Bay Area Children’s Theatre Grows Program with CiviCRM

2015-01-07 08:13
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The Bay Area Children’s Theatre (BACT) in Oakland, California was formed to help people develop a lifelong love for live theatre. From the get-go, the program was a success and quickly grew to the more than 54,000 constituents it has today. 
While tricked-out spreadsheets worked well as the organization established itself, the drawbacks of this method—limited access and errors—became apparent, so BACT needed a more sophisticated nonprofit CRM solution. Jim Meehan, BACT’s volunteer IT manager, researched options and decided CiviCRM was the best open-source platform to accommodate the theatre’s immediate and future needs.  
Thorough Demographic and Engagement Data
Out-of-the-box, CiviCRM gave BACT staff a true view of constituent engagement, which helped their prospecting activities. 
For example, because all data is consolidated in a central database (rather than housed in multiple locations as with the spreadsheet system) staff can easily create a list of patrons who attended all season performances and develop a fundraising campaign for that group. Because those patrons are deeply engaged, the response rate and number of donations collected from that campaign are very high compared to a campaign that targets all patrons.
Furthermore, staff can analyze demographic trends, which are used to target paid ads on social platforms.
“The average CTR on Facebook is around .1 percent. In ad campaigns that advertise upcoming BACT performances, we target an audience similar to those we’ve identified as ‘highly engaged.’ CTR for those ads average 1.5 percent, which is well above the average,” says Meehan.
In-House Ticketing Saves Thousands of Dollars
With some custom development work, CiviCRM also enabled BACT to bring their ticket purchasing in-house, saving the organization about $50,000 a year. Meehan says that while the customizations were a large upfront cost, BACT was thinking long-term and happy to put revenue back into the system to reduce future expenses.
At the same time, customer experience also improved. For instance, the theatre transitioned from a general-admission to a reserved seating model—a change that would bring greater value to BACT’s regular patrons. Had BACT chosen a proprietary ticketing software program, it likely wouldn’t have been able to add the unique customizations—at least not easily.
CiviCRM Technology Streamlines All Processes
Today, CiviCRM handles many of BACT’s day-to-day tasks, while dashboards give staff the information they need to assess the nonprofit’s financial health at-a-glance. While BACT has no current plans for major upgrades or new development, Meehan is confident that should the need arise, CiviCRM’s platform has the capacity to handle new functionality.
CiviCRM supports BACT’s most important marketing and program management activities
For more examples of how BACT implemented and currently uses CiviCRM, you can read the Software Advice case study here.