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Give a promise of live events this holiday season

Gift wrapped with music note wrapping paper.

The holiday season is fast approaching, and this winter, you’re likely to be more reliant than ever on the generosity of audiences and donors to tide you over into the new year. It may feel that many of the usual income streams are closed to you, and that you’ve already asked a lot of your supporters, but some ideas from nonprofits within and beyond the arts world could help you approach them with a fresh perspective. 

Once you’ve decided what could work for you, make the most of Giving Tuesday (www.givingtuesday.org and https://givingtuesday.ca/), which this year falls on Tuesday, December 1. It’s a great moment to spread the word about your offers and appeals, and there are plenty of resources available on the site to help promote your campaigns by email and on social media. Here at Spektrix, we have also compiled a series of ideas surrounding seasonal giving to help you with your planning.

Before you start, look at your buying and giving pathways to make sure it’s as easy as possible for people to book or donate. Then plan your time between now and December to make sure you’re ready to capture some of the Giving Tuesday buzz - rather than creating something special for the day, use it as a marketing tool to spread your message, celebrate philanthropy and speak confidently about what you can offer and why your work matters.

What are people looking for this holiday season?

Most of us won’t be able to spend the holiday season with large groups of family and friends. So, if we remove piles of presents and noisy gatherings from the picture, what might be most important in this year’s holiday shopping?

Gifts that can be bought and delivered remotely

People won’t want to spend long days hunting through crowded shops, especially if they can’t hand over the parcels in person to any but their closest loved ones; and with winter events facing cancellation there’ll be less choice of stocking fillers or seasonal surprises. 

Gifts that promise time together in the future

After months apart, the things we want over the holidays are likely to have changed. 2020 has reminded us of the irreplaceable value of time together, with friends and family or in a crowded auditorium of like-minded strangers.

Gifts that make things a little bit better

It’s easy to look at the negatives of this year, but 2020 has also inspired an incredible outpouring of community spirit. What better time than the holidays to capture that generosity by helping people buy gifts that give back to the causes that they value?

What can you offer to them?

A promise of a shared experience

Encourage people to buy tickets now for events later in 2021 as a way of reassuring loved ones that they’ll be together again. Consider bundling tickets with welcome drinks or merchandise to make gifts feel extra special - and reassure buyers that tickets are transferable if things don’t go to plan. If you want to send print-at-home tickets directly to the recipient, use an Order Attribute to collect their email - then it’s a quick job for your box office team to redirect the tickets where they’re wanted.

A promise of live events

If people aren’t ready to buy tickets to a specific event, gift vouchers provide an even more flexible alternative while bringing money into your organization early. Consider extending expiry dates to 2-3 years to give them real confidence that they can use their gift whenever they feel ready. 

These great examples from Alnwick Playhouse and Uckfield Picture House are making it easy for customers to buy gift vouchers with well designed Web Components.

A promise you’ll still be there for them

In recent years there’s been an increased appetite for charitable giving and “gifts that give back.” Look at examples like Choose Love - Help Refugees for ideas, and consider how you could ask people to contribute to the future of your organization or artists by “buying” a bottle of sanitizer, an empty seat or materials for a community project. Use the Donations Web Component or even an online shop to help them choose a gift that appeals to them.

The MAC in Belfast are offering a range of donation levels, rising from a £5 ticket to a £500 bursary.

Theatr Clwyd have raised £22,000 to support 40 out of work freelancers with their Helping Hand Appeal.

A promise they’ll be the first to know

Gift Memberships can be delivered directly to the recipient’s inbox on Christmas morning - or any other significant date - with a personalized message from the gifter. Many organizations have seen memberships grow more quickly than ever this year, as audiences seek ways to support the culture they’re missing - with this gift, you can help them ensure their loved ones can be among the first back through your doors.

A promise that they matter to you

Offer low-level donors an email or card which they can pass onto their loved ones to mark a gift on their behalf. Encourage higher level donations with enhanced rewards like a recorded message from your star performer, exclusive access to online content or downloads, or low-cost merchandise like pens, badges or even face masks.

Link up with artists and promoters to create rewards that support your organization’s identity and make the most of your connections - Children in Need do this brilliantly with their celebrity friends.

A promise they’ve already made

If you offered audiences the chance to turn their unused tickets into credit during the spring, that money’s probably still sitting in your bank account and can’t be accessed by either of you. Plan a campaign specifically for credit holders, encouraging them to use the balance for tickets, vouchers or even gift donations to save themselves a bit of cash this holiday season.

By making it as easy as possible for patrons to give and embracing your community’s yearning for live events, organizations can provide their audiences with new avenues to lend their support throughout the holiday season and into the new year.