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success stories

Bringing TCPD home to the Wadsworth Atheneum

Kimberly Smith describes what she gained from the Tessitura Center for Professional Development

Kimberly Smith

Kimberly SmithMembership Coordinator, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art

TitleBringing TCPD Home to the Wadsworth Atheneum


Read/View Time4 min

I am a huge advocate for TCPD.

I don't know if I would be in the position I am if I didn't have that immersive training. For me, it was critical.

We went live with Tess in 2015, and I just came into this position the early part of last year. The goal of the membership department and development department was to drive revenue by redesigning our membership program. The new program is primarily the reason why I was in Texas to immerse myself in database training. I went along with a colleague of mine, our donor relations manager. She wanted to learn how she could use the Elevated Events feature in support of the gala. And we wanted to learn more about the Plans feature.  

In development now, I'm pretty much the point person for anything, whether it's pulling a donor report or pulling a mailing list or creating campaigns. 

The TCPD experience

We committed hours prior to the Texas training [as part of the first phase of the TCPD course]. It was very helpful to delve into it before the training. Everything was aligning with what I was actually doing with our institution, too, so the timing was great.

Being in Texas for that weeklong period was immensely helpful. The week itself was incredibly intense. I compare it to traveling to another country and trying to pick up a new language: it's almost easier because you're fully immersing yourself in that other language and you pick up on everything quicker.

It was an invaluable experience. Instructors were very helpful, very present. After classes, there was lab time for additional assistance if required, so that was great. 

Reconfiguring the museum’s membership program

We had eight levels of general membership, and we streamlined it down to four. Being in the new position, being new to Tessitura, and having to create all those new membership levels, it was really helpful having that experience in Texas to be able to do that and do it quickly. We rolled out the new program in September, and we're working on doing a second roll-out the second half of the fiscal year.

Everything that I had been asked to do prior to going to training, I was able to implement quickly and successfully. 

Having the capability of building the database from the ground up was very helpful. I created a campaign for the redesigned membership programs. I went into system tables and created constituencies and membership levels. Knowing how to create an appeal was imperative so we could track revenue. Learning about the reporting and all of that was critical.

I didn't have a long period of time to do that, and coming from Texas, I was equipped to do everything quite quickly.

Managing a gala in Tessitura

Prior to [TCPD], we were tracking everything on spreadsheets, and it was a big mess. We processed all of that information in Tessitura. We set up a separate campaign for it. That helped to organize everything, better track revenue and attendance. We really utilized that elevated events feature to the max. They're good for tracking, good for setting up table numbers and table attendance. And for tracking acknowledgments it was entirely helpful. 

Becoming the department's point person

In development right now, I'm pretty much the point person for anything, whether it's pulling a donor report or pulling a mailing list or creating campaigns. Everything that I had been asked to do prior to going to training, I was able to implement quickly and successfully. I think it's because of the immersive phase, being there for a week and just getting it done. I am all for TCPD.


More About TCPD

The Tessitura Center for Professional Development (TCPD) provides opportunities to learn the Tessitura application in a specific area of study. Comprehensive Courses offer in-depth training of Tessitura configuration and best practices over the course of six weeks. Learn more and register: 

Comprehensive courses > 

fundamentals courses > 

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