Current Affairs

Crowdfunding Hits the Mainstream

Current Affairs

© Ivelin Radkov - Fotolia.com Now that crowdfunding is a word everyone knows, many arts organizations are considering doing it. And just like most things that seem like a “shiny new object,” the hype around certain amazing success stories is now blotting out the realities of what’s actually involved. Guess what? A Kickstarter or Indiegogo fundraising campaign is still a campaign and goodness knows we know how to run campaigns. They take planning, resources, time, and attention. And sometimes they work and sometimes not. Quoting from this excellent article from the Stanford Social Innovation Review:

Crowdfunding isn’t a quick fix for the social sector’s funding issues, but it is an increasingly critical component of the fundraising toolkit; allowing nonprofits to connect with and solicit support more efficiently than ever before.

If your organization is thinking about a crowd-funded campaign then this contains an indispensable checklist.

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Toward an International Consensus on Audience Development

CRM & Ticketing, Current Affairs, Newsletter2

International CRM & Box Office Ticketing ConsensusDuring the past month, I’ve had the opportunity to give presentations about arts marketing, audience development, CRM, and box office ticketing in Argentina, Chile, San Francisco, and Seattle. I’ve shared the spotlight with some of the best consultants and executives in our field, from South America, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States; relevant links to many of them are at the bottom of this article.

Though none of us pre-screened our presentations for one another, what amazed me was that all of us validated and reinforced what the others were saying. It’s clear that there’s wide agreement about where audience development in our industry is headed and what organizations ought to focus on in order to grow. Here are a few of the more important insights.

1. CRM RULES

The move to a customer relationship management (CRM) approach to audience development and customer service has become a central point of agreement internationally. We’ve moved to a time in which the “transaction” (a ticket sale or a donation) is no longer an end in itself. Rather, the transaction now represents the beginning of a customer relationship. Using digital technology, your job is to embark on an ongoing series of two-way communications, to target and personalize your marketing efforts, and to document all your interactions to create a 360-degree view of your relationship with that patron.

Those of you who follow my blog and this newsletter know that this is the central idea in our book Breaking the Fifth Wall: Rethinking Arts Marketing in the 21st Century, so I am heartened that these ideas are truly becoming international.

2. GREAT MARKETING DECISIONS ARE DRIVEN BY DATA

“Data-driven marketing” is a phrase I’m hearing over and over. The reality is that your organization already has a lot of information about your customers. But you either may not have the ability to access it, or you haven’t yet tried. In either case, when you start to “interrogate” your data and use it to creatively slice and dice your patron database into meaningful segments that you can track and measure, marketing suddenly becomes less about guesswork and more about measurement and refinement.

When it comes to marketing tactics, I like to say that if it can’t be measured, you shouldn’t do it! For most arts organizations (click to read more...)

We Need Your Vote! - Part Two

Current Affairs

Last week I posted here asking you to help us be eligible for the Chase Bank Main Street Grant competition. We needed 250 votes, and thanks to you we’re over the top now and we’ll see how we do in the next round. Though it may not surprise any regular readers, you know what worked the best in getting people to respond? Email marketing. Yup, with one email we doubled our votes within a few hours!

How, here’s the next thing I’d like to ask you to vote on. (click to read more...)

We Need Your Vote!

Current Affairs

Patron Technology recently applied for the Chase Bank “Mission Main Street” grant, and to be considered we need 250 votes on Facebook. We are committed to continuing our work with arts & non-profit organizations, and this business grant would help us further our mission. To apply, we filled out a questionnaire that answers how we plan to support the arts community, copied below. We hope you’ll check it out and then please vote for us! Or if you’d like you can simply:


  (click to read more...)

The Arts as a Community Builder

Current Affairs, Newsletter2

Choose the Right CRMAnyone who’s passionate about their work draws their motivation from the lens through which they see the world. If you’ve ever heard me speak, you’ll know my particular combination of experience: a love of (and history of running) arts organizations, a stint at B-school, and working for American Express.

So my passion comes from an enthusiasm for bringing the best professional business tools, skills, and techniques that I saw in the corporate world to the arts to help our field grow and improve. For many people reading this article, that may be the lens you bring as well.

Others, however, envision their role as a leader in the arts in an entirely different way. For them, the arts are all about community engagement, community building, and improving the lives of those who create art. I found myself amid such a community of leaders last month when I attended (for the first time) the League of Historic American Theatres (LHAT) conference. (And yes, they did give out the hat in the picture...get it?) That conference emphasized a view of what the arts are all about that is very different from what you typically hear at conferences such as the League of American Orchestras, Theatre Communications Group, or National Arts Marketing Project.

This committed group of managers that run historic theatres see themselves first and foremost as builders of a community. (click to read more...)

Gmail's Changes Improve the Inbox Experience

Current Affairs, Email Marketing

Note: This blog post was written by Michelle Paul, Director of Product Development. This is the second of two posts on Gmail’s changes; you can read the opposing view point here.

GmailA little bit of background: I actively turned on Gmail's new inbox feature in June because I was giving a webinar about email marketing and I wanted to include some up-to-date info about what’s new in the field. I had intended to just try it out for a few days and then switch back — instead, I’ve stuck with it, and I’ve found that it works really well for the way I use email. (Note: I’m only talking about my personal Gmail account — we actually use Gmail here at Patron Tech as well, but for that one I’m sticking with my old organization method.)

I’ve been using the new Gmail inbox for about six weeks, and I like it. (click to read more...)

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