Strategies for Successful Musical Theater Fundraising

Strategies for Successful Musical Theater Fundraising

Lights, Camera, Fundraise!

You know your drama club like the back of your hand. Those long hours spent rehearsing lines, perfecting choreography, and building sets – it’s all worth it when you see the audience’s faces light up during your performances. But when it comes to raising funds for your next big show, you might start to feel a little stage fright.

Well, have no fear – I’m here to share some drama-free fundraising strategies that are sure to have your theater group raking in the dough. As someone who’s worn many hats in the nonprofit world, from arts organizations to membership programs, I’ve learned a thing or two about successful fundraising. And I’m ready to share my hard-earned lessons with you.

So, grab a cup of coffee (or maybe a post-rehearsal snack), and let’s dive into 12 creative ways you can raise funds for your musical theater troupe – no dress rehearsal required.

Lights, Camera, Donuts?

You might be thinking, “Donuts? What do those have to do with drama?” Well, my friend, the answer is: nothing! Except that people love them. And that’s where Krispy Kreme comes in.

This donut giant has an incredible program to help organizations like yours raise money by selling their delicious, glazed treats. Here’s how it works: Krispy Kreme lets you keep up to 50% of the profit from the sold donuts. Over the last year, they’ve helped organizations fundraise around $37 million. And the best part? They’ve even rolled out a no-contact online ordering option, so your club can choose to fundraise virtually or in person (where you deliver the donuts to your donors personally).

This is a fantastic option because you can assign each person in your club a minimum – say, five boxes of donuts each – to ensure you reach your fundraising goal without putting too much stress on one person. And you can even promote this fundraiser during your shows. Just announce to your audience what it’s all about and how even a dozen donuts can help keep your club running. Take orders, and then deliver them through the Krispy Kreme website. It’s a sweet deal, if you ask me!

Playbill Power

If you print playbills for every show you perform, you have a ton of opportunities to cash in on some advertising revenue. Selling ads in your playbills does a few things: First, it helps offset the cost of printing those programs. And second, it allows you to tap into your community’s network of local businesses.

When it comes to pricing the ads, you’ll need to decide how much room you’d like to designate for them. Once you have a goal in mind, you can ask each member of your club to reach out to their network to find interested businesses. Pro tip: You’ll need to decide on a cost schedule that makes sense for you. Think about charging the most for ads that will feature on the front or back covers, then the next step down is a full page, then a half page, and so on. Just be sure to consider any increased costs in printing with more pages so you still turn a profit.

Splish Splash, Car Wash Cash

There’s a reason this one’s a cliche – it’s effective! Hosting a car wash is an excellent fundraising technique because, if you do it right, you have almost no expenses, meaning your efforts result in pure profit.

To host a car wash, you’ll need the following:
– Lots of enthusiastic volunteers (your drama club members, of course!)
– Buckets, sponges, and cleaning supplies
– A visible location with high foot traffic
– Signage to advertise your event

You should also create an online fundraising page in tandem with this fundraiser. Turn this campaign into peer-to-peer fundraising by inviting your club members to fundraise for you. This enables your club to raise extra funds through your members’ networks. Donorbox Peer-to-Peer lets you easily get started and invite your supporters from the tool itself.

Another innovative and swift way to accept donations at your car wash is by setting up a donation kiosk at your venue. Use the Donorbox Live Kiosk app to easily turn your iPad or Android tablet into a donation kiosk paired with a card reader device. This way, people coming in for the car wash can make a donation with credit/debit cards or by using digital wallets via their smartphones and smartwatches. They’ll appreciate the convenience of quick, cashless donations at your event.

Concession Cravings

If you already serve concessions during your shows – think popcorn, sodas, candy – then why not try to come up with something really special to make some extra money? Does a member of your club have a penchant for baking exotic new cookie recipes? Ask them to make some for your concession stand!

Pro tip: Partner with a local business like a bakery or a restaurant to see if they’re willing to donate some treats. Alternatively, they can also set up their own stand at your shows and designate a portion of their profits to your club. This way, you build fruitful relationships within the community and benefit each other. Providing special concessions options gives your audience the chance to try something new while still supporting your drama club with some extra funds.

Sneaker Smarts

Sneakers don’t have much to do with drama, but they are an excellent way to fundraise for your musical theater group. GotSneakers is a sneaker recycling program that pays you for the sneakers you collect. Every sneaker they receive is either reused by people who need quality footwear or recycled into playground surfaces, tracks, and more.

All you have to do to get started is sign up for a free fundraising kit that includes a collection bag. Then, spread the word about your drive, get your friends, family, and community involved, and mail your collected sneakers back to GotSneakers. You’ll get your funds on the 15th of the month after you send your haul in. This can be an amazing way to engage your audience apart from a show. When people see you’re raising funds for your club by helping the world in return, they’ll be more likely to remember you. It means more audience and a lasting impression for your club.

Restaurant Roundup

Many restaurants like to give back to the community by hosting special events where a percentage of their sales for one day or night benefits one cause, organization, or group. This is a fun way to get the community together to help support your campaign.

Make it an event on social media – encourage your friends and family to go to that restaurant (or order takeout) the night of the event. Promote the event well in advance, and let your community know how it helps the club and their favorite theater group. Share stories on your social media handles about what ways your club plans to use the funds. Transparency and a heartwarming story go a long way. In addition, share words of appreciation for the restaurants involved. It should be a win-win for both of you.

Text to Give, Take Two

Not a lot of people carry cash these days, so collecting in-person contributions can be tricky, especially for a smaller organization or club like your drama club. One thing most people do have in their pockets, though? Their smartphone. Text-to-give is a great way for people to support your drama club quickly and securely.

Donorbox makes things easy. All you need to do is set up a campaign, select one of their two available text-to-give plans, and enable the text-to-give feature. You’ll get a campaign ID and a texting number in return. Then, as your audience texts the ID to the number, they’ll receive a link to your mobile-friendly campaign page to make quick donations.

Their short code plan gives you a shorter number (801801) and a custom keyword for a specific campaign. This is what it looks like for your supporters: “Text DRAMA to 801801 to donate!” You can talk about how it works and share the ID and number with your audience, and even include it in your playbill for easy access while your audience waits for your show to start. This way, they can initiate the process with just a simple text – and they can easily repeat their donation with just one text, perfect for giving again during intermission.

Silent Auction Superstars

A silent auction is a great way to get some extra funds for your drama club. People who regularly come to watch your shows can be fans of your artists and actors. You can auction experiences such as meeting them in person or spending time with them.

Whether you host your auction online or in person, be sure to let people review the items ahead of time so they can decide what they’d like to bid on. One way to do that is by uploading sneak previews on social media. It will also build momentum around the event well in advance.

Some other items to consider adding to your auction include:
– Jewelry or luxury items that are in good condition
– Classes and other kinds of special experiences based on your drama club members’ talents and interests

Pro tip: Whatever you add to your auction, just be sure it’s low cost or no cost to you so you make a profit on whatever you end up selling. You should advertise your auction far and wide so you get the most interest. After all, the sign of a successful auction is when there are multiple bidders for one item.

Raffle Royale

When you have an audience in attendance at one of your shows, you already have a great pool of potential donors. You know they’re interested in what you’re doing and would likely want to help you meet your fundraising goal for your next show, so give them an opportunity to do so – and maybe win something of their own, too!

You can choose to put together a gift basket to raffle off – think coupons to local restaurants and businesses, some fun swag, and other small gifts. You can also do something called a 50/50 raffle, where you and the winner of the raffle split the proceeds. Be sure to charge enough per raffle ticket to cover any expenses of the gift basket. Check out 10 fundraising raffle ideas here.

One thing to keep in mind as you consider fundraising options for your drama club is your set of unique talents. Do you have members with amazing singing voices and a solid stage presence? Then you have the tools you need to sell singing telegrams!

A singing telegram is a kind of special gift your supporters will purchase for their friends and family. You’ll coordinate and send members of your club to the recipients’ home, work, or other locations to perform a short song. It’s really fun all around – and a great way to raise funds. Some telegram ideas you can advertise include birthday serenades, congratulatory messages, or even Valentine’s Day love notes.

Pro tip: As you send your members to recipients, make sure to equip them with an easy-to-carry donation kiosk. Donorbox Live Kiosk turns your iPad or Android tablet – paired with a card reader device – into a donation kiosk. This ensures that if or when your happy recipients want to support your club, you have a quick and simple way to make that happen.

Crowdfunding Charm

One of the best ways to fundraise these days is to be direct and ask for funds through an online crowdfunding campaign. By sharing your campaign on social media, you can use social proof to generate more funds for your drama club.

Start your campaign by launching a Donorbox Crowdfunding page. Imagine Performing Arts Fund used a Donorbox Crowdfunding page to raise over $10,000 with just 64 donations. They used a donor wall to build social proof and made it easy for supporters to share their campaign via social media.

Summer Sizzle: Drama Camp Edition

Every year, parents look for new and exciting camps to send their children to for parts of the summer. You can take advantage of this by offering an exciting acting camp for kids.

To start a camp, you’ll need to establish a few things first, like:
– Decide on the curriculum and activities
– Find an appropriate venue
– Promote the camp through your networks and community
– Set registration fees and enrollment caps

Once you have some basics established, you can make your idea to start a camp a reality and start earning some extra funds for your drama club – and getting the word out about your own performances.

Curtain Call

Shakespeare or Oscar Wilde? Steven Sondheim or Lin-Manuel Miranda? These are tough choices. Deciding on the best and easiest way to fundraise for your drama club? Not as tough.

Whether you want to try selling something special and new or simply encouraging donations, be sure to keep your special, unique talents in mind and make the most out of your fundraising situation. When it comes to collecting donations, Donorbox helps organizations and clubs of any size get started with meaningful, significant fundraising. They also offer tons of help along the way, so you never feel alone.

Whatever fundraising idea you decide to try, go break a leg! With these drama-free strategies in your back pocket, your musical theater group is sure to find success. Now, let’s get out there and make some magic happen on (and off) the stage.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top