Getting the Software You Need
Anne Choe - June 22, 2018
If you plan and produce events, I’m sure you’ve taken on (and earned) the title of superhero. Event management in the non-profit world takes a special skill set—the ability to do a lot with very little.
It’s no wonder that event and venue managers are able to make do with post-it notes, Excel spreadsheets, Google Docs and lots of cups of coffee. Events are executed successfully, but what the people at the top of your organization don’t see is the hard work and Rube Goldberg machine of systems you’ve had to create to do your job effectively.
Event and venue management solutions like ArtifaxEvent can be real time (and sanity) savers but are a hard sell to your CFO or Executive Director in a way that software like point-of-sale systems are not because the return on investment is difficult to quantify. I’ve worked in enough non-profit organizations to know that “time is money” does not apply to us, as evidenced by paycheck vs. the number of hours worked. So how do you get upper management to invest in a solution that has so many benefits that are hard to define?
Here are some tips on how to get that line item approved in the budget:
Figure out where you fit in the bigger picture. Most people who are interested in venue management software need to make something happen in a certain space, at a certain time, with the aid of certain resources. For most cultural institutions like performing arts centers and museums, that pretty much defines your existence: things happening in a specific place at a specific time. Communicating why the successful execution of events is critical to your organization’s mission will be essential in any discussion about event management solutions.
Get a group of champions. If you are managing your room and resources in a decentralized system, then getting stakeholders from other departments should not be difficult. If you do an assessment of all the organizational touch points that take an event from its first entry into the calendar all the way through the settlement, you will find a lot of people who will be grateful for more shared information and greater efficiency.
Focus on the areas of improvement succinctly. The greatest benefit of systems like ArtifaxEvent is that they provide a platform for better organization-wide communication, less duplication of effort, fewer overlaps and conflicting events, and better reporting and analysis.
No more checking multiple calendars to avoid potential conflicts. This is particularly useful for events that would occur far in the future. ArtifaxEvent simultaneously centralizes the information while also categorizing them by status. This is particularly useful for events that are in the planning stages but not confirmed. The JCA Artifax team has written reports and created a workflow that manage holds and quickly identifies the “owner” of a particular booking.
No more hoping a task has been completed or wondering if the task has been communicated. ArtifaxEvent filters information so users can send the specific tasks for each requirement to the person who needs to complete that task, and makes it easy to see which tasks have been completed and which ones are still pending. Perhaps more importantly, it highlights changes so that operations can quickly identify if set-up requirements have changed or are in conflict, and still have time to resolve those conflicts.
Less Duplication of effort
No more taking information from one calendar and duplicating it in separate department calendars. Prior to implementing ArtifaxEvent, many organizations would manually create separate calendars in which each department captured information about things like IT setups or operational information and then re-entered it in another document such as a work order.
No more over-booked resources or conflicting events. ArtifaxEvent provides a complex level of overlap checking which identifies more than just whether there is an event taking place in that particular room at the same time. ArtifaxEvent can trigger a warning based on sound bleed, traffic flow overlaps, street closures and other events which are not specific to the facility but which can nonetheless affect event attendance, such as public holidays and Super Bowl Sunday. The system can also warn users when there isn’t enough turnaround time between events, or if you’ve overbooked your resources.
No more manually counting and adding up figures. Numbers like estimated attendance or potential revenue can not only be calculated and centralized by Artifax, but also used to gain valuable data. This data can provide numerous benefits for an organization, such as help forecasting for future programming and providing information for funding and grant writing purposes. ArtifaxEvent can also track revenue-generating events so that you don’t have any more mysteries around cost vs. revenue for your organization’s events. As you use ArtifaxEvent more, managers will start to see not only the ROI on marketing efforts in terms of the number of inquiries and qualified leads, but also have access to a holistic view of revenue versus costs for each type of event. ArtifaxEvent can track lost revenue to help you understand the indirect costs of programs and other events, which can inform decisions like the public programming scheduling or donating space.
Do your research and present options. Ask your peers at other non-profit organizations in your area and across the country. LinkedIn can be helpful in this way, but you can also use professional organizations like International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM). Ticketing systems like Tessitura also usually have a user community that lists partner vendors you can use as a resource.
Choose the right partner. There are many venue and event management software options that offer very similar functionality and each has its own nuanced strengths and weaknesses. Choose and advocate for the one that is right for you since this tool will be an important part of your daily work life. JCA’s most successful Artifax clients chose us not just because ArtifaxEvent met their requirements but also because the JCA Artifax team brings the experience and knowledge needed for a rewarding partnership from implementation to support.
Every superhero needs a techie sidekick to help them save the day. Contact us to schedule a demo and see if ArtifaxEvent is yours.