PatronManager, represents an essential tool in this approach.  
For instance, how’s your donor pyramid looking? Remember, major donors, while small in number, typically account for the largest share of total dollars given. Every organization sustains itself on its ability to successfully attract, retain, and upgrade donors. Need to know where to find the next donor? Look no further than those patrons who have purchased multiple tickets to events that may signal a specific interest in your organization.
When was the last time you looked closely at giving from your subscriber base? If less than 30 percent of your subscribers are donating to your organization, you’ve got some work to do, according to TRG’s blog post “Hung Up ...

The post Who Wants a Million Dollars? appeared first on Patron Technology.

The Importance of Individual Donors

Thu, 05 Jan 2017 14:00:22 +0000

It’s no secret that raising money from government, corporations, and foundations is getting harder and harder. It’s a trend that appears to be continuing if not becoming more true in 2017 than in the past. The one constituent that arguably has not gotten any harder to raise money from (and I would argue has gotten easier), is individual donors.
According to this excellent article titled “Benchmarking Individual Donors” from the Stanford Social Innovation Review:

Organizations raise an average of 34 percent of their revenue from individuals.

About half of individual donor revenue comes from donors giving less than $1,000.

The article starts by saying that because of the improvement in donor databases (and CRM systems) they were able to report on donor retention among small non-profits. The article continues:
83 percent of small nonprofits could report their retention rate and that the average retention rate is about 60 percent—6 out of 10 donors who gave last year will give again this year, suggesting that donor retention for individual donors rests at only 60%
Do you know your organization’s donor retention rate? Do you know it by donation size, and by cohort? How well are you tracking your donors, and what could you be doing differently?
I suggest that 2017 be the year of the individual donor. What we all know about raising money in the arts is that it is different than raising money for other non-profits. The key difference is that in the arts, it’s nearly impossible to raise money from someone that has not set foot in your theatre, hall, or museum.
Therefore, for individual donors, your mission has three parts. First, you have to identify potential individual donors from among your attendees. Then you have to cultivate those people to donate for the first time. Finally, you have to keep engaging them to make sure you retain them as donors year after year.
That analysis is pretty much exactly why I believe that today’s arts organizations need CRM technology that is equally robust with regard to ticketing, fundraising, and marketing. Until you know who your donors are (and you can measure their retention rates) you’ll be ...

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Why Donors Stop Giving

Tue, 03 Jan 2017 14:00:35 +0000

I’m writing to simply highlight and urge you to read an excellent blog post (and video) by Coleen Dilenschneider in which she reports on the “IMPACTS and the National Awareness, Attitudes, and Usage Study” that focuses on why cultural donors stop giving. This particular study looked at donors who gave between $250 and $2,500 annual and then stopped.
Spoiler alert: the primary reason why donors did not contribute again is that they were not being acknowledged or thanked for their gift by the organization they gave to. Really.
I don’t know about you, but I thank the person who makes my coffee at Starbucks. How is it possible that any organization does not thank its donors?
Well, one reason could be that your technology is failing you. Today, any donation made online should come with an instant acknowledgment, and then further communications can be scheduled later. Our PatronManager customers can set up an alert so that when any donation of say, over $1,000 comes in, the director of development gets an email and a task assigned to them to call that donor.
I suspect that what’s going on is that every organization wants to do the thanking. It’s just that organizing it and making it happen is extremely time consuming and/or nearly impossible to manage with current technology.
If you’re in that situation, have you considered the cost (ie: lost donations) to your organization each year for not properly thanking your donors?  

The post Why Donors Stop Giving appeared first on Patron Technology.

World Holiday Listening

Thu, 22 Dec 2016 14:00:59 +0000

Sometimes a simple combination of old-world systems and brilliant user-interface can help you see the world, or in this case hear the world, in an entirely different way.
Click here to experience Radio.Garden, which will provide you with a map of the entire world indicating radio stations you can listen to on your computer. Yes, I did say the entire world.
Yesterday I listened to a station in Mauritius, New Delhi and Pittsburg. So if you’re staying home for the holidays, here’s an amazing (and free) way to journey around the word in a few clicks.

The post World Holiday Listening appeared first on Patron Technology.

The ABCs of ROI

Tue, 20 Dec 2016 14:00:23 +0000

ROI is the thing against which every business investment is measured. In the non-profit world, because we have so many other measures of our success (i.e. quality of reviews, number of grants received, and capital campaigns achieved) we don’t obsess over ROI as much as we ought to.
If you’re new to the term or want/need a refresher, this article from Arts Professional in the UK is all you need. The article references a study from one of our country’s leading business schools that shows that even “for-profit” marketers aren’t necessarily that savvy.

A study from Columbia Business School revealed that marketers recognise the need to measure ROI but are unsure of what it means and how to put systems in place. Add to this the rapid growth of new digital marketing tools and the opportunities and challenges they bring and it can be hard to know where to begin.
The best place to start is this simple formula presented in the article:
ROI = (income from investment – cost of investment)
Cost of investment

I encourage you to read the entire article. It’s a great resource that helps you get your arms around ROI in a detailed and systematic way. It even has a “Five Step Plan” to improve your marketing ROI. Step number one is perhaps the most important step: Decide what success looks like and define key performance indicators (KPIs) to monitor regularly. Ask yourself what the best indicator will be for that success and what level of detail will be most useful.
Just this past week I was meeting with an arts organization and I asked them about the effectiveness of their marketing program. They neither knew how much they spent in marketing nor how much they earned back in ticket sales. Understanding and measuring ROI is essential, and ultimately it’s not that hard. Once you start measuring and reporting your ROI, you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to make decisions about what to do in the future.

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How To Run Your Life Better: Three Simple Cloud Computing Tools

Thu, 15 Dec 2016 14:00:43 +0000

Today’s guest blog post is written by Daniel Pesick, Product Manager, Patron Technology.
I’ve been an avid runner for a few years now, and every time I go for a run, I use an app called Runkeeper to log the activity. Runkeeper uses GPS to track where I’ve gone and how fast I’m running. With barely any effort, the run is uploaded directly to Runkeeper’s cloud storage database from which I can access on any device with an internet connection. This is a crucial tool for me because it allows me to track my progress from any device easily and follow my improvement as my mileage increases (something I appreciated greatly this fall while training for my first marathon). Plus, my friends who also use Runkeeper can offer support and advice through the app’s social sharing capabilities.
Runkeeper is great if you’re a runner, but it’s probably not particularly useful for an arts administrator or PatronManager user (or at least not helpful for your job)! However, there are many cloud-based apps that I think could similarly increase your productivity and effectiveness with very little implementation effort.

Use Dropbox or Google Drive for shared docs

Are you still emailing documents back and forth for editing? It’s impossible to keep up-to-date with the latest edits when each person must download the doc and make edits offline. Tools like Dropbox and Google Drive utilize the power of the cloud to simplify file editing and make the process more collaborative. Dropbox, a file-sharing tool, allows you to upload documents and spreadsheets and edit them from anywhere. It even includes a Microsoft Office integration that allows you to collaborate on documents with your colleagues over the cloud while still maintaining the comfortable and familiar feeling of working on a desktop. (Dropbox is also great because it’s one of several services you can use to backup data to the cloud automatically. We’ve all heard horror stories about a company’s self-maintained server crashing, resulting in months or years of lost work. Don’t let that happen to you!)

Create shared photo albums

Every smartphone – iPhone or Android – comes equipped with a free photo sharing tool. Try creating shared albums in your iPhone’s ...

The post How To Run Your Life Better:
Three Simple Cloud Computing Tools
appeared first on Patron Technology.

24-Month Tech Trend Scorecard & the Future

Wed, 14 Dec 2016 14:00:30 +0000

Though technology often seems to be moving at breakneck speed, there are also slower-moving overarching trends that play out not in a single dramatic moment but over a period of years. Now that we’re nearing the end of 2016, I’m looking back at the newsletter article I wrote two years ago at this time, assessing my predictions about those trends. The entire newsletter article is here, if you want to read it.  By way of summary, these are the five trends I wrote about then, and some commentary from today.

The Shift From Desktop to Mobile  

2014 Prediction: Mobility will mean the end of the traditional office as we know it.
Not only has this happened, but it also is happening with even greater speed than predicted. Today nearly every operating system and new software tool is being developed and deployed “mobile first.” Software companies (including us and our partner Salesforce) are driving toward a user experience on mobile and desktop that mirror each other. There are some obvious reasons that the two experiences will never be identical, but functionally tablets and smartphones are able to do most of the same things as desktop computers, helping people work wherever they are, rather than in a traditional office. We see that playing out in our own company where fully half of Patron’s employees are working remotely.  
2017: If you’re still tethered to your desktop, make this the year you start embracing a mobile lifestyle.  

The Shift to Video Marketing

2014 Prediction: Video, both recorded and live-streamed, will become ubiquitous.
This has happened in fits and starts and not exactly as I had expected. Linking to YouTube videos from websites and email campaigns is now essentially mainstream. There seems to be a YouTube video for anything and everything. Last year I wrote about the potential impact of live-streaming video, talking about Meerkat and Periscope, the former of which then shut down. But coming up quickly is a service that wasn’t yet in the game in early 2015: Facebook Live. Have you looked? It’s mind-boggling what’s already there. We’re now in a world in which everyone can be ...

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