Guest Post from Debbie McKenzie, Development Manager for Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose

             

These days it seems everyone is looking for the daily deal.

Groupon and LivingSocial deals work well for admissions and drive people in the door, but we have found that they do little to convert the visitor into a member.

Here at Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose our member families visit an average of 3-4 times a year (with a few visiting weekly) – they are getting their money’s worth, so offering a Groupon type deal for membership has never felt right – too little of the proceeds end up in the Museum’s coffer.

So how did we make these deals work for us?

We wanted to take advantage of the “deal mentality” and give membership revenue a big boost without overwhelming our front line and membership staff.

Our answer: an online-only 48 hour (extended an extra 48 hours due to popular demand) membership sale.

The offer:  Buy a basic Family or Grandparent membership (normally $120) for $99.

Since our email distribution list is pretty robust (30,000+ households) we sent a single topic email to the entire list with a note to “please share with friends and family” and promoted the sale on Facebook. Just before the first 48 hours expired, we sent out the “extended” email.

The response each time (we’ve done this 3 times over the past 2 years) has been stupendous.

First time we sold about 400 memberships, this last time 639. One of the things that really puts a smile on my face is the mix of new, early renewal and rejoins:  39% new, 35% rejoin and 26% early renewals – obviously the offers are being “shared.”

Words of caution:

Make sure the discount code is live when you send the email.

People click on the link to purchase immediately even if you say the sale begins at midnight. If all of your membership levels are in one membership program, the discount ($21 in our case) code can be applied to any level – a few clever folks will figure this out. Duplicate constituent records will happen, you will need to be vigilant, and sometimes a bit of a detective.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kristen Gastaldo joined Blackbaud’s Altru team in March 2012, leaving behind the late nights of the music business. She spent 8 years in the music industry, managing a venue in Charlotte, NC, and then relocating to Charleston in 2007 to help reopen the Music Farm. While at the Farm, she founded the Lowcountry Artist Market, a seasonal market that features local vendors selling handmade and vintage goods. Her background in event management, marketing and ticketing in the arts and cultural community led her to pursue a career with Blackbaud, as Altru’s Community Manager. Kristen is here to help users connect with information, each other, and to help foster our sense of community.

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