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Spectrum Community Arts, founded by Jade Cook in 2017, is a not-for-profit organisation providing performing arts workshops for people with disabilities and additional needs. At university, Jade volunteered with disabled adults and noticed the positive impact that performing arts has on confidence, particularly for those with limited social and communication skills. After this experience, Jade quickly realised that there were no opportunities for people with disabilities near her hometown of Leighton Buzzard in Bedfordshire, so she set about founding Spectrum Community Arts.

Spectrum’s aim is to enable their participants to develop their self-esteem and self-expression in a safe, encouraging environment. They strongly believe that the performing arts are a fun and exciting way to do this and the perfect platform to nurture and develop skills and abilities. Overall, Spectrum is a place where their participants can just be themselves without any judgment from the outside world.

The Challenge - Before LoveAdmin

Previously, Spectrum managed all of their admin in an old-school way. This involved manual processes for typical admin tasks such as storing and updating participant records in a spreadsheet, creating registers, collecting and marking off payments, and sending out emails from an email client.

In particular, Jade described the payment and email side of things as a “nightmare”. Parents and carers were requested in advance to pay for a term or half term and were able to pay however they wanted to which was either by cash, cheque, or BACS. In addition to this, new participants have to pay for their first 3 sessions on a pay-as-you-go basis which meant yet another spreadsheet to keep track of. Not only was it painful marking off these payments, but it was also awkward having the “you haven’t paid yet” conversation with non-payers. Jade often found that she was turning a blind eye to missed payments to avoid feeling uncomfortable, which of course was not ideal from a business point of view. Although Spectrum was never founded to make money, everyone needs to have an income in life.

When it came to emails, it was a case of opening up the spreadsheet, finding email addresses and copying these into the email client one by one. If they wanted to send the same email to multiple parents and carers, they would copy them into the ‘BCC’ field. This was definitely not a practical approach and also caused worry around GDPR just in case someone’s email address was accidentally written in the ‘CC’ field rather than the ‘BCC’ one.

Jade was frustrated with all of this time-consuming admin and didn’t enjoy spending countless hours on her laptop. Even with an admin assistant onboard to help for 4 hours a week, she was still finding herself in a never-ending admin spiral – Spectrum needed a solution. One look at LoveAdmin’s website and explanatory video and Jade was sold!

The Solution - After LoveAdmin

Spectrum came onboard with LoveAdmin just as the COVID-19 lockdown came into action. As they were offering virtual classes to their participants, they wanted a system that allowed you to see if people had paid and then send them a Zoom link via email. From the get-go, LoveAdmin has enabled Jade to quickly and easily do this. She has been able to regulate virtual classes to ensure that only the people who have paid are allowed into groups, set up automated payment reminders, and send out templated group emails that are always saved and ready to use.

In addition to this, the control and flexibility around payment requests have been great. A recent example from Spectrum was when someone had booked their child onto individual classes when they could have booked onto a “class pass” to save money. Jade was able to go into LoveAdmin, cancel the transaction in a few seconds, and move this person accordingly without the hassle of needing bank details to refund a few pounds. Another bonus is seeing participant accounts – a handful of people have needed assistance to use LoveAdmin and Jade has been able to talk them through the necessary steps which is made much easier when she has visibility of everything. And last but not least, is the fact that Spectrum can record offline payments in LoveAdmin. As expected in all situations, a few people are not comfortable with making online payments so when Jade first came across LoveAdmin this is one of the things she enquired about and she wasn’t disappointed. Online or offline payments – everything is stored securely in one place.

While Jade has found LoveAdmin really helpful during this period, she’s looking forward to using it to its full potential when returning to face-to-face lessons in or around January 2021. What’s even better is that with her admin assistant off to university soon, Jade probably won’t need a human replacement because LoveAdmin's drama school software will handle all the admin for her.

Jade says, “Pre-COVID-19 and pre-LoveAdmin I was working on admin in the mornings, teaching during the day, and then spending my evenings on admin again which meant I was working up to 12-hour days. When we return face to face, I’m really excited for LoveAdmin to give me some of my time back and allow me to do all the things that I love doing at Spectrum Community Arts – teaching and being face to face with our participants, setting up projects, and bringing new ideas to life!”

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