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Exciting developments for PatronBase in the UK

PatronBase is delighted to announce the merger of their UK-based development team, and the UK support and services team. Our motto of “build an audience your way” drives us to focus on the flexibility and range of tools our partner venues need to put the patron at the heart of everything they do, and we believe that by offering a range of custom services including web design and development, custom development and reporting, project management and much more, we can deliver far more value to our partner venues in the challenging Arts economy of 2018 and beyond. Similarly, the merger will shorten the distance between the patron, the venue and the development team, allowing us to respond to our patrons’ and venues’ ever changing needs in an even more timely and focussed manner.

The expanded team will be headed up by Rob Walters, Software Architect for PatronBase worldwide, ably supported by the UK development and support teams working under a single umbrella. Rob has been writing software since he was 15, and his interest in the Arts started even earlier, splitting his time at school pretty evenly between the theatre and the computer labs. Both interests continued throughout University, where Rob combined a BSc in Computer Science with Knowledge and Information Systems, with a full calendar of involvement backstage in student and not-for-profit shows across Cardiff. Working with PatronBase over the past 4 years has given Rob the perfect environment to combine his 2 greatest interests

Rob and the team look forward to discussing with you how PatronBase can help you do more for less, and ultimately to build an audience your way.

Au Revoir to Hannah Boyes


Hannah Boyes has recently announced that she will be leaving PatronBase UK this month and taking up a new role with one of our third party integration partners, Booking Protect, as their new Business Development Manager.


Whilst all at PatronBase are naturally disappointed to see her go, we wish her all the best in her new career direction and look forward to continuing our relationship in the future, as we work together to expand the revenue generating potential that is Booking Protects integration with the PatronBase online booking pages.


In her own words;



“After five and a half years with PatronBase I believe it is time for me to move on. I will be leaving the PatronBase team at the end of February to commence my role with Booking Protect.

I would like to thank everyone in the PatronBase family for all their support and friendship over the years. I hope our paths will cross again in the not too distant future.”



If you are interested in finding out how Booking Protect’s integration with PatronBase can create an additional revenue stream for your organisation, please contact or call 029 2000 3490.


Making Malteser’s Matter – My First AMA


This year was my first experience of the AMA Conference, or any marketing conference for that matter, and I can honestly say I did not know what to expect.  Until recently I have been mostly beavering away in the PatronBase support team and I was very much looking forward to the opportunity to meet the faces behind the voices I get to speak to regularly, and some new ones as well.  Supporting our customers and getting to know them better is by far the best part of my job, so with this year’s conference focusing on inclusion and relationship building I was really excited to be a part of it and felt very connected to the message.

A huge part of what I love about PatronBase is the people.  Each one of us ended up here because we want to help your organisation work to the best of its ability; support isn’t just our job title, it’s our work ethic!  As such, being able to support our fellow industry professionals by providing sponsorship opportunities for two lucky recipients to attend AMA 2016 was something we as a company were very pleased to be able to do. It was great to actually meet Sian Bateman of London Sinfonietta at the conference and I hope she got as much from the conference as I did.

Another important quality of the PatronBase family is we like to have fun.  Sponsored lunch breaks are a fantastic chance for stall holders to connect with the rest of the delegates, engage in discussion topics and get a feel for the trends coming out of the sessions.  By the second day though we could feel the weight of debate laying heavy across the room and the to-do lists getting longer, so we decided to use our sponsored lunch to inject a little silliness.  The Malteser Game is a favourite in our household, so when tasked with setting up a fun challenge I knew exactly what to go for.  Congratulations to Alanna Clear of Red and White Studio, a very worthy winner!  I hope the shortbread was tasty and your kids were impressed with the tin!

Given the trying times we are encountering, the conference title On A Mission To Matter, held additional poignancy for me.  In the wake of the referendum the pressure is on us to prove our worth and show that we matter in every way possible.  Not only did we explore how we can matter enough to individuals to encourage investment through fundraising, memberships, digital engagement and returning patrons, we also discussed how we could reach out: to become a part of the community that matters.  Donna Walker-Kuhne encouraged us to be “authentic, curious and respectful”, so let us take this message away with us, try to be authentic in our representation of our communities, curious about new ideas and ways we can work together, and respectful enough of each other’s work that we turn up and support everything we can.

I for one am looking forward to next year’s conference already and hope to bring what I have learnt this year back into the PatronBase support team and customer family in the meantime.

For more information on how PatronBase can help your organisation, please call us on 029 2000 3490.

Hannah Torrance

Trainer / Support Analyst – PatronBase UK

Spot the Difference?


How a ‘double or quits’ approach to deduping, is driving some Box Office Assistants up the theatre wall…

Picture the scene, a new brochure went on sale yesterday; 3 classes are taking place in the next few hours and practically all the participants want to book places for next term, involving forms being filled in, questions about age groups etc.; someone wants to buy a necklace from the jewellery counter; another customer needs to use the baby facilities behind a locked door that only you have the key for; a maintenance guy has come to fix the heating and you can’t find the Duty Manager; a queue has formed for ticket collection; the phone is ringing and you are the only member of Box Office staff on duty for the next two hours….sounds like the stuff of nightmares? Unfortunately, not.

With an increasing number of venues combining Stage Door Reception with Box Office and more sales online resulting in a severely paired down Box Office team, the reality of the above scenario is all too real.  If you add into this mix a day to day admin task that would test the patience of a Youth Theatre Leader, it’s no wonder that for most venues deduping takes a backseat and in some cases, there simply isn’t time to even consider it.

It is no surprise therefore, that many organisations let this build up.  As important as it is to eradicate those annoying double data entries within the system, the task is often considered low priority when faced with the really important stuff, like serving actual customers (as opposed to clearing up the mess that the virtual ones left, when they booked online months ago).

If it does get to this point, there can be several thousand entries to wade through once the team have enough time (and staff) available to deal with them and using some systems, it can take weeks to clear the backlog.  Yes, that’s right, I did say weeks and here is the reason why…

The dedupe procedure for some can be around a 15 step process, involving pulling reports in different formats, copying and pasting, cross referencing backward and forward between different screens, working out if they are the same person or if they just have the same last name, clicking through lists of data you wish to keep for the duplicate account etc…..and at the end of this process, those who you found not to be duplicates will appear all over again next time, as there is no way of taking them out.

On a good internet day, you might be able to complete the above in about 1.5 – 2 minutes, but even so, a couple of thousand would take about 50 hours – and that is on good days. The other issue with this process is that there is only so much you can comfortably cope with at a time.  More than about two and a half hours makes you want to jump into the nearest truck and run away with NoFit State Circus, or similar.

However, the dedupe process using PatronBase goes like this:

  1. Search for duplicates from within the system by first name, last name, email address, address, phone number
  2. Select the pair and determine which data you wish to preserve
  3. Either merge with one click, or remove from the list as they are not duplicates (they will not appear again)
  4. That is all.

And this is one of the reasons that I love PatronBase.  And this is one of the reasons that I love PatronBase. Click.  Merge.


Friday 01 April 2016

Julie Young, Sales and Marketing Administrator (PatronBase UK)

Thoughts from the Ticketing Professionals Conference

24th – 25th February 2016


Is your ‘Silo’ becoming an excuse not to communicate properly?

Last week I, along with the rest of the PatronBase team, attended the Ticketing Professionals Conference and what a great couple of days it was! We were treated to an abundance of learning and discovery and the chance to catch up with/meet friends and colleagues in the ticketing industry, not to mention the lovely cake!

This was the first of this type of conference that I had attended and I was therefore keen, notebook in hand, to find out more.  After a few hours on Thursday I had listened to a couple of very interesting talks about data capture, CRM, leadership etc. Glancing back at my notes, I found that a term kept being repeated… one that I was unfamiliar with.  As a fan of the 90’s TV gameshow, Blockbusters, I harnessed my inner Bob Holness, scribbled down the word and started trying to decipher what must surely be an acronym:

Special Initiatives (for) Leaders Of Staff?

Staff Incentives Lessening Overt Stress?

Suitable Intelligence Leveraging Outward Success?

Super Instant Learning Outreach Schemes?

And then, as part of one of the presentations, I saw this picture:


I realised that ‘SILOS’ actually referred literally to a container used in farming……

That can’t be right, I looked it up:

(pejorative, management) An organizational unit that has poor interaction with other units, negatively affecting overall performance. Wiktionary

I was perplexed.  Not only has this alarmingly negative (although sadly often evident) organisational trait been given its own term, it seems that many speak about it as if it is an unavoidable issue and therefore something which has to be ‘managed’. People talk about silos (a lot) in terms of forming strategies to combat the after effects of an organisation that cannot communicate, where relationships are so broken that everyone works independently and the walls are up to anyone, even sometimes within the same team.

One of the sessions I attended at the conference detailed how communication between staff, suppliers and providers was key.  It was suggested that a project manager would be useful, particularly where silos exited in-house.  As much as this might be a good idea if there was an existing staff member who could take on this role, it seems ridiculous that we have reached the stage where additional staff may have to be employed as a go between for departments within the same organisation, simply because no-one can communicate internally.

It is easy to understand, particularly in large organisations, that things can become extremely compartmentalised. Where it is difficult to physically bring together relevant parties, for reasons of available time or location, fragmentation and misunderstanding can indeed occur. However, the term appears to be cropping up everywhere, increasingly in very small organisations, where this sort of thing shouldn’t be an issue. I wondered if rather than denoting separation, what many organisations are experiencing is a total breakdown of morale, which leads to at best, complacency of attitude toward company goals and at worse, downright sabotage.

Is there a danger that this term is so general and widespread that it is becoming an ‘excuse’ for inter department squabbling and negativity toward others, for those feeling downtrodden and demoralised by their superiors to shut the door and put up barriers – “we work in a siloed organisation, what can you do?”

When it gets to the point where Marketing won’t publicise an event run by their own Front of House team (because that’s not their department or budget), or the accounts staff are using earplugs so that they don’t have to hear the Development team bemoaning Participation, or even Box Office are calling their ticketing provider support rather than asking someone in Marketing (who could easily fix the issue) as they are scared of being snapped at; you have to wonder what future there can be for such businesses who seem intent on purposefully scoring own goals?

You might well feel that you have to adopt the ostrich approach and just concentrate on your individual goals for the business, ignoring all the acrimony in the background. You may implement the most advanced systems on the market to communicate better with your customers and each team might wish to procure their own ‘siloed’ system.  I would question how any of these measures would begin to address the fundamental problem of ‘anti-team’ mentality and this actually translates directly to affect your customers’ experience; if the wheels are falling off the bus before you even start, is it a great idea for your customers to jump on board?

Technology can of course help – especially if you can encourage all your staff to use one system, that perhaps covers CRM, Ticketing, Venue Management, Fundraising, Inventory, Finance etc. with each user becoming involved and having an input.  PatronBase offer a wide range of integrated modules that can help to provide solutions to encourage staff to work together and use the same data, and some of our new tools such as the browser-based WebHub can be a great communication tool between departments and even other venues. However ultimately, the only way of fixing the problem is to work together to create understanding, both on an individual and collective basis.

It almost seems too simplistic to say that the only cure is communication, but it really is and has to filter down from attitudes at the top.   Whole organisation staff meetings (or at least regular whole inter-departmental ones) are essential.  Hire good people and listen to them, invest time in getting to know them and helping them to feel appreciated.  Understand the frustrations of the staff you ‘inherit’ – after all, they may have been there a long time and quite possibly know the customers and the local area better than most. Be grateful for your staff and the work they do and try to ensure that they see each other’s worth too.  Above all, concentrate on achieving goals together.


The ‘Siloed’ team will never get to the end of ‘The Gold Run’, especially if this vague label is being used to actually enforce or excuse negative behaviour towards others. Customers pick up on this negativity in some way or another very quickly and they may decide to find an alternative place to patronise, where they can actually appreciate a culture of community and togetherness.

Do you want to run the risk of becoming Stubborn Individuals Losing Out?


Submitted by Julie Young, Sales Administrator

To find out more about how PatronBase’s integrated systems can improve communication in your organisation, please contact


Wednesday – 12th August, 2015

2015 AMA Conference

A few weeks has passed since the 2015 AMA conference and I know many organisations are keen to get started on ideas and projects shared at the event. With 650 like-minded people from different organisations and backgrounds in the arts sector, it was truly an inspiring event for everyone.

The atmosphere over the 2 days was incredible. The talks and seminars added such a burst of ideas; it was hard not to open up discussions with the people around you. There were constant smiles and thoughtful faces everywhere.

PatronBase was established to help arts organisation flourish and provide the tool to grow and develop relationships between organisations and their audiences. Following on from the conference, we would love to hear from you in regards to your ideas to help make them a reality.

We are excited to announce development work on our new fundraising module to really help manage your fundraising campaigns and monitor legacies. We’re pulling together various features that we already have and adding new functionality to help release the maximum fundraising potential from your data, so please do get in touch for more details.

Valuing real peoples involvement in arts marketing, PatronBase provided the opportunity for two lucky arts professionals to receive a bursary for the 2015 AMA conference. Please keep reading to find out about the conference experience from our successful applicants.


Lily Middleton from Chelsea Physic Garden

It was a slightly daunting experience attending my first conference, particularly after hearing there were over 600 others attending! But I needn’t have worried, as the Arts Marketing world is very friendly and welcoming. As soon as I had started my first event, an illustration workshop, I was chatting away about theatre with someone who works in Edinburgh. In fact throughout the entire conference, whoever I sat next to in a seminar or stood next to in the queue for lunch was incredibly friendly. Networking always seems a bit intimidating but in this environment I actively looked forward to more opportunities to meet the fascinating people surrounding me. The keynote speeches were inspirational, whether filling me with ideas on how my own organisation could be more welcoming to diverse audiences or sparking excitement around the possibilities of social media! The seminars filled my notebook with ideas to take back to the office and the brilliant digital hub gave me practical advice I’m already using in the office. The most reassuring aspect of the whole conference was that whether you work for a large arts organisation or a tiny one, all the challenges, and of course the rewards, are very similar!  

Claire Jackson from National Portrait Gallery

With the generous support of PatronBase I was thrilled to be able to attend my first AMA Conference. The event in Birmingham proved to be a great experience and I have come away with renewed energy and new ideas for marketing the National Portrait Gallery’s broad and varied offer. It proved to be a great opportunity to network with peers, whilst taking in some of the local culture at MAC and Ikon, as well as make new connections and discuss our varying approaches to marketing the arts. I attended some really insightful break-out sessions on marketing to families, how to create an award winning marketing campaign and innovations in digital strategies as well as the thought-provoking keynote discussions on diversity and audience inspired visioning. The mix of speakers and attendees made for a diverse and interesting conference and I feel I have gained a huge amount of fresh insight and knowledge from the experience.


We are very much looking forward to attending the 2016 AMA conference and would highly recommend the conference to anyone working in marketing or fundraising in the arts sector.

Matt Barton
PatronBase UK




Monday – 8th June, 2015

Supporting arts professionals at the start of their careers

At PatonBase, our ethos is about helping and supporting arts and cultural organisations develop and grow their audience and income through a comprehensive CRM and box office system. Whilst we always support organisations as a whole, it is ultimately the people behind the organisation that make the difference. That is why we felt it was time to support organisations on a more personal level by providing two bursaries for individuals to attend the 2015 AMA conference.

We feel that the annual AMA conference provides a great platform for arts professionals to share and listen to ideas with regards to audience growth, development and relationships. For an individual relatively new to the arts marketing world, the talks, discussions and the networking opportunity would be invaluable to kick start their career.

With an ever growing number of organisations using PatronBase in the UK as well as in New Zealand, Spain and Australia, we felt it was time to support individuals wishing to pursue a career in arts marketing. We are company whereby any profit made is put straight back into the company, which is why we can offer a low cost for the PatronBase software, however the increase of PatronBase customers last year meant we had a small profit pot to which we wanted to use differently.

I can honestly say that it was a very difficult decision and that all applicants were very much considered and worthy of the bursary. It was a pleasure to read how much time, passion and hard work the individuals gave to their role and personal involvement in the arts sector.

As well as providing PatronBase with an insight into their own professional development and commitments, applicants were asked for some supporting words from their retrospective line managers on how the bursary would benefit them. It was evident how much each applicant was valued within their roles. Truly inspiring.
PatronBase are proud to announce the winners:

Lily Middleton from Chelsea Physic Garden
Claire Jackson from National Portrait Gallery

We want to thank everyone who applied for the bursary and wish them well on their career path within the arts sector.
PatronBase will be attending the conference on all 3 days and providing a demonstration on the software on Wednesday the 22nd July at 3:15pm.

Book Now –
We shall look forward to seeing you there.

Matt Barton
PatronBase UK

Team Profiles