Tessitura Network Expands Capabilities and Resources

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Efforts help arts and culture navigate the COVID-19 crisis, retain revenue, boost productivity, and share ideas.

Tessitura Network is responding to the global COVID-19 pandemic by releasing new product functionality to automate and streamline its member organizations’ workflows, helping to save time and drive revenue, and has launched multiple ways for its global community to learn and connect with one another.

Enhanced Capabilities to Increase Productivity and Retain Revenue
As arts and cultural organizations moved to cancel events and close their doors to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Tessitura moved quickly to support their needs. One of the key factors for organizations during this time is the need to retain vital revenue. In just a few weeks, Tessitura has released several pieces of critical functionality.

Enhancements that automate Tessitura’s mass cancellation capabilities have streamlined the ability for patrons and staff to apply funds from returned tickets to a contribution, gift certificate, or account credit, or to process refunds en masse. For UK organizations, contributions can be processed to an in-scope fund for Gift Aid.

Along with the need to cancel events, organizations have needed to collect their ticket holders’ preferences for the value of their tickets. To aid with this data collection, Tessitura released a self-service feature for their e-commerce platform, TN Express Web (TNEW), that saved staff time by allowing patrons to select configurable options including donations, gift certificates, or exchanges.

Once cancellations are completed and revenue allocated, it’s essential to send receipts. Tessitura has made it easier to send bulk emails notifying customers of refunds, and can take advantage of a new HTML template for transactional refund emails.

For admission-based organizations wishing to quickly extend expiration dates on memberships, Tessitura has also released a new utility to make that a seamless process.

Business Intelligence
To facilitate reporting on the impact of cancellations, Tessitura added a new dashboard to its powerful business intelligence tool. The Cancellation Impact Dashboard for Tessitura Analytics displays high-level financial metrics, shows details of returned tickets and fees, and explores how revenue was retained as contributions, gift certificates, and on account balances.

Accelerating Learning and Connection Among Arts & Culture Professionals
Community collaboration, learning, and knowledge sharing have long been pillars of Tessitura’s mission. Online forums, regional user groups, and in-person conferences are just a few of the ways that the community has gathered and thrived over the years.

Tessitura’s website has long been a rich source of information for its members, from product documentation and video tutorials to live webinars and other learning resources. The website is also home to an active portal for community engagement and knowledge sharing.

As the scope of the COVID-19 crisis became clear, Tessitura added a new online forum dedicated to response readiness. To date, the forum has over 40 discussions on highly relevant topics, with some discussions garnering dozens of replies.

The Tessitura team has added new Business Continuity resources to the website, with a highly useful landing page (behind member login) collecting relevant content for those navigating the current challenges. A Frequently Asked Questions page collates useful information to help Tessitura users complete essential tasks while working from home. An ongoing series of blog posts has provided further professional insight and advice.

“Tessitura was formed to enable arts and cultural organizations to be productive, efficient, and effective. We continually look for opportunities to do that,” said Jack Rubin, CEO and Co-Founder. “When this crisis hit not only did Tessitura Network respond to the immediate technology needs, but we also recognized the needs of the individuals in our member organizations: blogs to inspire, information to educate, and hosted webinar sessions to share ideas face-to-face with colleagues from across the world. It is this combined approach — people and technology — that is the foundation of the Tessitura Network.”

“Our community’s focus changed almost overnight to managing the uncertainty of cancelled events and closure of buildings,” said Kristin Darrow, Senior Vice President of Product. “We are proud of how our team was able to pivot: within that same span of time, we were preparing to bring new technology to our members facilitating easier ways to automate ticket returns, extend memberships and change event dates efficiently, improve flexibility in handling payment terms on existing orders. We have also expanded online capabilities for frictionless self-service like customer-managed ticket returns.”

“Tessitura's response as an organization has been very thoughtful and strategic,” said Sean Wright, Executive Director of The Grand, a performing arts organization in Wausau, Wis. “I commend you for the work done to meet the needs of the member organizations. Thanks to all who are working hard to shift to these immediate member needs.”

Providing Timely Advice and Thought Leadership
Now that social distancing is having a profound effect on arts and cultural organizations that have had to close their doors, Tessitura has stepped up to facilitate the types of connection and communication that arts and cultural professionals need most.

Tessitura thought leaders quickly stepped in to share their insights and expertise with the arts and culture sector. President Andrew Recinos provided work-from-home advice from a company that’s been 100% virtual since its very beginnings. Erin Koppel, Vice President of Enterprise Consulting, offered counsel on relational fundraising during physical distancing. And several additional team members have published best practice advice and other professional resources.

Offering Value by Bringing a Postponed Conference Online
The Australia New Zealand Tessitura Users Conference (ANZTRUC), originally scheduled to take place March 30–31, quickly pivoted to offer ANZTRUC Virtual, in addition to rescheduling the in-person conference for October 2020. ANZTRUC Virtual offered six topic-specific events, all taking place online, April 3–8. 262 people from 50 arts and cultural organizations in Australia/ New Zealand (plus a few international guests) participated in the online meet-ups, whose topics included working virtually, administering large-scale cancellations, leveraging digital content to engage audiences, philanthropy, and measuring impact.

New Online Gatherings to Share Ideas

Innovators in Conversation
The newest online event series is designed to inspire the global arts and culture community during the current crisis. Called Innovators in Conversation: Advancing the Future of Arts and Culture, the series will present weekly video chats with an industry leader in conversation with Andrew Recinos, President of Tessitura Network.

Guest speakers are leaders from the worldwide Tessitura community who are finding ways to navigate through widespread closures and a rapidly changing economy. Each conversation will last 30 minutes and will be followed by 15 minutes of live Q&A. Guests will share ideas that have worked, tactics that haven’t worked, and what they have learned. They will also share how they are thinking about the future. The recorded conversations will be published on tessituranetwork.com/blog for future viewing.

Pop-Up Skill Builders
A new program called Pop-Up Skill Builders offers casual how-to learning sessions twice each week. Each session walks participants through hands-on skills that are immediately useful to staff using Tessitura in order to help them be more productive. Terry Stevens, Director of IT and Database Operations at the Midland Center for the Arts, called one Pop-Up Skill Builder event “very valuable” and commented: “This was an excellent pop-up. It was great information, easy to follow…. I learned so much.”

Tessitura Arts & Culture Connections
The Tessitura community has been able to connect face-to-face as well. On March 26, the company launched a new series called Tessitura Arts & Culture Connections, with sessions planned and facilitated by thought leaders including Erin Koppel, Vice President of Enterprise Consulting. The series uses online video meetings to introduce specific topics, then organizes attendees into small groups to discuss in greater depth. Topics discussed to date include relational fundraising during physical distance, new revenue streams, revisiting your case for support, and season announcements and subscriptions.

EU Connections
Similarly, the Tessitura Europe community has been gathering for group discussions on current issues specific to their region. This series explores topics related to ticketing, fundraising, analytics, and more. Recent sessions have included digital engagement, adjusting audience strategy, and measuring success.

“I just wanted to say thank you to everyone at Tessitura for the way the organization has handled the COVID-19 situation,” said Alan Moffat, Ticket Operations and Customer Relations Manager of Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto. “You have quickly put together resources and forums, hosted webinars and discussions, and pivoted product development to features that are really needed. It’s been very clear how much the Network cares about its members and how strong the community is as a whole.”

“As soon as this crisis hit, cultural institutions rose to the occasion, providing comfort and hope to a terrified world,” said Andrew Recinos, President of Tessitura Network. “We have been so proud by the noble response of our organizations, even as they cope with their own tremendous difficulties. Tessitura is leveraging every ounce of our innovation to support our organizations through this crisis and help ensure they are able to fulfill their missions well into the future.”

About Tessitura
Tessitura is an enterprise CRM system that powers all key business functions for museums, performing arts organizations, and other cultural, educational, and media entities. From fundraising and memberships to ticketing, marketing, education, analytics, and more, Tessitura's unified platform enables a seamless, 360-degree view of all donors, members, and volunteers within a single database. Tessitura provides targeting and insight capabilities so the “right” engagement can happen at the optimal time.

In addition to its flagship software, Tessitura offers a range of complementary services that empower its users to achieve their goals. Those users form a community of industry leaders that enjoys an unprecedented level of knowledge sharing and collaboration through the facilitation efforts of the Tessitura Network. Tessitura also works with a wide range of ecosystem partners that provide products and services to extend the power of what its members can do.

Operating since 2001, Tessitura Network, Inc. is proud to be a member-owned and governed nonprofit. Tessitura serves over 700 organizations in ten countries. For more information about Tessitura, visit http://www.tessituranetwork.com or contact Amelia Northrup-Simpson, Marketing & Communications Manager, at amelia.northrup-simpson@tessituranetwork.com.

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Amelia Northrup-Simpson
Tessitura Network
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