Tag Archives: Opera Columbus

KISS Principle

To quote Lisa Hirsch, author of the Iron Tongue of Midnight,

Make it as easy as possibly for people to give you their money.

She’s right.

KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID

The KISS principle states that most systems work best if they are kept simple rather than made complex; therefore simplicity should be a key goal in design and unnecessary complexity should be avoided.

Number of steps required to make an online donation to local arts organizations here in Columbus:

  • Opera Columbus: 5
  • ProMusica Chamber Orchestra: 5
  • Columbus Symphony Orchestra: 20 (More if you have to set up an account and more if you change your mind about the amount halfway through the process.)

5 steps vs. 20-plus steps.  Which seems simple to you?

Persistence, I hope, pays off

Every month I give $5 per month to the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. Is it a lot? Heck no. It doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of what they need in order to keep up their operating budget – 70% of which relies on donations.

Yeah.  70% of their entire budget.

I did research for this blog and after half a dozen attempts, I LEARNED how to make an online donation to the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. It is unnecessarily cumbersome. Their online donation portal, simply put, is not efficient.  It’s not user-friendly and puts an undo burden on the donor, who will most likely give up prior to completing the intended donation.

I’d love to see the conversion rates.

And to be quite honest – had it not been for this blog and a desire to have actually tried something I say I don’t like, I probably would not have donated. Like some CSO musicians, I gave up, too, the first few times, then the next couple of times as well because I just couldn’t figure it out. Sad thing is? I’m computer savvy – I’ve created blogs, websites, I work on computers all day long – PC at work, Mac at home…this should not be a challenge.

Why so many hoops?

Having a computer and knowing how to turn it on should be the only prerequisite to being able to make an online donation. I shouldn’t have to LEARN how to make a donation. I should only have to go to your website, click a button, fill in a few blanks and be done with it. Casual donors are going to send their money elsewhere once they discover how much is required of them up front.

As for my $5? I wish I did, but I just don’t have more to give, so I give that much. I give it because I love the music and for a non-profit organization constantly having to raise money, every little bit helps.

Imagine if the CSO/CAPA team would consider making a change from this cumbersome process to a legitimately good process?

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My research on this comes from open source material. You can check it out yourself and see if you agree or disagree. Here – www.columbussymphony.com. Try to make a donation and let me know how far you get.

And how many tries it takes you to get there.

How Far Would You Go?

Sounds a lot like an ad for the Peace Corps, doesn’t it? Well, I’ll be surprised if this turns into the toughest job you’ll ever love, but hey – you never know!

How far would you go to make an online donation to a local arts organization?

I’ve listed three fabulous organizations below. All are worthy of both our financial support and a trip (or two) to their performances! For each one, I’ve outlined the steps needed for a donor to go from the front page of their websites to receiving a donation confirmation.

I’ve counted going to the site itself as step #1 for all.

OPERA COLUMBUS

1. Go to http://www.operacolumbus.org
2. Click “Support” to be taken to “Support” page
3. Click “Contribute online”
4. Fill out form which includes amount to donate, name, address, credit card info
5. Click “Contribute now” button

Done. Enjoy your receipt / confirmation page.

PROMUSICA CHAMBER ORCHESTRA

1. Go to http://www.promusicacolumbus.org
2. Click on “Support Us” to be taken to the “Support Us” page
3. Click “Donate Now”
4. Fill out form which includes amount to donate, name, address, credit card info
5. Click “Submit” button

Done. Enjoy your receipt / confirmation page.

COLUMBUS SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

1. Go to www.columbussymphony.com
2. Click “Donate” button to be taken to “Support” page
3. Click “Online Donations” to be taken to the CAPA portal within the Ticketmaster Website
4. Type in Email address and Password. Click “Continue” button and proceed to step 5.

If you haven’t already set up an account, follow steps 4A-B-C-D

4A. Under “I don’t have an account” Type in Email address. Click “Continue” button to create account.
4B. Fill out name, address, telephone numbers, etc.
4C. Click “Continue” button to proceed to account set up confirmation page.
4D. Click “Continue” button on this page to proceed to account front page. Proceed to step 5.
5. Follow instructions advising you to scroll down and then click the “Donate Now” button
6. Select “Myself” under donor information drop down menu (Myself is the only option)
7. Check box if you wish to remain anonymous. :-)
8. Scroll down to choose and click “Columbus Symphony Orchestra” so fund option will appear
9. Click on Columbus Symphony Fund Annual Donation so amount box will appear
10. Type in amount you wish to donate
11. Click “Apply” button to make amount appear under “total donation”
12. Click “Add to cart” button to be taken to the shopping cart page
13. Review donation amount to ensure you’re donating as much as you’d like to donate.

If changing amount, follow steps 13 A-B-C. If amount is fine, move on to step 14.

13A. If you’d like to change the donation amount, click “Change donation” for a pop-up box to appear.
13B. Click “Yes” button to change your item being purchased where you to be returned to step 5.
13C. Re-do steps 5-13 using your new amount and continue
14. Click “checkout” button to be taken to page where you can enter payment information

** 10 minute time limit for processing begins now. **

15. Choose payment option in drop down menu (Credit/debit card is the only option) so form to fill out payment information will appear.
16. Enter name, address, credit card info
17. Click “Next step” button
18. Review your card info / purchase
19. Click the box agreeing to the terms of use
20. Click “Submit order” button

Done. Enjoy your receipt / confirmation page.

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So what do you think?

How far would you go to give your money away?

Must See Classical Music in Columbus

Columbus, Ohio is a city filled with arts organizations and for those of us interested in listening to classical music, it provides us with a wealth of options.  The classical music concert season is starting in the next few weeks and whether you’re a veteran of going to see the symphony or looking to venture out for the first time, I’ve put together a list of what I think are some must-see concerts.

For those of you who might be new symphony goers, the classical music concert season follows the school year, so it starts in the fall a few weeks into football season and goes through collegiate finals weeks in May. After that, it usually takes a few weeks off before starting the summer pops season.  Plenty of music – all year long!

This is not an all-encompassing list – heck, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra has 15 classical music series concerts this year alone – but it does offer up a nice sampling of things to try in the coming months.  Check this out – there’s something for everybody.  Maybe we’ll even see each other at some of these.  I sure hope so because there’s some great music on upcoming programs and the musicians are fabulous!

Columbus Symphony OrchestraComplete schedule

Mahler’s Symphony #2 – Resurrection – Friday, October 5. at the Ohio Theatre

Includes the Columbus Symphony orchestra playing alongside the Columbus Symphony Chorus.  Canadian soprano Dominique LaBelle, who sang at last year’s season opener of Beethoven’s 9th, will again be one of the soloists.  And if you thought Beethoven’s 9th was good, you shouldn’t miss this!  Be sure to listen for the French horns!

Beethoven’s 5th – Friday/Saturday, November 15-16 at the Ohio Theatre

Who didn’t love the movie Immortal Beloved with Gary Oldman as Ludwig von Beethoven?  Everyone recognizes his well-known 5th Symphony – heard anywhere from in the movie to the Google Chrome commercials and by everyone else who marks a dramatic moment by singing these four notes: DA DA DA DAAAAAAAA!

Rhapsody in Blue – Saturday, February 8 at the Ohio Theatre

Want a chance to hear that fabulous clarinet glissando at the beginning of Rhapsody in Blue?  Here’s your chance – in an evening of nothing but music by George Gershwin.  One of the premier interpreters of Gershwin, pianist Peter Nero plays a variety of music such as Rhapsody in Blue, S’Wonderful, Someone to Watch Over Me, etc.  I bet that if you close your eyes, you’ll even be able to picture Gene Kelly singing and dancing!

Mozart’s Requiem – Friday/Saturday, April 11-12 at the Ohio Theatre

Speaking of movies, Mozart’s Requiem, left unfinished at the time of his death in 1791, but later finished by one of his students, is probably (in this writer’s humble opinion) the most beautiful piece of music ever written in the entire history of man. (No pressure, CSO!) It was the piece of music depicted at the end of the 1984 movie Amadeus that was being dictated by a very sick Mozart to an awed Antonio Salieri. Whether what happened on film was really true doesn’t matter as it’s a beautiful beautiful beautiful piece of music that you should see performed live if you possibly can.

Not enough Mozart for you? Never fear – there are two other concerts earlier in the season (November and February) that also feature his music.

ProMusica Chamber OrchestraComplete Schedule

Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E Minor -   Saturday/Sunday, November 9-10 at the Southern Theatre

Violinist Vadim Gluzman, who played the Alban Berg violin concerto with the CSO last May, is back to play one of Felix Mendelssohn’s most famous pieces.  While it gets a lot of play time on the radio, a live performance should not be missed!

Mozart Mass in C-Minor – Saturday/Sunday, February 22,23 at the Pontifical College Josephinum/Southern Theatre

Not to keep referring to movies, but if you have the Amadeus soundtrack, then you’re familiar with the Kyrie from this mass by W.A. Mozart, featuring soprano, Felicity Lott.  In the movie, it was in the scene when Mozart’s wife took some of his music to Maestro Salieri and was being played at the point he dropped all the manuscripts on the floor because he couldn’t believe what he was seeing.  Beautiful! This live version features the Lancaster Chorale under the direction of newly appointed music director, David Danzmayr.

Opera ColumbusComplete Schedule

Madama Butterfly – Friday/Sunday, November 22, 24 at the Southern Theatre

Puccini’s most beloved opera about how a Japanese maiden falls in love with an American Naval officer.  Originally a flop when premiered in Milan back in 1904 it has since become one of the most highly performed operas around the world.  Featuring Priti Ghandi as Cio-Cio San and Harold Meers as Pinkerton, this is performed in collaboration with the Ohio State University.

The Pirates of Penzance – Saturday/Sunday, March 8-9 at the Southern Theatre

Considered “light opera,” this Gilbert and Sullivan work features the character, Frederic, who is mistakenly apprenticed to the pirates through his 21st birthday – something made more challenging because of his having been born on February 29th!  With a constant theme of duty, everything works out in the end with this fun story.

Ballet MetComplete Schedule

Swan Lake – October 18-20 at the Ohio Theatre, October 25-27 at the Aranoff Theatre

Tchaikovsky’s beautiful ballet about a princess who is turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer’s curse only able to return to life as a princess if a prince swears his love to her.

The Nutcracker – December 12-24 at the Ohio Theatre

Don’t miss an opportunity to see Clara and her Nutcracker prince for yet another wonderful Tchaikovsky ballet.  With two weeks’ worth of performances, there’s a chance for everyone to see one!

Early Music in ColumbusComplete Schedule

Twelfth Night – Saturday/Sunday, January 4-5 at the First Congregational Church

The Early Interval will perform music from the 12th -17th centuries in France, Italy, Spain and North Africa on traditional instruments such as the recorder, bass dulcian, crumhorns, medieval lute, chitarone, rebecs, violin and pipe and tabor.  Don’t know what some of those are? No worries. Neither do I, but I look forward to finding out in this celebration of music marking the end of the Christmas season and welcoming in the new year.

Westerville Symphony OrchestraComplete schedule

Vaughan Williams’ Symphony No. 1 – Saturday, May 10 at Fritsche Theatre in Cowan Hall – Otterbein University

Didn’t get enough of the high seas with the Pirates of Penzance? Great! This symphony is actually titled “A Sea Symphony: A Song for All Seas, All Ships” and has text from Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass.” It will be performed next spring along with vocalists from a variety of choral ensembles at Otterbein University.

Chamber Music Columbus - Complete Schedule

Dvorak Quintet in A Major, Op 81  – Saturday, November 16 at the Southern Theatre

The Pacifica Quartet plays along with pianist Marc-André Hamelin, who played just beautifully last year with the CSO. They’ll be performing quintets by Shostakovich, Dvorak and Ornstein.

Ravel and Mozart – Saturday, January 18 at the Southern Theatre

The Escher String Quartet will be playing Ravel’s quartet in F Major, Mozart’s Quartet in G Major, K.387 and Ainsi la Nuit by Henri Dutilleux.

New Albany Symphony OrchestraComplete Schedule

Beethoven’s 9th Symphony – Sunday, October 13 at the Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts

If you didn’t get to see the 9th, Ode to Joy, last year with the CSO, then don’t miss your chance to see it next month in New Albany, OH with the New Albany Symphony Orchestra, featuring the Capital University Chapel Choir.

Holiday Concerts

Looking for some great Christmas music?  Most of these ensembles offer up some great music sometime in December that allows for audience participation and enjoyment.  Don’t worry, I’ll post it all later on, but between various pops concerts, the Nutcracker and more traditional music, I promise you’ll have plenty of options.  If you’d like, you can go ahead and get a head start by checking out their complete schedules linked above.

French Horn Week – coming up the week of September 23-27 here on Giocosity! 

CSO Online Donation Update: September

It’s time for another update on the Columbus Symphony Orchestra Online donation process.  It’s been about a month since my last $5 donation, so I made another to see what, if any, improvements have been made.  I first have to say how I’m amused when I get my Email receipt that says,

“Thank you for your purchase! Below is a summary of your order.”

I’m amused because I didn’t actually purchase anything.  I made a donation.  There’s a difference, but Ticketmaster doesn’t yet know this.

Has it improved? No.  Not at all.

Any fewer steps?  No.  It still requires about 15-20 steps (depending on whether or not you’ve already set up an account) as well as navigation through many screens in order to donate. (Click here for step-by-step work instructions)

Any changes? Yes, but just a few “clarifications” which only result in increasing the level of confusion in an already-convoluted process. How many accounts can I have?  One at a time, but I need one for each organization I support? What?  Huh?

Look.  Is it worth your while to donate to the Columbus Symphony Orchestra?  YES!  Absolutely!  I firmly believe this which is why I keep writing about this process – in the hopes that the folks there will see the light and make donating much more user-friendly.  The symphony itself, the musicians – they really are that good!  Best musical ensemble in town and they deserve our support.

Better yet, just buy a ticket and go. Hear for yourself how well they play. Concerts start up next month.

CAPA Umbrella

The Columbus Association for the Performing Arts, or CAPA, has several organizations under its all-encompassing umbrella.

CAPA

Columbus Symphony Orchestra

CATCO Theatre

Opera Columbus

Lincoln Theatre

Jazz Arts Group

Columbus Children’s Theatre

I’ve linked them all above in the hopes that you’ll take a few minutes to check some of them out because they’re all good and offer some great things!

As you can see above, there are a variety of options in this town for anyone who enjoys the arts: live classical music, jazz, theater productions for all ages in which you can either be on stage or just sit back and watch.  Silent movies with a world-class talent at the organ and a variety of musical and entertaining acts at various theaters around town – the Ohio, Southern, Palace and Lincoln theatres.  Seriously folks, we have a lot of great stuff to do in this city and I haven’t even started talking about sports!

Of these organizations, I’ve only ever seen Columbus Symphony Orchestra and Opera Columbus, but I’d love to check out the Jazz Arts Group and though my weird work hours unfortunately conflicted with a bunch of the CAPA movie nights this summer, I know I’ll eventually get to one.   I’m not worried.  CAPA’s not going anywhere! :-)

4 out of 7 ain’t bad

As you all know I’m clearly unimpressed with the online donation process for the Columbus Symphony Orchestra.  I don’t hide this.  I love the orchestra and I think Opera Columbus rocks.  The online donation process however?  Um…not so much.  It kind of picks and chooses the organizations to which a donor – casual or otherwise – can actually donate.  It’s very weird because they’re all part of the CAPA family, yet it’s as if there are definite favorites.   I’m just not sure what constitutes being a favorite – or if I would want to be one!

For starters, if you’re making an online donation to one via Ticketmaster, you’re stuck there.  You can’t even get back to the organization you started with unless you hit the back button a zillion times (about 15-20) or open a new tab and plug in the address again. This picture at the top of most every page within Ticketmaster, is misleading.

34571

For those of you who are wondering, the above logos are included as part of one single picture, which is how I was able to include it above, so they only go to one link, which happens to be the CAPA website.  I think it’s great to have the logos up there, but here are my suggestions:

  • Make them seven individual pictures / logos / .jpgs with seven individual links to seven individual websites.

OR

  • Update it so it’s obvious we’re going to the CAPA website instead of leaving us disappointed when we end up at CAPA after clicking on the Lincoln Theatre.

A tad inconsistent

As stated above, the picture with all seven logos is misleading. Within the Ticketmaster donation process, we can only donate to CAPA, Columbus Symphony Orchestra, CATCO Theatre and the Lincoln Theatre.  We are NOT able to donate to Opera Columbus, the Jazz Arts Group or the Columbus Children’s Theatre, yet their logos are included in the above picture, thus implying otherwise.  So of the seven organizations, we can donate to four under Ticketmaster (assuming we have the stamina necessary to make it that far), we can donate to two via their own – far better and far more user-friendly – online donation options within their own sites and the last one doesn’t offer an online option at all (it’s “under construction”).

I again have some suggestions.

  • Allow for donations to all seven arts organizations

OR (and this is my favorite)

  • Dump Ticketmaster and model all your CAPA family organization online donation processes after the Opera Columbus model.  Is it not included within Tickemaster because its online donation process is so much better?  Opera Columbus has its own – ridiculously more user-friendly – online donation process.  Click donate off the front page, click contribute online.  Fill out the form, submit.  Done.  I mean, it’s so user-friendly that it’s almost along the lines of ProMusica Chamber Orchestra user-friendly.

The Jazz Arts Group has a similarly user-friendly online donation option within its own website as well.  Why do some CAPA organizations have their own user-friendly online donation forms yet others are forced to suffer under Ticketmaster?  And why so inconsistent?  Do they not want to raise money online for all seven?  Well 4 out of 7 ain’t bad, but it sure as heck ain’t good, either.

If they really did want to raise money, they’d instruct their webmasters to switch it over to the Opera Columbus model.

As for the Columbus Children’s Theatre, its donation page is “under construction,” so right now nothing is there to guide a potential donor.

And as for the Lincoln Theatre, you can make a donation to it from within Ticketmaster, but you can’t actually get TO Ticketmaster from its website.  It just doesn’t have a link to it at all.  So, to donate to the Lincoln Theatre, you have to enter the online donation portal via CAPA, CSO or CATCO and then choose Lincoln Theatre for your donation.

Who would ever know or think to do that?

Does this seem a bit – odd – to you?

If you’re new to these posts and it seems a little weird to you – don’t worry.  It is weird.  I have no idea why any organization would want to force donors – especially casual, one or two-time donors who, for a fleeting moment might want to give away their money – to endure such a pathetically awful online donation process when they could just easily fix it by modeling one of their own organizations – something they already have at their own disposal!  With everything one must endure to donate to the CSO, CATCO, CAPA and the Lincoln theatre, those casual donors would never make it to the point where they’d plug in their card info.  They’d never make it as far as is necessary to actually “make their purchase,” i.e. make their donation because no one has that kind of patience (except crazy bloggers doing research).

Why is CAPA so uninterested in raising money from everyone but the richest of potential donors?  Same goes for the Symphony, CATCO and Lincoln Theatre?  If they wanted to raise money, they’d all have online donation forms that look just like Opera Columbus or ProMusica Chamber Orchestra.

Still skeptical?  Well, do you have 3 minutes?  Grab your wallet and visit Opera Columbus to make a $5 (or more – your choice) donation to them.  It’s a great organization and like all arts organizations, could use your support to keep their performers on stage (and in the orchestra pit!).  While you’re at it, buy a ticket.  Madama Butterfly is coming up pretty soon.  The Pirates of Penzance is next spring and those are just two of their upcoming performances.

Remember what I was saying earlier about our having a lot of great stuff to do in our town?  Go back and start clicking on those websites I linked up there.  You’ll see for yourself I wasn’t kidding! :-)

Previous posts about the CSO Online donation process: August 2013 – July - Part I - Part II - Part III

They’re All About Duty

The other day I was watching a few episodes  of West Wing, probably one of my favorite shows ever, though of course, nothing tops M.A.S.H, when I ran across one of the first episodes with the character Ainsley Hayes, played by Emily Procter (probably better known as Calleigh Duquesne on CSI: Miami).

In this episode, she moves into her basement office at the White House, and has a not-so-great first day.  Throughout the episode, however, several references are made to Gilbert and Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore.

“It’s from Penzance or Iolanthe, one of the ones about duty.”

“They’re all about duty.”

“Were you the recording secretary of the Princeton Gilbert and Sullivan Society for two years?”

He is an Englishman!

I saw H.M.S. Pinafore for the first time (ever) last June with the Opera Columbus and though I haven’t yet seen Pirates of Penzance, I look forward to seeing it next March.  In the meantime, I just won’t pass up an opportunity to tie Gilbert and Sullivan to a Sci Fi movie or great political drama!

It’s my duty!

Opera Columbus Forget-Me-Nots

Last June at the Columbus Arts Festival, we handed out packets of forget-me-not seeds at the Columbus Festival for Opera Columbus, which shared a booth with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra.

Thanks very much to my friend, Betsy, for allowing me to use this picture of her forget-me-nots that she planted after the festival.

ImageThe Opera Columbus is performing some great operas this coming up season including another Gilbert and Sullivan light opera: The Pirates of Penzance, which I fully plan to see next spring.  HMS Pinafore this past June was so much fun!

Image

You can learn more about Opera Columbus at their official website, so I invite you to take a look!

CSO Online Donation Update: August

Last month I wrote about the difficulties of making an online donation to the Columbus Symphony Orchestra.  Since it’s been a month, I thought I’d check back to see if they’d removed any of the 19 or so steps it takes to make a donation or if just anything had changed.  To find out, I made another $5 donation.

Anything changed?  Yes, several things.

Anything useful?  Well – one thing.  You don’t have to make a phone call to fix your password!

Has the process been shortened?  Um…no.  The bad grammar in Step 7 was kind of fixed, so I guess that’s something.

Screen Shot 2013-08-04 at 5.52.12 PM

My apologies for the snarkiness this time around, truly, (and for the resulting length) but several changes were made since I last donated and with only one exception, nothing was actually improved.  The length of the process (i.e. the number of steps required) remains the same.

Here’s what I noticed.   (If you’d like them handy for reference, here are the original step-by-step instructions.)

CHANGE 1 – The one exception

A phone call is no longer necessary to reset a password.  YEA!  For my Email that was locked out because I once mistyped my password, I clicked the “forgot your password” link, plugged in my Email address and inside of a minute, had a new temporary password.

Password 3

 - – Granted, for a donation, an ID and password should never be required to begin with, but we’re not there yet, so this we’ll take this as a positive step.

CHANGE 2

On the login page, there’s a lot of extra text on the righthand side of the page.  Labeled “Account Manager Helpful Hints”, it discusses something about Archtics and tells us we can buy tickets and make donations, but need to set up an account first.  I think it’s the fine print.  I did find two parts to be interesting though, mostly because they kind of contradict each other.

When you login with your email address and password, you will have access to all of the accounts that contain your email address.

When you login with an account number and password, you will have access to one account only.

Screen Shot 2013-08-04 at 5.53.06 PM

CHANGE 3

In Step 6, there are now additional instructions and helpful hints.  For example, it tells you to:

Scroll down and click “Donate Now” to make a contribution to CAPA, CATCO, Columbus Symphony Orchestra or the Lincoln Theatre.

JULY:

don-1-home-page-1

AUGUST:

Screen Shot 2013-08-04 at 5.53.23 PM

So instead of just linking it at the top of the page, or moving the “Donate Now” button to the top of the page, it includes instructions telling you to scroll down to the bottom of the page to click the button there.  Clever.

 - – Please note that in the “August” screen shot it states I’m in Columbus Symphony, yet in a few more steps, I will still have to click a few different screens to choose to donate to the Columbus Symphony, so I’m not – really – in the Columbus Symphony.

- – Also, though included in the line of logos atop each page, donors are not actually able to donate to the Opera Columbus, Jazz Arts Group or the Columbus Children’s Theatre via this portal.  It should also be noted that each logo is linked only to the CAPA website.  They’re not linked to their own.

CHANGE 4

The screen in Step 6, shown above, also tells you about quick links. Generally speaking, links are supposed to be quick, right?  Here’s what it says:

Use the “Quick Links” menu to change your password,  update your personal information, and manage your email subscriptions.

On the lefthand side, about halfway down the screen is a drop-down menu which reads “view all quick links.”

Screen Shot 2013-08-04 at 9.27.22 PM

Instead of drawing our attention to something that is poorly labeled, how about just labeling it better?  Perhaps “Manage my account” instead?  Then, we’ll know what it is and everything can be listed as a drop down. “Home” is already linked in the upper right hand corner of the page so it’s not really needed here.  And since our attention is drawn to Email Settings, perhaps that should be specifically included in the drop down as well.

Speaking of which, is there any reason both the Columbus Symphony Orchestra and Opera Columbus are not offered as Email subscriptions? Are they intentionally not being marketed?

Screen Shot 2013-08-04 at 9.40.07 PM

Despite visitors’ being able to sign up for emails off the front pages of the CSO and Opera Columbus websites, that service should also be offered here since we’ve already learned from Change 3 that we can’t get back to those websites from within this portal.  It should also be included for donors who come to the portal via CAPA or CATCO, don’t you think? They should have the opportunity to sign up, too, right?

 - – By the way, while at Stauf’s yesterday, I was seriously – and specifically – asked about whether or not Opera Columbus still even existed.  People will never donate to you if they think you’ve folded.

CHANGE 5

In the “Donate Now” screen, it has changed from “Who’s the donation for” to  “Donation from.”  Sure, the participle still dangles, but contextually, it now makes much more sense! :-)

JULY:

don-2-for-me

AUGUST:

Screen Shot 2013-08-04 at 5.54.54 PM

OK, for the record though, this question is just silly.  Obviously it’s from me because we’re inside my account.  And if that’s the only option in the drop down, why make me click on it?  My advice to the CSO?  Since I’m still a good 6-7 steps from viewing my shopping cart (which, for a donation is kind of weird) why don’t you just pull that info in there automatically?  It’s like giving a multiple-choice exam where you force the test taker to request the possible answers after every single question.

CHANGE 6

In the above screen from Change 5, it also adds some additional text which I found to be rather odd.  Here’s what it said:

Please login or create an account before making your contribution. If you have an account, but do not know the password, click “Forgot Your Password?” to receive a temporary password by email. Thank you for your support!!!

I’m a little confused.  You cannot get to this screen without having already logged in.  And why are you forcing us to take these steps before we *give* you money anyway?  It’s like saying “I’m sorry, but you have to give me both a manicure and pedicure before you buy me dinner.”  Just seems odd to me.  The thank you – that’s appreciated. Nice touch.  The other couple of sentences are superfluous at this stage. We’ve already figured them out if we’re this far along.

The way things are written, the way things are labeled, e.g. “view in quick links” or (paraphrased) “you have to set up an account to donate” (after we’ve already hit the login screen) screams of training a first-ever computer user back in 1993.  I would have been impressed with this back then, but in this day and age, the typical computer user’s expectations are higher than what is being offered here.  Users now are far more sophisticated and far less patient than what is being required of them as a potential donor.  Sure I have suggestions noted above, but quite honestly the entire thing should be trashed and re-done.  This should not be fixed.  This should be replaced.

Why do I do this?

A friend asked me this weekend why I bother writing about this.  I mean, this is already my fourth post on this subject.  It’s crazy! I don’t work for the symphony.  I have no obligation to the symphony.  I have no incentive. Well – I do have an incentive, but for starters, I just can’t let go of this topic – and I won’t – because donations are key to the survival of a non-profit organization, especially to this one I love.  The CSO is a non-profit organization that relies on donations for more than 2/3 of its operating budget: 70% actually, which begs the question why it would have the worst possible on-line donation process I have ever seen. No really. Ever.

Look – I love my symphony.  It is so good.  These musicians are fabulous and they work so hard to make sure we experience a top-notch performance each and every time we sit down to listen to them.  And you know what?  They have never let me down! I believe in the CSO. It’s been around for 60+ years and I want it to be here for another 60+ years!  This is important.  The online donation process is important! That’s how people give money now.

As for my incentive, I want to make sure I can still hear live classical music in my town when I’m 60.  If they can’t raise money, great musical organizations like the CSO and Opera Columbus will go away. I mean, it’s sad to think that some people think they already have!

I’ve already renewed my season tickets and now that individual tickets are on sale, I can get a few extra for two more Mozart concerts and the Dvorak Cello Concerto by a cellist I’m told I’d be a fool to miss!  Maybe I’ll even go to the Respighi, simply because it’s a lot of fun to say Trittico Botticelliani.

But the real reason I write about this topic? The real reason I dwell on this?  It is the sheer absurdity of this whole process. Truly. Why would an organization, whose very existence depends upon the generosity of financial donors, deliberately force them to endure such a long, seemingly farcical, process?

Money from the casual donor is just as useful as money from one as determined as I.

Come on, CSO.  You have just got to get your online donations out of Ticketmaster. I will go ahead and pay my 40% extra for a ticket (Yes – a $20 ticket = $28.65 in Ticketmaster speak), but you are shooting yourself in the foot by using Ticketmaster for donations. You have a great opportunity here. I really hope you’ll take it.

Maybe if I write about it enough, people will eventually get curious and check it out for themselves to realize just how long a process it really is. My guess is that the majority of them won’t have the stamina necessary to stick it out for all 19 or so steps.

Think about it. To what organization would you be more likely to donate?  One that lets you donate inside of 2-3 clicks like those I cited last month?

Or one that requires an instruction manual?

Previous online donation posts Part I - Part II - Part III

Update Aug 7, 2013: Opera Columbus – I mention in this post that people are unable to donate to them via the Ticketmaster route.  That’s because Opera Columbus has its own online donation along the same quality as ProMusica Chamber Orchestra and Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra.   I just checked it out and it took me less than five minutes to give a quick $5 donation and only that long because I grabbed screen shots.  From the front page, click Support at the top.  From that page, choose “Contribute Online”.  Next screen is a super quick form to fill out and that’s it.  Click submit and boom – donation sent.  Opera Columbus is in the family.  Why not use them as an example?

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