Welcome to 2024, theatremakers! Like many, you’ve probably created a few New Year’s resolutions you’re excited to make into reality this year. One of those resolutions is likely creating more cash flow for your theatre, which is made possible through a variety of creative fundraising ideas. 

Getting started – and kicking off the year on the right food – can seem daunting. But On The Stage is here to help with a variety of fundraising efforts to try this month … or all year long! 

Creative Fundraising Ideas to Try

Harness the Giving Mindset 

You can take advantage of New Year’s momentum by encouraging donors (and potential donors) to resolve to give back to their communities this year – either with more donations or first-time donations. And where, pray tell, should they start? With their local theatre group, of course! 

Harnessing the positive energy that’s palpable around the New Year is a great opportunity to turn peer-to-peer donors, one-time donors, or interested patrons into monthly donors. Just make sure the donation and fundraising portals on your websites are ready for traffic! 

Get Active 

For many, the new year is the time to dust off the exercise gear and get back on track with fitness goals.

You can help your community reach those goals – and raise funds for your theatre simultaneously – through a fitness event like a walk, jog, or run. Consider offering a few different distances to appeal to a broader range of patrons – from 1-mile fun runs to 5Ks and 10Ks – and enact a small registration fee to increase your bottom line. 

Take the Plunge 

Another shockingly popular fundraising event in the colder months is the polar plunge – where patrons jump into a frigid body of water (typically outdoors) to raise money for a great cause. 

So, why not corral your heartiest supporters into raising some funds for your theatre? A plunge is an excellent peer-to-peer fundraiser; people sign up, ask their social networks and community partners to fund their adventure, and then everyone convenes to watch the plunge! You can make additional money by inviting spectators to watch and selling hot cocoa, snacks, and merchandise. 

Host a Recycling Drive

Another common resolution for those who are philanthropically minded is to become more eco-conscious. So, why not achieve that goal and raise some money at the same time with a recycling drive for your theatre? 

Encourage patrons and potential patrons to visit your theatre with their recyclable items – whether they’re plastic bottles and cardboard or more holiday-themed items like Hanukkah bushes and Christmas trees. For a small donation fee, your theatre can chip trees, make mulch, or deliver other items to recycling plants in your area. 

Gather Toys for Tots

We know what you’re thinking … shouldn’t this one be done before the holidays? Well, yes and no. You see, many kiddos in your community surely got new toys during the holiday season, and they need room to store them. So, a post-holiday drive allows those in your community to drop off gently used toys they no longer need. 

In turn, you can request donations for doing the heavy lifting of sorting through the toys and dropping them off at donation centers. In short, post-holiday toy drives are excellent fundraising opportunities that also present the ability to help out those in need. Win-win! 

Encourage Mindfulness 

January can often be a time of loneliness for those in the community, as out-of-town guests have left, the decorations have been taken down, and the holiday cheer feels so very far away.

Consider hosting 30-minute or hour-long mindfulness sessions, either virtually or in-person, to combat the January blues. Whether you’re a fan of yoga, meditation, positive affirmations, or another mindfulness exercise, encourage those in your community to join you with a small participation fee. 

Start a Membership Campaign

A great primary goal at the start of 2024 is to build more relationships within your community and, ultimately, gather more enthusiastic patrons. One great way to go about this is through a membership campaign or season ticket campaign. 

Consider launching a membership program that specifically rewards donors and season ticket holders. Share the exact ways that donations can help your program and benefit patrons, too. Then, send out emails, marketing e-blasts, or mailed flyers thanking donors for participating in previous campaigns and introducing this brand-new option to give. 

Make sure to clearly outline the benefits of becoming a regular patron or season ticket holder, whether that’s discounted bulk ticket rates, free merchandise, a shout-out in the show program, VIP perks, or other goodies. 

Create a Theatre Calendar 

We all love buying fresh planners and calendars at the start of the new year. So why not harness that desire into a fundraising opportunity? 

Create a yearly calendar that is specific to your theatre! Utilize photos from past productions or even from a specific photoshoot for the calendar itself. Remember to include your theatre’s logo, upcoming show schedule, and mission statement.

Worried about printing costs? Consider partnering up with business sponsors or selling ad space within the calendar itself to raise additional funds. Even more, you can create merchandising bundles, with the calendar as an add-on. Once printed, your theatre’s front-of-house staff can sell them at your location, during shows, and online! 

How On The Stage Can Help

Fundraising can be tricky if you don’t have the tools you need to succeed. Luckily, On The Stage (OTS) offers an all-in-one fundraising solution for your theatre, allowing you to take control of your organization’s financial destiny with a comprehensive fundraising suite. 

With OTS, theatres can: 

  • Increase funding for your organization through a fundraising site with ready-to-use templates that incorporate best practices or fully customizable campaigns 
  • Track one-time and recurring donations with donor management, goal tracking, and real-time reporting
  • Foster a sense of community and partnership by giving your cast and crew, patrons, and sponsors additional ways to engage with your program
  • Set goals and track progress with easily accessible dashboards and reports 

Getting started is simple, fun, and, best of all, free! Just book a personalized demo today. 

You can also find more fundraising strategies and ideas in our resource library, which is filled with content curated by theatremakers for theatremakers. Be sure to check it out!

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