Turning refunds into donations

Liv Nilssen, sector strategy leader at Spektrix, shares a piece of software that could help arts organisations turn refunds into donations. 

Liv Nilssen
Liv Nilssen

The cultural sector is facing an unprecedented challenge with the spread of COVID-19. At Spektrix, we’re committed to supporting the industry through technology, and we feel strongly that we can weather the storm if we’re all in this together.

I was a fundraiser for a theatre in San Francisco in October 2008 and I clearly remember our shock as the US financial system went into collapse in a few short days. And while that crisis is not the same as the circumstances we face today, I want to share an experience from the days and months that followed.

The theatre’s audiences and donors didn’t walk away. Instead, they reached out. Not everyone could give, but those who could gave more than ever because they were committed to our survival. This happened across the sector, with audiences and donors committing to the organisations they loved and in the end, we pulled through together.

I believe that right now it’s time again that our sector asks for the support it needs and deserves. There has never been a more important moment to connect with those who care most about your arts organisation.

At Spektrix, we have developed the Ticket Converter Tool, which is now available to all not for profit cultural organisations, regardless of the ticketing system they use. The tool is designed to encourage audiences to donate, or accept refunds as credit, with a single email click. This way, we aim to mitigate losses as far as possible, to maximise the impact of the relationships organisations have with their audiences, and to keep front-line team members supported at a stressful time.

The Ticket Converter Tool is available to non-profit arts organisations in the UK, Ireland, USA and Canada. It is completely free to use, and Spektrix won’t see any data. We’re gathering feedback, updating and improving the tool iteratively. We hope that the tool will be useful to the wider cultural sector and we want to help. While we prioritise our own clients, we will do our utmost to get any organisation who wants to use this set up.

We know that the organisations we work with have a base of customers and donors who care deeply about their continued ability to serve their communities. Within a few hours using the tool, one Spektrix client saw their donations outweighing the requested refunds. I am very encouraged and inspired by the response, and I hope that this positive outlook will be shared by many others soon, too.