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kbarber

Pushy fundraising calls from ABT

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Oh, thank you, Amour! This is good news. I wonder why the box office didn't tell me. that?

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If you're calling from a land line or cordless phone with independent buttons or a cell-phone on speakerphone or with an earphone -- so you don't have to pull the phone away to do this -- the best piece of advice I've ever read was in a book about negotiation. I think it was Herb Cohen's "How to Negotiate Anything." If you ever feel you're on the losing or pressured end of a telephone conversation, hang up on yourself mid-sentence. It's an immediate reset, and there's nothing to stop you from ignoring the call back.

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Oh, thank you, Amour! This is good news. I wonder why the box office didn't tell me. that?

Hi Albany Girl! Perhaps the box office doesn't know? ABT is very invested in having people subscribe to their regular subscriptions, for some reason. Maybe so they can be assured of some income early. However, last year I got tired of subscribing to performances I didn't want to see and then exchanging them. The Trios has all the benefits of a regular subscription (no problem with exchanging dates or getting different seats). All you have to do is choose a minimum of 3 performances. I typically get the offer just after the expiration date for choosing a regular subscription.

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As far as I’m concerned, ABT’s fundraising went off the rails several years ago. I had been an annual donor for at least twenty years, but I quit when it was no longer of ANY benefit to ME (selfish, I know, but I live on a librarian’s salary, not a trust fund). They used to send advance mailings to donors that allowed them to buy tickets AHEAD of the general public – very advantageous to those of us who love ballet, but live a thousand miles from New York. Now, priority is given to those buying subscriptions. I would love to buy tickets to 3 performances, all two to three weeks apart, but I don’t live there. Sure, you can trade the tickets for other performances, but again, you have to go and stand in line IN NEW YORK to do that. Invariably, the dress rehearsals that donors are invited to are scheduled midweek, not that convenient for someone who flew in for the weekend. They have apparently lost sight of the fact that they are supposedly our “national ballet company” and maybe, just maybe, people other than New Yorkers attend performances and would happily donate money if they were treated with the consideration they used to be shown. My ABT dollars now go to NPR.

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If you didn't specifically ask the box office about "Trios" for ABT, but instead called it Create Your Own, they may not make the connection between them, even though the Trios offering is essentially a create your own program by a different name.

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If you didn't specifically ask the box office about "Trios" for ABT, but instead called it Create Your Own, they may not make the connection between them, even though the Trios offering is essentially a create your own program by a different name.

That's probably true, Abatt. The box office rep I had on the other end of the line seemed pretty 'green' about options, suggesting that I wait until March and purchase my three performances then, which wasn't much of a solution, IMO, especially because I wouldn't be afforded the discount and ticket prices most likely will increase.

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As far as I’m concerned, ABT’s fundraising went off the rails several years ago. I had been an annual donor for at least twenty years, but I quit when it was no longer of ANY benefit to ME (selfish, I know, but I live on a librarian’s salary, not a trust fund). They used to send advance mailings to donors that allowed them to buy tickets AHEAD of the general public – very advantageous to those of us who love ballet, but live a thousand miles from New York. Now, priority is given to those buying subscriptions. I would love to buy tickets to 3 performances, all two to three weeks apart, but I don’t live there. Sure, you can trade the tickets for other performances, but again, you have to go and stand in line IN NEW YORK to do that. Invariably, the dress rehearsals that donors are invited to are scheduled midweek, not that convenient for someone who flew in for the weekend. They have apparently lost sight of the fact that they are supposedly our “national ballet company” and maybe, just maybe, people other than New Yorkers attend performances and would happily donate money if they were treated with the consideration they used to be shown. My ABT dollars now go to NPR.

As another out-of-towner, I agree completely. Although we know the schedule and principal casting in October (which is helpful when planning trips for the Met season), they are very late in letting us know the schedule for donor events, especially open rehearsals, which are a major incentive for contributing to Friends. Pennsylvania Ballet announced their schedule of Friends events, including rehearsals, back in October. NYCB has the advantage of having their own theater, of course, so they can easily make available Tues-Friday rehearsals whenever they are in residence. I understand that ABT doesn't have that advantage, but if they know the schedule of performances, couldn't they figure out the open rehearsals far in advance, too? Ditto for the fall season at State theater.

As we discussed a few months ago, ABT also increased their prices for different levels of Friends. I understand their need for funds, but adding some perks that people could take advantage of would be nice.

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Let me tell you all about something I did years ago when the Metropolitan Opera used to call me at my office. These were the days when we still had a receptionist, not voicemail, and he'd yell over to my desk, "John, the Metropolitan Opera is calling!" This alone got a laugh from the staff, but I topped it when I picked up the phone and quickly said, in my best diva's voice, "I'm sorry, but I cannot sing tonight!" Stopped the telemarketer dead in their tracks.

Try it with ABT. If you know it's them calling, just pick up the phone and instantly declare, in high dudgeon, "I'm sorry, but I cannot dance tonight!" And hang up. You'll feel so good.

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If you didn't specifically ask the box office about "Trios" for ABT, but instead called it Create Your Own, they may not make the connection between them, even though the Trios offering is essentially a create your own program by a different name.

That's probably true, Abatt. The box office rep I had on the other end of the line seemed pretty 'green' about options, suggesting that I wait until March and purchase my three performances then, which wasn't much of a solution, IMO, especially because I wouldn't be afforded the discount and ticket prices most likely will increase.

I believe the ticket prices don't go up until mid-April. There's really not much incentive to buying a subscription, other than being able to exchange with no fee. At NYCB subscription holders get a 15% discount throughout the seasons, exchanges can be done over the phone, and new tickets can be purchased over the phone or Internet with no handling fee. No such thing at ABT. I also rarely get good seats with my subscription. I'm constantly poring over their seating chart, finding better available seats and then going to the box office for an exchange. Unless you want to be assured about getting a seat ( if you are going to a retirement performance (Julie, Paloma or Xiomara) or a guest like Smirnova) I wouldn't think a subscription is even necessary as long as you get your seats by April. BTW, when dynamic pricing goes into effect, even subscribers have to pay the higher amounts to add on new performances:( IMO, ABT really needs rethink everything if they want to continue to exist.

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Golden Idol, laugh.png and :flowers: for making my day.

Amour, I have had mixed results with seating when getting an ABT trio. I'm usually not that picky, but I've gotten a few questionable seats at the Met.

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Let me tell you all about something I did years ago when the Metropolitan Opera used to call me at my office. These were the days when we still had a receptionist, not voicemail, and he'd yell over to my desk, "John, the Metropolitan Opera is calling!" This alone got a laugh from the staff, but I topped it when I picked up the phone and quickly said, in my best diva's voice, "I'm sorry, but I cannot sing tonight!" Stopped the telemarketer dead in their tracks.

Try it with ABT. If you know it's them calling, just pick up the phone and instantly declare, in high dudgeon, "I'm sorry, but I cannot dance tonight!" And hang up. You'll feel so good.

Oh my dear -- if this were Facebook, you would have a million "likes" for this!

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Has anyone else had a pushy phone call from ABT? Yesterday I was called by someone asking for a donation. I explained I live in Canada so the friends' benefits aren't in fact benefits for me, and that I supported my local company, the National Ballet of Canada, she said "Well we're a National company too" (not sure how that would be convincing for a Canadian).

Incidentally, today I received a fundraising call from the National Ballet of Canada. (I probably wouldn't have answered if my curiosity hadn't been piqued by this thread.) The caller quickly acknowledged that since I live far from Toronto, I wouldn't be able to take advantage of the donor perks. She plowed through all the membership categories nevertheless and pointed out that the company's individual donors include Americans. I guess the NBoC hasn't got a good script for out-of-towners either! But the caller was very pleasant and not at all rude.

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ABT is at it again with the pushy calls. They just called me asking for a donation, despite the fact that I already have a membership and give money to them monthly. I told them I couldn't give anymore, and the lady on the other end actually asked me, "why can't you give more?" Seriously, ABT? Because I have bills and a house worth of student loans to pay back. :wallbash:

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If that was her actual phrase, you might consider writing the company -- I dislike getting anyone in trouble, but that's really a bad choice for a fundraising approach.

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If that was her actual phrase, you might consider writing the company -- I dislike getting anyone in trouble, but that's really a bad choice for a fundraising approach.

Yes, maybe I will contact them, just so they know how their donors are being spoken to. I didn't get her name, I probably should have asked for it, but I was shocked and what she was saying to me.

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Chances are those people don't work for ABT, they work for some outside fundraising firms the company hired, they get a certain percentage for every dollar they raise. So if you want to give to the company, call or send a check directly to the company.

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Incidentally, today I received a fundraising call from the National Ballet of Canada.

...

But the caller was very pleasant and not at all rude.

O, Canada! It sounds very like.

...

I told them I couldn't give anymore, and the lady on the other end actually asked me, "why can't you give more?" Seriously, ABT? Because I have bills and a house worth of student loans to pay back. :wallbash:

The coarseness of some arts marketers amazes me. Don't they realize how counterproductive an approach like that can be to the very people of sensitivity who are their natural market? If marketing works by making a good impression, I'd think they'd want the prospective donor to make some positive association with giving to the cause, instead of a sense of irritation with it. "The lady on the other end" implied you're not qualified to be the judge of what to do with your money? That adds insult to injury.

Edited by Jack Reed

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I got my ABT pushy fundraising call over the weekend. After I said I was not able to contribute, the relentless woman on the other end just kept trying to engage me in a conversation as to why I wouldn't donate. Several attempts to politely end the call went nowhere, so I finally said I'm hanging up now and disconnected the call.

This pushiness is not limited to ABT. Same exact thing happened to me a few weeks ago on a fundraising call from my college.

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I often tell the caller that he/she shouldn't waste his/her time on the phone with me because I have no more money to contribute. That usually lights up a bulb in their brains.

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I know a lady who purchased 28 subscription tickets for this season

and explained politely that she didn't want to contribute more money.

Her telemarketer told her how ticket sales cover so little of ABT's

costs that they lose money on "people like you." So insulting.

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Not sure this is the right forum...

 

Like many others, I suspect, I just got a membership renewal form in the mail. I remember complaints a couple of years ago that they had raised their Friends prices without noticeably increasing benefits. So it's interesting that they've dropped prices this time around, mainly in the four lowest categories.

 

For Dancers Circle: from $100 to $90; from $240 to $180; from $480 to $360; from $750 to $600.  Those are pretty substantial cuts. Perhaps they  hope to win some people back. 

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8 hours ago, California said:

Like many others, I suspect, I just got a membership renewal form in the mail. I remember complaints a couple of years ago that they had raised their Friends prices without noticeably increasing benefits. So it's interesting that they've dropped prices this time around, mainly in the four lowest categories.

 

For Dancers Circle: from $100 to $90; from $240 to $180; from $480 to $360; from $750 to $600.  Those are pretty substantial cuts. Perhaps they  hope to win some people back. 

The thresholds for the donor levels have not been lowered; they are currently the same as last year's.  They are going to be increased in 2018 to the substantially higher levels--they are trying to entice you to renew now rather than wait until next year.

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6 minutes ago, RUKen said:

The thresholds for the donor levels have not been lowered; they are currently the same as last year's.  They are going to be increased in 2018 to the substantially higher levels--they are trying to entice you to renew now rather than wait until next year.

Interesting! I suppose it makes sense if you need to raise more money to raise your prices and provide the same benefits - NOT!

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