Category Archives: Volunteer coordination

How to choose the right ticketing solution for arts audience development

This week I was truly a happy audience development geek when I found Capterra’s ticket software filter.  If you are looking for a ticketing solution, this filter is the best for discovering what you can get for your budget.  Instead of being caught up in the better marketing of some companies, you can now compare features to features to find exactly what you need!

A ticketing program is very important when it comes to audience development.  In fact, it is more important than people realize.  Your ticketing system can either help you or harm you when it comes to audience development.  It is best to have a system where you can track and segment to reach the right people for each particular show or event.  I also feel it is important that the system can track your efforts.  I am a big fan of having the system be able to handle your fundraising and membership tasks as well.  The more you can get closer to an “all-in-one” system, the better off you will be.

It used to be that a system of this nature cost a ton of money.  Only the bigger organizations could afford to buy.  The good news is that during my research for smaller to mid-size organizations (and budgets), I found a list of very affordable solutions that are feature rich and could translate into fantastic audience development opportunities if used to the solutions’ potential.

Here is the list of requirements I wanted for under $7,000, 2-9 users, and Windows/Web based/Mac capable:

  • Barcode / Ticket Scanning (94) – This is important so we can finally start tracking who is showing up!
  • Box Office POS (90)
  • CRM Integration (59)
  • Custom Ticket Designs (83) – It allows you a place for sponsor logos & invites for upcoming shows.
  • Customer Data Collection (89)
  • Customer Database (95)
  • Customizable Branding (87) – A must for audience development.
  • Customizable Fields (94) – Another must for audience development!
  • Customizable Reporting (93)
  • Data Import/Export (103)
  • Database Integration (80)
  • Demographic Data (67)
  • Fundraising (56) – Remember the all-in-one ultimate goal!
  • Installation Support (86)
  • Membership Management (64) – You can handle sponsorship levels with this feature on most solutions!
  • No Fixed Fee (60)
  • Online Ticketing (98)
  • Onsite Ticketing (91)
  • Print-at-Home Fulfillment (90)
  • Remote / Kiosk Sales (70)
  • Reporting (105)
  • Reserved Seating (81)
  • Reserved Ticketing (86)
  • VIP & Discount Tickets (93)
  • Volunteer Management (18) – ChoiceCRM & Glitnir only for this search!  I hope more solutions add this soon.

One feature I decided to cancel on my search was “Online User Selects Seats.”  This would be a nice feature, but if you are budget conscious, I think for now it is best to think of all the other features first.  If they need exact seats, they can call.

I must say that I am not endorsing one over the other, although I have my opinions.  Here is the list of all the ticketing solutions I found that had these features (in order of Capterra’s list, not mine):

logo for Box Office Software

Glitnir Ticketing – Glitnir Ticketing System

2 reviews

[Learn more]

TICKETsage – TICKETsage Custom Solutions

6 reviews

Box Office Solutions (Hardware and Software).  [Learn more]

If you are windows or web based only, there were a few more ticketing solutions in this price range that came up. If you are on a really tight to non-existent budget, I really liked PrimeTix for the lowest costs.  If you want audience development features that a Brown Paper Tickets or EventBrite solution does not have, I would say this is a great alternative to start building relationships with your audience members:

[Learn more]

In my opinion, a ticketing solution needs to be user friendly, have the ability to track your efforts, be customizable when it comes to the data you input (and export), and be able to keep as much of your organizational functions in one system as possible.  Having fundraising, membership, and volunteer management combined with your ticketing, makes sense to me.  You need the ability to capture a complete picture of your audience members in order to be able to build the best relationships with them.  This is why choosing your ticketing solution is important and well worth the time spent on getting it right!

PS  I have spoken to a few of these services. Look for more volunteer management and class management additions on the horizon!

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists


“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

Although we are not a non-profit, if you would like to support ADS to continue our work, you can donate here.

My eBook

New eBook!  The How of  Audience Development for the Arts: Learn the Basics, Create Your Plan

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Filed under Arts, arts management, arts marketing, Audience Development, fund raising, Fundraising, Online fund raising, Online fundraising, Volunteer coordination, Volunteer Management

Audience development and keeping your volunteers happy from the start

So, I signed up online to volunteer for a nonprofit in my area.  I received a form letter beginning with “Hello!”  The volunteer sign-up form had my name as the first field.  Why didn’t they use my name?  Did they want to start off on the foot that I didn’t matter as a unique person?  They do want me to volunteer, right?

I am amazed at how many organizations that are in need of volunteers actually do not treat their volunteers as well as they could, and often they start off on the wrong foot.  Keeping volunteers happy from the beginning is of major importance for many reasons.  For one, they will be doing work that is needing to be done for free (you want and need their help).  Secondly, because they now have an inside look at your organization, their new perceptions can be extremely helpful or harmful.  In this day and age of social media and having 200+ friends alerted to our thoughts throughout the day, it could take only a few people saying something good or bad to have it spread like gangbusters.

Yes, keeping volunteers happy takes a little bit of time and effort, but having people that will actually do good and spread the good word for you is well worth those extra few seconds to address them as a person. Treat your volunteers with respect and gratitude right from the start and you will be happy too.

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists


“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

Join us for our next webinar:
March 16th – Noon ET

Working with Mobile Technology to Develop Your Audience
With the rapid adoption of web-enabled cell phones, smartphones and tablet computers, what options are available to arts professionals who want to engage their audiences via mobile devices? How can artists and organizations implement these options cost effectively without taking focus away from the art?


Shoshana Fanizza, Audience Development Specialists
Co-hosted with David Dombrosky, Chief Marketing Officer, InstantEncore
Co-produced with David Weuste, Rosebrook Classical

To Register: Click Here! 


Although we are not a non-profit, if you would like to support ADS to continue our work, you can donate here.

My eBook

New eBook!  The How of  Audience Development for the Arts: Learn the Basics, Create Your Plan

Leave a comment

Filed under arts management, Audience Development, Volunteer coordination, Volunteer Management, volunteering

Audience development and the name game

Name (from –noun

1.a word or a combination of words by which a person, place, or thing, a body or class, or any object of thought is designated, called, or known.

When we are born, one of the first tasks of a parent is to name their newborn.  Parents usually put much consideration into naming their children.  There are books and websites with a plethora of choices because names have meaning, names are an identification for a lifetime, the choice is important.  At times a name can be a cherished heirloom handed down from generation to generation, our namesakes are special to us.  Our name, in one sense, is a brand for life.  We can change our name legally, but most of us become attached to the name our parents give to us.

Well then,  how does a name relate or translate to audience development?  One of the 4 C’s of audience development is “Caring,” and the quickest and easiest way to show you care about your patrons is to make sure you know their name – to remember their name, how to pronounce it and spell it correctly.  Learning someone’s name is the beginning to building relationships with people so it is important to get the name right.

I have been posting every once in a while the audience development tip of the day: learn their name and make sure you spell and pronounce their name correctly.  I thought it was time to finally expand upon this so there is no confusion as to why this seemingly common sense tip is a big deal.   Let me give you a few examples.

When I was a box office manager, actually in any of my sales/customer service positions, I made it a point to get to know my customers and to learn their names.  One day during a major subscription drive, we were dealing with close to 500 different patrons.  One of our patrons preferred to come in to renew his subscription.  I had met him after one of the concerts the year before.  I greeted him with, “Hi Bob!  Are you here to renew your subscription?”  He looked at me in awe and exclaimed, “Wow!  You remembered my name!”  We went on to have a conversation about his programming tastes, and I helped him choose the best subscription for him.  I also found out about his main hobby, which translated into a nice item for our silent auction later in the year.  This conversation, subscription sale (an upgrade from his original plans), and his increased involvement via a silent auction donation all occurred due to the fact that I remembered his name!

In terms of pronouncing and spelling names correctly, I will share another personal story.  With so many communications coming at us, our name spelled incorrectly is an easy filter to not bother with that piece of information.  My name, Shoshana, is often mispronounced and misspelled.  Most of the time it can be quite amusing, but at times when people are approaching me to ask me to become more involved or to donate, I am not amused.  Most people aren’t.  If our name is misspelled, we zone in on it and feel a little slighted.  If I see an ask letter from an organization that has misspelled my name, I tend to recycle those requests without opening.  If someone continually mispronounces or gets my name wrong, I tend to not want to be supportive with their request.  You see, if you do not care enough to get the name right, one of our biggest identifications in life, then it is showing that you do not care about the person.  The person will not want to donate or become more involved if you are unable to get the easy task done of spelling their name correctly.   Not spelling their name correctly will show that you only care about what you can get from the person.  If you have name mistakes on your list and they are not corrected, it is communicating that these people are only a number to you.  Names matter due to our identification with our names.

Getting someone’s name right is important in any form of communication.  Misspelling a name in an email or even a Twitter DM will be noticed by the person.  The person can communicate that you misspelled their name, but if you become savvy to the error, don’t be shy and apologize for the error.  It will show that you do care enough to notice and correct.  Our names are important to us.  Let’s show others we care by getting their names right!

It may take some time and energy, but a great way to connect with your patrons is to simply pick up the phone or send a more personalized letter asking them for proper spellings.  When you are meeting people, take the time to not only learn peoples’ names, but how to properly pronounce them.  Learning someone’s name correctly can open the door to bigger and better opportunities.  If you do not have a good memory for names, you can use little mnemonic tricks such as associating something about their physical appearance with their name.  Getting someone’s name right shows that you care, and they will be more interested in you and your communications (your needs) in return.

So the next time you are doing a mailing or meeting people, play the name game.  You will get extra bonus points for getting the name right!

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,


Shoshana Fanizza
Audience Development Specialists
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“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

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Filed under arts management, arts marketing, Audience Development, fund raising, Fundraising, Volunteer coordination, Volunteer Management