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"voluntary" Donations When Booking Online


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#1 fringefan

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 04:03 AM

Is anyone else getting a little fed up with online booking systems which automatically add a "voluntary" or "suggested" donation which you then have to remove before proceeding to pay, if you don't wish to make it?

No doubt some of you will think I am being mean and I know every theatre is endlessly trying to raise funds, but I do donate to charity anyway, both regularly to some and on an ad hoc basis to others; in any case, I like to decide for myself which causes to support and this trend makes me feel I'm being badgered and is therefore an irritant rather than an incentive to support.  And some theatres already write rather too often to make the same request - soon there will be no escaping it!

In a couple of cases I was even driven to contact the theatres concerned to ask not to receive any more mailshots asking for money.  If theatres want to send these, maybe there should be a separate opt-in/out box when signing up to mailing lists, just as there is now for other types of marketing material.

#2 xanderl

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 05:51 AM

Yes, I agree with you on this. It particularly annoys me when its a theatre I'm already supporting through a membership scheme. I always remove the donation and feel no guilt whatsoever!
"witty ... both made me laugh but also gave me pause" - Mark Shenton, The Stage

#3 Coated peanut

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 06:00 PM

Same here. I might consider it for a very small theatre with cheap tickets, but if I hand over 40 quid I really don't feel like donating another 4.

#4 craftymiss

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 06:15 PM

I'm with you all on this too.

#5 armadillo

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 07:16 PM

Does anyone ever buy a programme online when they book NT tickets? Is there any possible advantage?

#6 Dawnstar

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 07:37 PM

I had this come up when I was booking for Opera Holland Park a couple of weeks ago. Since I had spent 2 hours wrestling with their acting-up booking website I screamed something unrepeatable at the sight of it! I'm afraid that I never make any "voluntary" donations to anywhere. They're already getting my money in ticket price & often extortionate booking fees on top. Also, as someone who is still temping several years after graduating, no matter how much in need of money these theatres claim to be I bet they have a hell of a lot more money than I do!

#7 Pharaoh's number 2

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 07:42 PM

View Postarmadillo, on 02 May 2013 - 07:16 PM, said:

Does anyone ever buy a programme online when they book NT tickets? Is there any possible advantage?

Sometimes, so that I don't have to worry about having the right change with me. But there's no real advantage, unlike the Barbican where you save something like 30% if you buy your programme (and ice cream) in advance.



#8 Honoured Guest

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 07:47 PM

Cashback or loyalty points, and delayed payment, if you use a credit card. There's no real disadvantage either.

#9 Abby

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 08:04 AM

I occasionally do it if I'm feeling warmly towards the venue or if I feel they are making an effort to keep ticket prices low; never with expensive tickets and never ever for places that charge a booking fee. I particularly hate the Southbank Centre for their online booking fee, since I think it's particularly unacceptable for a subsidised venue to charge.

#10 Honoured Guest

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 08:23 AM

When you pay any fee, one sixth of it is collected and paid over by the theatre or agent, as VAT, to HM Revenue & Customs.

When you give any donation and make a Gift Aid declaration, no VAT is collected and the theatre reclaims an additional quarter, as basic tax paid, from HMRC.




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