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Fundraising for your theatre is always a big undertaking, but with the proper planning and strategies, it doesn’t have to be hard. Read on for a few ways to maximize your efforts in your theatre fundraising.
Carve out space in your calendar for planning your fundraising campaign. Pro Tip: It’s never too early to start. What are the launch and end dates for the campaign, and how does that line up with your other programming? What are the specific goals of the campaign? How much time do you need to make it all happen? Who is going to do what? Establish the basics and start moving!
Plan and assemble your marketing content. People love videos with a personal connection, and they are very effective. Make various videos with students/actors/audience members with the prompt “What does [name of theatre] mean to you?” This can be done with words on the screen (surveys are a great way to collect testimonials!) or by the individuals recording their responses on camera.
Create templates for your email communications beginning with the campaign announcement and ending with a thank-you letter or video. Shoot for having these pieces mostly complete by the time the campaign begins so all you have to do is plug in updated numbers and stats as your fundraiser goes on. Staying on top of your content and messaging by planning ahead and creating everything ahead of time (and not during the campaign) will prevent burnout for you and your fundraising team.
And we mean everyone. Board. Staff. Students. Parents. Cast. Crew. Whoever your people are, invite and empower them to spread the word about your fundraiser. Find out who in your circle has connections to local media and see if you can get the press to run a story on your fundraiser. Is there a local business (or multiple!) that you can partner with to bolster your efforts?
Create a one-sheet for each category of people in your organization with email copy, social media copy, graphics, hashtags, and links for them to easily copy and paste and share with their own contacts and on social media. Note that language for Board members to use with their contacts will be different than the language students or actors use when talking about your theatre.
Be sure to track and take notes on everything. (If you’ve already done this, start with the notes from the last fundraiser to inform your strategy for this round.) If you gained new business partners or media contacts for your current campaign, save their information with relevant details on how they helped or what they contributed. That way, the next time you reach out to them you can say, “You were able to provide ____ last time and this is how it helped us reach our goals. Is this something you’re able to do again?” Take note of who to speak to, their contact information, and what their response was. If they say, “Not now, but talk to us again in six months,” mark that in your calendar for a follow-up.
The same goes for donors. Ideally, you are tracking donors in a database, noting their donation amounts. Are people giving one-time amounts or recurring donations? Reach out to your current donor base and see if one-time donors will upgrade to monthly donations.
Track your correspondence and how it’s related to when the donations come in, so you can see where your messaging is most effective. Everything is information to use next time, so your process can be simplified and more automated each time.
Are you ready to maximize your fundraising? On the Stage has the tools to help you do just that. Our Fundraising Suite was developed by theatre people for theatre people and includes templates and built-in best practices to simplify the fundraising process while maximizing the results. Whether your theatre has a full fundraising staff or it’s just you, our easy-to-use tools will help you create and promote your best fundraiser yet. Watch our on-demand webinar to learn more funding strategies and how On the Stage can help you reach and exceed your fundraising goals.