Playhouse Square Improves Donor Experience

Playhouse Square, a prominent U.S. performing arts center, improved donor engagement and streamlined ticket sales by integrating fundraising and ticketing through AudienceView. The move led to a significant increase in donors purchasing tickets online, enhancing the overall patron experience and reducing call volumes.

  • Significantly improved donor experience
  • 83% of entry-level donors purchased tickets online
  • Almost 30% of all donors purchased tickets online

The Situation

Playhouse Square, the largest U.S. performing arts center outside of New York City, began using AudienceView in August of 2018. The new platform allowed the organization to fully integrate its fundraising and ticketing modules into a single solution. 

The Playhouse Square development department saw tremendous potential in leveraging the integrated system to more effectively engage with their donors. 

“We are hyper-focused on enabling patrons to engage with Playhouse Square however they choose,” says Leanne Dewyer, Assistant Director of Development. “Whether it’s calling the box office or logging in online, we want every touchpoint to be a seamless, intuitive and pleasant experience for our patrons.”

Before moving to AudienceView, almost all Playhouse Square donor presale tickets were sold over the phone. Answering these calls required a substantial amount of staff time. The process was also inconvenient for many donors who wanted to book online, but found the experience confusing and counterintuitive.

Callers to the box office or season ticket services departments would also need to be transferred to the development team to buy their tickets because donor information was not accessible to all departments. This led to donors waiting on hold and high call volumes.


The Solution

Playhouse Square communicated with donors frequently after its fundraising and ticketing databases were integrated, encouraging them to visit the organization’s website and take advantage of donor benefits online. 

They began by sending emails to highlight features of the new online system and provide donors with their usernames. Playhouse Square also encouraged donors to log in, then update their passwords and contact information so they could start using their benefits. 

One of the most frequently used benefits is early access to most performances throughout Playhouse Square’s season. In August 2019, Playhouse Square held their first single ticket presale on AudienceView. During this highly anticipated event, tickets for dozens of performances were made available for donors on staggered dates based on their level of giving. 

The Results

When Playhouse Square started running presales through AudienceView, the number of donors logging into their accounts online immediately increased

AudienceView makes using donor benefits extremely easy – once a Playhouse Square donor logs in, they have immediate access to exclusive presales based on their giving level

During the single-ticket presale, almost 30% of all donors purchased their tickets online, a notable increase from past seasons. 

While many long-tenured donors have grown to love the concierge experience when they call to buy tickets, other donor groups jumped on the new functionality. 83% of new donors – those who often decide to contribute exclusively because of the presale benefits – purchased their tickets online

During the presale weeks, not a single patron called the box office with questions or to complain about the online purchase flow.

Even donors who called Playhouse Square to purchase tickets had a better experience. With the system fully integrated on AudienceView, all departments at Playhouse Square can now sell tickets on the spot. Almost 45% of all tickets purchased during the single ticket presale were processed through a non-development or internet role.

In the year since switching to AudienceView, Playhouse Square has achieved tremendous benefits from the new platform and the team is excited to continue building on that success. 

“Our donors love how easy it is to purchase their presale tickets online,” says Dewyer. “We can’t wait to continue to roll out new features and provide our patrons with a top quality experience.”