If There Was Ever A Time To Consider Loyalty Programs, It’s Now

A recent post from Joe Patti examines a report from the Advisory Board for the Arts that found “while people may donate at a certain level to gain perks, taking away those perks won’t cause them to reduce their giving, by and large.”

This is certainly good news for arts orgs in a post-COVID environment, but it also brings up some intriguing dynamic considerations that focus on generating the most revenue as possible while ramping back up to full operations. Specifically, I’m thinking about loyalty reward style programs.

They offer a number of unique benefits in the transitional period when operations begin but before the full impact of COVID has receded:

  • Since loyalty programs require ongoing purchases before kicking in, initial transactions are at full price.
  • Loyalty programs demonstrates commitment to the value of multiple transactions, which is what every other member/subscriber reward program relies on.
  • The requirement for ongoing purchases without any timeframe allows patrons to ease into live attendance at a rate that’s comfortable for them regarding health and safety concerns.
  • Keeping initial reward thresholds low helps attract patrons motivated by discounts.

You can even design a program to be limited term. This makes loyalty programs a good option for bridging the time before traditional subscription and membership programs can kick in with a full season of programs.

In short, there’s all kinds of flexibility here worth considering…assuming your CRM/box office platform provide the ability to set up loyalty reward programs. If not, you may want to reach out and ask (voucher programs could be a reasonable alternative).

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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