Previous installments of Green Means Go provided numerous examples of just how important fundraising is. Recently, two respected industry experts published their opinions on how to improve theater patron fundraising. These expert views reinforce much of what 'Green Means Go' has shared with hard working theater owners and nonprofits albeit with subtle differences. It is up to theaters and nonprofits to decide which of the how to improve theater patron fundraising resonates most.
As experts in helping all nonprofits market themselves and increase donations, The Agitatorhas published the first installment of a two part guide called 'Fundraising Intermission #1: Retention (Again!). The authoritative piece written by Roger Craver begins with a reminder for nonprofits:
Before we continuing exploring the new, new things and better ways to do the old, old things, Tom and I thought it good to pause for an intermission and remind ourselves and fellow Agitators of some fundraising fundamentals that we lose sight of at our peril.
Craver then proceeds to stress the importance of keeping established donors by citing a "startling" infographic. The infographic is packed with real-world data and statistics that every nonprofit and theater owner should be aware of. According to Craver the information is the reason he and co-author Tom Belford "repeatedly hammer away on retention and donor commitment."
One of the statistics is rather alarming: Only 65 of the 2,377 nonprofits studied had a retention rate over 70%
“Follow the money…”
When asked how to improve theater patron fundraising, too few theater owners may answer "retention", as the The Agitator has suggested. The challenge of fundraising is described differently on the Target Resource Group's blog, although the goal is ultimately the same.
Target Resource Group Vice President Joanne Steller thinks that 2013 will be the "year of the patron". Steller's post downplays the importance of new technologies like social media as way to improve fundraising and puts the patron, the living, breathing person, front and center.
One troubling indication is the frequency with which our firm observes strategic planning initiatives being built around facilities, programs, operations, technology, and campaigns. Everything BUT the patron is being examined in those visions for institutions’ futures.
With her intent clearly stated, Steller goes on to explain why the patron is paramount:
Patrons are the source of paid attendance and visitation. They invest in memberships, subscriptions, and annual fund programs. They buy education programs, gala events, and items in your gift shop. They influence corporate support, foundation giving, and public funding. Patrons are, for U.S. arts organizations, the main (sometimes only) source of income – both earned and contributed income. In all transactions, the common denominator is not the campaign or program that delivers revenue.
Retention of patrons is clearly the common thread between the two authors. Both written opinions are highly recommended reading for all nonprofit entities and performing arts theaters.
Tools to Improve Theater Patron Fundraising
If you agree that retention is how to improve theater patron fundraising, you will need a ticketing software with tools toaccept donations online and collect email addresses as part of the purchase process. ThunderTix offers those features as well as robust tools to manage patron dataas part of our Theater plan. ThunderTix offers a ticketing software for nonprofits, with many features geared towards donating. If you want to sell tickets online, be sure to take a look at all the features we have to offer and sign up for a free trial today!
ThunderTix’s commitment to The Arts doesn’t end with a sold out performance. We want to help theaters, big and small, meet their operational goals by sharing new ideas and best practices for accepting donations and increased ticket sales. ‘Green Means Go’ is a series for performing arts theaters and chronicles the latest developments in fundraising, event awareness and ticket sale technology.