"If you're a little theatre company with a $50,000 budget, you can't pay $150,000 for software," said Adam Huttler.
That little piece of obvious reasoning was part of the reason that Huttler, the founder of Fractured Atlas — a nonprofit dedicated "to building smart technology for artists" — created Artful.ly, the artfully named new software system designed to change how smaller arts groups sell tickets, raise funds and build their audiences. The system officially launched Oct. 21.
"The main thing it does," explained Huttler, whose background is in theatre, and who began his career as a director, "is put the all the data that matters to a company's work in one place, especially in terms of the people they interact with — the donors and theatregoers. I remember doing an informal audit of one company's records. The same donor was recorded in 17 different places. That is not unusual. You've got ticketing over here, accounting over here, fund-raising over there. There's a lot of repetition. Artful.ly aimed to simplify it all."
So far, it's done just that for the troupes that have employed it.
The four-year-old Ensemble Theater of Chattanooga was one of the several small companies that tested a beta version of the system. "We were looking for box-office software," explained Christy Gallo, public relations director of ETC. "One of our ensemble members came to us and said, 'I use Franctured Atlas and I love it, and they are doing a beta test,'" on something new.
"We were still a small growing company," Gallo added. "We didn't need something huge. We wanted something we could grow into. Artful.ly was a perfect fit for us."
The company first used Artful.ly when presenting a production of Avenue Q in early 2013, and, Gallo said, "It worked great." In the past, ETC has utilized PayPal or Brown Paper Tickets, both of which direct theatregoers to their website in order to purchase tickets. That arrangement, pointed out Gallo, "kept all the information from being in one spot." With the new software, "People, for the first time, were able to buy tickets directly from our own website. It made reporting and organization a breeze. It makes tracking an event remarkably simple."
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