Being Treated Like Somebody
on Your Birthday (and Everyday)

Today’s guest blog post is written by Samantha Colbert, Senior Client Administrator, Patron Technology. 

Today, April 27th, is my dad’s birthday! I got him something, and my mom will likely take him out to dinner, or maybe go see a movie, or head to one of their favorite entertainment venues in the area, but they’re most likely to go where they know they’ll get a good deal, especially if it’s a deal because it’s his birthday!

I talked to my dad last week and asked him about his birthday plans, or, if he expects any gifts. Here’s some of our conversation:

Me: When you think about birthday rewards, what comes to mind?

Dad: Usually it’s a restaurant. It’s nice when you go out to eat and you get your cupcake with a candle in it and they sing happy birthday. I don’t know if those are necessarily a loyalty reward, but a business is trying to gain your favor by making a fuss over the fact that it’s your birthday…

Me: Okay, but outside of servers singing Happy Birthday to you, have you signed up for any birthday clubs specifically?

Dad: Nope.

Me: Why not?

Dad: No one tells me about them, they don’t advertise for it, and it’s not something I ever really think to ask about.

I proceeded to tell my dad that almost every restaurant I can think of, fast food, sit down, and so on, has some sort of birthday club from IHOP for Breakfast to Ice Cream for dessert, you could go a whole day (or week!) on free food. Earlier this month on this blog, Acount Executive Kirsten Main discussed why she finally became a member at an organization, and the same is true for birthday perks.

The truth of the matter is, birthday or membership perks are a great way to collect information about the people who frequent your organization. This can teach you about your demographic, keep people interested in upcoming events, and offer an incentive to visit! Patrons need to stay opted in to receive their birthday rewards, and in the meantime you can remind them about upcoming events, even when it isn’t their birthday! Here’s some more of our conversation:

Me: Okay so outside of “birthday rewards,” are you a part of any loyalty programs at all?

Dad: A few.

Me: What do you get with your loyalty cards? Do you think it’s worth it to have them?

Dad: I personally when we arrive at a venue and they seek us out because they know we are there. Someone comes up to us and asks “can we get you anything? Are you enjoying your stay?” Without the loyalty cards, you don’t get that. You feel good and you feel good about being there because they care. You feel like somebody.

For a nonprofit that is the biggest thing that you can do for a patron, make them feel like they are a somebody, that they are someone special because they are a member, or have a loyalty card, or are on your mailing list, or meet whatever criteria you have set up to be considered someone worth recognizing.

Take for example the Audience Rewards program, which is as simple as signing up and seeing shows! The more shows you see the more points you can get and the more rewards you earn. (And, in our PatronManager system, you can easily see how many shows someone has attended within a timeframe!)

Some organizations have tiers of members, the more you donate/attend the higher your tier, the bigger the perks. Some have a membership list, and if you sign up as a member you get the same perks as every other member. Don’t be afraid to get creative, see what others might be doing, but also think outside the box! Find the program that suits both your Box Office and your patrons.

Me: If you could get anything for free or discounted on your birthday, what would you want?

Dad: Plane tickets! Free trip to Hawaii! (laughs) I don’t know. I guess some places don’t have a lot of great things to give that I might want, like go to the hardware store and get a hammer? No. But I would say, I guess, thinking about it, something is as good as anything. There’s no bad birthday present, and even if you don’t end up using it, it’s a good reminder that the organization cares and would like to see you again and treat you in a special way, treat you like you’re somebody.

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