Monthly Recurring Donations in the Arts

It’s safe to say that the monthly subscription model is here to stay.

The subscription box model was proven successful by companies like Dollar Shave Club, Ipsy and Birchbox. Nearly everyone we know is billed monthly for a subscription-based streaming service like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ and a myriad of others.

The monthly subscription model was also popularized by sports franchises like the Oakland A’s with the introduction of their “Ballpark Pass” in 2017. A’s fans got access to every regular season home game at the Oakland Coliseum for just $19.99 a month. In fact, this Netflix-like approach to selling tickets proved so successful that more than two-thirds of MLB’s 30 teams offered similar programs to get fans through their gates.

The subscription ticketing model is successful because consumers have been conditioned to pay a small ‘set it and forget it’ monthly fee for so many of the items and experiences they value in life. These recurring payments, seen as a negative consumer experience in the not-so-distant past, are now being praised for their convenience.

This same model has become very popular for nonprofits that rely heavily on individual contributions to help sustain their business. The 2020 Global Trends in Giving Report, a biennial research project that seeks to gain a better understanding of how donors prefer to give, revealed that 57% of donors in Canada and the United States are enrolled in a recurring giving program — up from 46% in 2018. Of those donors, 94% prefer to give monthly, 3% weekly, 2% annually, and 1% quarterly.

Many theaters and performing arts organizations have leveraged their fundraising software to solicit and collect these recurring donations on their website. Clean, concise, clutter-free donation landing pages make it easy to communicate a fundraising ask and convince your patrons to give a regularly scheduled gift.

Many AudienceView Professional clients generate significant revenue by making it simple for their supporters to make these recurring monthly donations by filling out a handful of fields and entering their credit card information. The donor can then customize their gift by selecting the amount from suggested amounts in a dropdown or entering their own amount. They can then select the frequency – one time, monthly, quarterly, yearly – of their donation.

These arts organizations can offer their donors the option to continue their gift in relative perpetuity or, alternatively, to set an end date that intelligently populates in a dropdown based on the frequency that was previously selected.

The Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre, a dynamic, world-class Shakespeare company, runs an annual fund campaign that asks individual donors to contribute in support of their Open Door Project. In addition to an open field to enter their own amount, they include suggested donation amounts of $50, $100 and $500 in their dropdown menu. They allow for supporters to select their own donation frequency – one time, monthly, quarterly or yearly – along with an option to set an end date. Other optional fields on their donation landing page include the opportunity to name the donor for recognition, a checkbox for a corporate match and a notes field for any additional comments or instructions related to the donation.

Classic Stage Company (CSC), an award-winning Off-Broadway theater, encourages their patrons to make a gift to help them create thought-provoking theater and introduce the power of the classics to thousands of students in New York City. On their donation landing page, they allow their supporters to choose a suggested amount –$25, $50, $100, $250 or $500 – or one of their choosing. They limit their donation frequency to one time, monthly and quarterly. They, too, include fields for the donor’s name, company match and an open notes box.

These are just two of the many AudienceView Professional clients that leverage our software solutions to solicit recurring donations on their website.

Not convinced that this is the right strategy for your organization? We’ve compiled a list of 7 reasons to make sustained giving a priority in performing arts.

Get in touch with us if you’re interested in learning more about how AudienceView Professional can help your organization improve the patron experience and help you sell more tickets online.

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