I got one of my favorite kinds of NAMT emails last week, from Sean Kelly at The 5th Avenue Theatre and Kristin Buie and Nena Theis at North Carolina Theatre. At the recent Spring Conference, several members talked about promotions where subscribers’ seats were tagged with renewal requests when they attended a show, to engage them while they were actually in the theatre. At The 5th, for renewing early and on the spot, they were given a bottle of wine to take home and free parking. Kristin and Nena thought this was an easy enough project to initiate quickly (not that it didn’t require a fair amount of work, identifying subscribers and their seats, for example), and low cost enough (thanks to deals to the theatre on the wine and the parking) to be basically risk-free, so they gave it a shot. I’ll let Kristin tell you how it went:
“Our goal was to bring in $100,000 during the ten-day show run (this is how much we brought in during the first ten days of our renewal period last year by doing our standard renewal mailing). Well, we brought in over $100,000 in the first four performances alone…Our grand total was $536,747.50, including donations from brand new supporters and 44 new subscribers. Our patrons really appreciated the personal attention and convenience to take care of it on the spot at the show.”
Where Kristin, Nena and Sean dream of subscription renewals, I dream of stories like this. One of NAMT’s main goals with our conferences is to send attendees home with ideas they can use, as quickly as possible. We stress adaptability, so what worked for a $21M organization in Seattle can be scaled for a $3.5M organization in North Carolina, or even further for a $5,000 budget with a volunteer staff of two. And of course that works in both directions, taking a grass-roots idea and growing it into something that will work for a larger organization.
I love that Kristin and Nena got something so concrete out of the Spring Conference so quickly, and I love that they shared their success story with Sean and me. It’s proof of the power of this network, and a great reminder of how well risks can pay off, something I’ll definitely be keeping in mind as we plan the 2012-2013 conferences (about which more soon! Watch this space!).