What is it that keeps a patron coming back? Theatres, festivals, and concerts cannot guarantee that a customer’s experience will be the same every time, so how can we expect our audiences to stay loyal? How do we ensure they’ll keep buying tickets or donating to our cause? STEWARDSHIP. Stewardship is term nonprofits use to describe the upkeep between saying thank you and the next ask for a donation. By stewarding your patrons, you can create a relationship that’s more than just transactional, and help them feel appreciated and excited to be involved. Read this blog for some effective stewardship tips!
Create a newsletter.
A newsletter is the perfect way to share your point of view, personal experiences, and organization updates all in one space. Photos of recent events should also be mandatory! When your patron opens their newsletter email or picks up a physical letter at a welcome table, they should feel immediately up to date with the happenings of your organization. However, newsletters should still be brief, so make sure you’re posting, emailing, or printing at a rate that matches the pace of your production. (On the other hand, Spamming a patron is a quick way to lose their loyalty.)
Invite members to open house events.
If you have a venue that can host parties, then try adding a welcoming open house event to the calendar. This act of hospitality will help your patrons feel more comfortable and involved with your organization. Getting a “behind-the-scenes” peek, or even seeing the place with all the lights on will allow your patrons to feel like they’ve gained exclusive access. Share flyers about upcoming shows or ticketed events and some flare they can feel proud to wear or show to friends.
Invite them to serve on task forces.
Try sharing a call to action in your newsletter outside of just buying tickets. If needed, ask your patrons to help your production grow by becoming social media ambassadors, volunteering at event tables, or inviting their friends to join them in membership. By keeping track of who does what, you can also provide personal acknowledgments that let them know their patronage is appreciated.
Share transparent annual reports.
If your organization is a nonprofit, sharing requested annual reports is required by law. Make sure your annual reports are up to date in profiles like GuideStar or Charity Navigator. If your reporting and business information are up to date, your organization will be more credible to funders. Fourthwall Tickets makes it easy to read important analytics, and transparency will help you gain trust with your patrons. Share your annual reports on your website, and let your followers know any pertinent information; they might even offer some help!
Provide special perks.
By offering memberships that include early access, discounted tickets, special seating, swag, etc. you are offering advantages to staying loyal to your organization. These perks also show patrons that their efforts are appreciated, and if they continue to stay involved, they will continue to see a return. Of course, patrons should seek enjoyment from your shows, these extras will serve as reminders of their closer status to you even when they are away. Additionally, your perks must match your patrons and their giving/involvement level. This way, your organization can still function as a business that is spending just enough to create a loyal return.
It is never too soon to start stewarding a patron, even before they buy their first ticket. Make sure reaching your organization is immediately accessible through your website, and push your activities during performances! Now that you have an idea of what to do to keep your patrons informed and appreciated, it’s time to put them into action!