It’s been too long since you’ve heard from us. Many of you—artists, event organizers, and ticket buyers—have emailed us seeking refunds, payments, and answers, and we haven’t replied. We’re sorry. You deserve better, and we are committed to doing better. We are committed to being more open and timely in communicating what we know. Here’s
Brown Paper Tickets won the 2015 GeekWire Awards’ Bootstrapper of the Year. Quite an honor for a company celebrating its 15th anniversary using corporate social responsibility vs. venture capital as a propelling business backbone.
Thank you to all who voted for us. GeekWire reported that 25,000 votes were cast among numerous categories and finalists and we’re honored to be recognized from the tech community, our customers and the public for succeeding without a dime of VC money. We value every employee, event organizer and event attendee in our local and global community.
William Scott Jordan, founder, president and CTO, says, “Bootstrapping the company has made us more nimble, efficient and sustainable and we are able to pay that forward. We have better planning and more scalability at a lower cost than the rest of the industry.” Here’s more bootstrapping insight from Brown Paper Tickets’ founder.
Steve Butcher, CEO of Brown Paper Tickets, believes in giving more and taking less and invented the not-just-for-profit business model that’s reflected in actions such as 40 hours per year per employee of paid time to volunteer in communities. This company benefit earned us a finalist nomination for GeekWire Awards’ Perk of the Year in 2014.
Video by GeekWireNews >
Fantastic news. GeekWire, the national technology news site nominated Brown Paper Tickets for Bootstrapper of the Year.
Vote for us now or read on and find out what makes us viable bootstrappers.
3 Reasons to Vote for Us
1. After launching the world’s first free ticketing and event registration service, Brown Paper Tickets has remained profitable and continues to hit record sales year after year. We’ve created a multi-billion dollar business niche in the ticketing industry, without a dime of venture capital.
2. Brown Paper Tickets donates 5% of its profits from every ticket sold to good causes chosen by ticket buyers, so each event we ticket has a social impact.
3. In 2014, Brown Paper Tickets started a revolution by offering event organizers the ability to collect online donations without taking service fees. Part of our not-just-for-profit business values.
Q: You’ve been offered VC funding many times. Why haven’t you accepted it?
Jordan: We love live events. We provide everything event organizers need to make their events more successful. Other ticketing companies aren’t providing the features and services we offer because it doesn’t maximize their profits. Investors would force us to do what was necessary to make the most profit.
We love creating technology and solutions that elevate the success of event organizers and experience of ticket buyers.
Q: Can you give some examples?
Jordan: Without having to be beholden to investors, we’ve been able to offer live 24/7 customer service.
We’ve given 5% to charity with every ticket sold, so that all the events on our site have a social impact. We’ve created deeper, more authentic relationships and saved the day for people who needed our help.
We’ve given the world’s first free access to advanced event ticketing features such as assigned seating, something that’s taken the rest of our industry 12 years. We innovated new technologies such as our Transfer-to-a-Friend™ feature that allows ticket buyers to text tickets to their friends.
Because we don’t care about making the highest profit, other companies are now being forced to offer the services and technology that we offered at the lowest prices possible, just to keep up.
We don’t nickel-and-dime event organizers or ticket buyers for mailing tickets, accepting donations online, or sending staff to help them to run their box office.
We treat event organizers as friends, sharing technology, services and assistance at the lowest service fee possible. We make choosing Brown Paper Tickets a no-brainer, and by doing so, we help the entire live events industry.
Q: What’s in it for Brown Paper Tickets?
Jordan: Bootstrapping the company has made us more nimble, efficient and sustainable and we are able to pay that forward. We have better planning and more scalability at a lower cost than the rest of the industry.
We have had to work harder, but we have more intimacy with the product and industries, making it easier to see trends, anticipate needs, avoid unnecessary costs and create solutions without approval from a board of directors.
All of this makes us great problem-solvers and gives us the ability to share better counsel and to help anyone who works with us make more money from their events. When you succeed, we succeed.
Q: Any down side to bootstrapping your company?
Jordan: Whenever there is a problem, we don’t have the luxury to throw money at it. We are forced to look at issues differently and sometimes work a lot harder than a team working at a VC-funded company, awash in cash. Also, most companies get a lot of press for partnering with big corporate money.
But bootstrapping is a mindset that also makes one more resilient and creates a fight-to-win attitude that resonates with a lot of independent event organizers. So, it’s still an asset.
Jordan: When a scrappy start-up creates a product or service that fixes problems and exceeds the standards for performance, service and price offered by big-money corporations, it changes everything – and that start-up becomes the underdog. You’re not the one that’s supposed to win; and people love it when you do.
Underdogs are in a position of power because people are rooting for you. If you use your success to fund your next great idea, your tribe will be rooting for you because you are making interesting things happen. I want to see how far we can take it.
Brown Paper Tickets was a 2014 finalist for GeekWire’s Perk of the Year. Read all about it.
Got a big heart? You’ll love this. Ready, set, raise more money. With our fee-free online donation tool, you can maximize money for good causes, projects and organizations with no service fee taken from Brown Paper Tickets. Zero. Zilch. Nada. No contract. No deadlines. No limitations. No charge from us.
$667,047 has been raised to date by more than 1,000 community centers, non-profits and individuals using our fee-free tool for online fundraising. Donor money goes to a heart-felt cause instead of a ticketing company, donation tool or crowd-funding platform.
1. Collect Donations without Selling Tickets
Add your own credit card processor. (Due to an agreement with our bank, the Brown Paper Tickets processor cannot accept charitable donations). Create an event and add donation pricing. Then promote the page and watch the goodwill grow.
-Support a friend, family member or community through a hard time
-Raise funds for indie bands, art and theater projects or to save a local venue
-Schools can use it to fund new programs, equipment or uniforms
-Find charity event ideas
$44,000 was the record raised from one single Brown Paper Tickets donation-only event page using the fee-free donation tool to buy clothes, food, blankets and other items for Brooklyn shelters after Hurricane Sandy. A current fundraising page is for Feather Note Music Project, a philanthropic program to prevent suicide in Native American youth by teaching and giving them tools to record music, stories and languages of their culture.
You can also organize a charity event, fundraiser, or benefit and allow event attendees to contribute donations when they purchase tickets.
Ticket buyers will still be charged $0.99 plus 3.5% of the face value, but when you use your own processor Brown Paper Tickets will only take $0.99 + 1%, leaving you with 2.5% to help offset your processing fee. No fee is added to donation levels, only to tickets. Official 501©(3) organizations that qualify for a lower credit card processing rate with PayPal or their credit card merchant find that Brown Paper Tickets’ gift of an additional 2.5 percent of the face value of every ticket often covers 100 percent of their PayPal or credit card merchant fees.
-Host a black-tie fundraising dinner or wine tasting
-Organize golf tournaments, roller derby charity bouts and other sporting events
-Ask your favorite local band to play a benefit show
-Find fundraiser event ideas
A benefit music concert featuring band Rusted Root worked well for Heather Rangel, San Francisco Bay Area event organizer of a $100,000 fundraiser benefiting CancerCommons. Supporters bought tickets, donated funds or both in the same transaction. “I couldn’t believe that Brown Paper Tickets would do this for us for no fees; it felt like there must be a catch, but there never was one,” Rangel said.
Rangel’s fundraising event was held in tribute to a friend who lost her battle with cancer in fall 2014. CancerCommons, a nonprofit that educates patients and doctors about cutting-edge treatments and research, received all funds directly. Rangel was so pleased with her event success, she just created a new $1 million fundraising campaign.
Brown Paper Tickets offers a lower fee for ticket buyers than competing ticketing companies offer to 501©(3) nonprofits. Low ticket fees and zero donation fees is a social ROI example of our Not-Just-For-Profit business philosophy. “We are the first to offer free tools and service for anyone to forge a direct connection between donors and the causes they care about without taking a cut,” said Steve Butcher, CEO of Brown Paper Tickets. “Fundraising is a selfless act. We honor fundraisers by putting the financial rewards of their labor directly in their hands, where it belongs.”Good Causes >
The Internet has always been a level landscape where anyone could open up a shop, share ideas, spur innovation. That freedom is possible with Net Neutrality. Open, awesome, for-anybody Internet. If you haven’t heard, Net Neutrality is under threat. Brown Paper Tickets supports equal world wide web access as an essential right.
US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler proposed regulations that would allow big cable companies and telecom to employ Internet fast lanes with extra fees. What does that mean? Sites would slow. Small service providers and business owners would be left in the dust. It’s not only a competitive disadvantage, it’s a free speech issue as it provides an opportunity for big companies to discriminate against online content and applications.
You might already know us as Not-Just-For-Profit, free thinkers of the ticketing world. We serve millions of ticket buyers, thousands of event producers. Artists. Musicians. People who are shaking things up, serving the community. Garden party, heavy metal show, big stage or intimate venue, it’s 100% free to ticket your vision with us.
We stand with millions of others out there fighting to keep the Internet wild, weird, wonderful and free. Comments to the FCC will close the end of the day on September 15. Want to keep Net Neutrality? Now is the time to make your voice heard or join the Battle for the Net.News >
Blood. Skates. Cookies. Community. Lives. Brown Paper Tickets and Red Cross team up with 8 roller derby leagues in the greater San Francisco Bay Area for the 2nd annual blood drive to save lives, rally the community and make it fun to tap your veins. Dates span August 9 to October 18, 2014.
In its first year, “Make ‘em Bleed” 2013 roller derby blood drives attracted record crowds (more than any other non-derby blood drive) and enough donations to save 660 lives. This year, local roller derby athletes will offer autographs, photo opportunities, T-shirts, roller skate cookies, buttons and temporary tattoos to anyone who donates blood.
“Summer blood drives are critical to maintaining a healthy community blood supply,” says Hanna Malak of American Red Cross. “A single donation can help save multiple lives.”
“Donating blood is a generous and selfless act, so by making it fun, we hope more people will come out to donate,” says Silver Foxxy, PR manager for B.ay A.rea D.erby Girls.
“We hope to double the number of lives saved this year,“ said Jerry Seltzer, Sonoma-based son of the inventor of roller derby, former commissioner for the sport, former board member for the American Red Cross of California and current outreach representative with Brown Paper Tickets. Seltzer also contributes to the Brown Paper Tickets Doer Program, an advocacy group that offers free assistance and support to derby leagues across the globe. “Just like every roller derby league in the world, Brown Paper Tickets has a community service mission.”
Schedule an appointment to donate by calling 1-800-RED CROSS or visit redcrossblood.org and enter the sponsor code: DERBY. Walk-ups are also welcome to donate at any of these eight Greater Bay Area roller derby blood drives:
Saturday, Aug. 9 (Antioch)
Join the Undead Bettys from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Red Cross Bus parked at the Antioch Sports Center, 1210 Sunset Dr.
Friday, Aug. 15 (Livermore)
Join the Quad City Derby Bombshells from 1-7 p.m. at the Asbury United Methodist Church, 4743 East Ave.
Saturday, Aug. 23 (Redwood City)
Join the Peninsula Roller Girls from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Red Cross Bus parked at the Redwood Roller Rink, 1303 Main St.
Friday, Aug. 29 (Santa Cruz)
Join the Santa Cruz Derby Girls from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Red Cross Bus in the parking lot at Whole Foods, 911 Soquel Ave.
Saturday, Sept. 6 (San Jose)
Join the Silicon Valley Roller Girls from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Campbell United Methodist Church 1675 Winchester Blvd.
Saturday, Sept. 20 (Hollister)
Join the Faultline Derby Devilz from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Red Cross Bus parked at 580 Tres Pinos Rd.
Saturday, Sept. 20 (San Francisco)
Join the B.ay A.rea D.erby Girls from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Zion Lutheran Church, 495 9th Ave.
Saturday, Oct. 18 (Rohnert Park)
Join Sonoma County Roller Derby and Resurrection Derby Girls from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Red Cross Bus parked in front of Cal Skate, 6100 Commerce Blvd.
Seattle radio station C89.5 FM (KNHC) just wrapped up their annual pledge drive. A supporter of community-run arts organizations, Brown Paper Tickets has donated to Seattle Public Schools-owned C89.5 FM over the years, including $1,000 in 2014 to match listener contributions.
C89.5 FM is a student-run radio station that gives high school teens an opportunity to explore technology, production, creativity, music, community and event organizing. With arts education funding trickling down to the bare bones around the US, a creative outlet for students that may not otherwise be available seemed a worthy cause. In following with Brown Paper Tickets’ low-power FM radio project (spearheaded by Sabrina Roach, our Public Media Doer), KNHC stresses the importance and value of broadcast as a community connector. KNHC also boasts a worldwide listenership via their online audio stream, and has received accolades as far reaching as Rolling Stone magazine and Billboard’s Top 40 of Top 40. Also, while a public Seattle-based radio station, New York’s Village Voice once hailed them Best High School Radio Station in New York (thanks to their web audio stream).
Music. Education. Nonprofits. Community. We support them all—especially when their stars align.Good Causes >
What do kids, farms and the Big Apple have in common? You. From May 1 through June 30, 5 cents per New York City event ticket sold will be donated by Brown Paper Tickets to New York-based City Growers. This nonprofit, sprung from Brooklyn Grange (a rooftop farm and green roofing company), educates kids from schools in all 5 boroughs about nature’s nourishment.
Our goal: Fund at least one City Growers urban farming class for kids.
Kids Dig Into Local Food
Children, teens, teachers and parents all learn urban farming techniques, pluck produce, touch worms and connect with the environment in other hands-on ways. Since its founding in 2011, City Growers has brought more than 10,000 kids of all ages to their rooftop farms for educational excursions and workshops to learn about earth science, nutrition and sustainability—and get in touch with local food supply roots.
City Growers’ website says it all: “We’ve seen the most sullen teenagers light up with wonder in our farm education programs.”
Brown Paper Tickets is the only Not-Just-For-Profit event registration and ticketing company and takes community service to heart. We give back to local areas we serve and are proud to support City Growers. Our local New York City event staff has worked with Brooklyn Grange to ticket their growing array of events—workshops, farm tours, yoga classes, dinner parties, weddings, corporate retreats—at their rooftop farms in Queens and Brooklyn (both venues where City Growers holds programs). We’re also opening a New York City office this summer in Long Island City (same neighborhood as City Growers).
Channel Our Money to Urban Farming Education
Support kids’ nutrition, food and environmental education. Buy tickets via Brown Paper Tickets to any New York City event during May and June (May 1 – June 30, 2014) and we’ll donate part of our profits to City Growers. Events must be in New York City limits (including all 5 boroughs). In early July, we’ll report back on results.