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Community Theatre Fundraising

Community theatres often rely on fundraising to support your productions and operations. Here are some effective ways we’ve seen community theatres raise funds.

Benefit Performances: Organize special benefit performances where a portion of ticket sales goes toward supporting the theatre. These performances can create a sense of community involvement and encourage attendance.

Annual Fundraising Gala: Host an annual gala event that includes dinner, live entertainment, and auctions. Gala attendees can purchase tickets, bid on auction items, and make donations during the event.

Margin on Service Fees: Find a system that charges low service fees and add a margin to them. Or create a special service fee, like “venue upgrade” to cover a special project. Some of our clients raise over $1,000 per year in service fee margin.

Crowdfunding Campaigns: Use crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, or GoFundMe to reach a wider online audience. Create compelling campaigns that explain the theatre’s mission and how the funds will be used.

Membership Programs: Establish membership programs that offer perks such as priority seating, exclusive events, or discounts on tickets. Encourage patrons to become members and contribute regularly. Again, be sure that your ticketing system can do that.

Corporate Sponsorships: Reach out to local businesses for sponsorship opportunities. Offer advertising space in programs, signage at performances, or mentions in marketing materials in exchange for financial support.

Grant Writing: Research and apply for grants from government agencies, foundations, and arts organizations. Grants can provide substantial funding if your theatre meets the criteria.

Donation Drives: Launch seasonal or themed donation drives, such as a year-end giving campaign or a “sponsor a seat” initiative. Encourage supporters to make one-time or recurring donations.

Advertising on Your Tickets: Most community theatres sell advertising in your programs. An untapped opportunity thought is selling advertising on your tickets. If you use full-page tickets, you can use two-thirds of the page to support a local merchant. $200 – $500 are typical fees to charge for ads on tickets for the run of the show.

Merchandise Sales: Design and sell branded merchandise such as T-shirts, mugs, posters, or DVDs of past performances. These items can serve as mementos for patrons and a source of income for the theatre.

Online Auctions: Host online auctions of donated items or experiences. Promote the auction through your website and social media channels, encouraging supporters to bid.

Renting Theatre Space: If your theatre has extra space, consider renting it out for rehearsals, workshops, or events. This can provide a steady stream of rental income.

Collaborative Fundraisers: Partner with local businesses or restaurants to host joint fundraising events. For example, a restaurant may donate a portion of sales on a designated night to your theatre.

Fundraising Events: Organize fun and engaging events like trivia nights, talent shows, or themed parties. Charge admission or offer opportunities for attendees to contribute during the event.

Legacy Giving: Encourage supporters to include your theatre in their estate planning. Legacy gifts, such as bequests or trusts, can provide long-term financial stability.

Corporate Matching Gifts: Promote corporate matching gift programs to your donors. Many companies offer to match their employees’ charitable contributions, effectively doubling the impact of each gift.

Online Giving Platforms: Set up an easy-to-use online donation platform on your website, making it simple for supporters to contribute digitally.

Integrate Donations in Ticket Buying: Give ticket buyers the opportunity to donate when buying tickets. Your ticketing system should enable you to do that.

Donor Appreciation: Show appreciation to your donors by recognizing their contributions in playbills, on your website, or during performances.

Grant Writing Workshops: Train staff or volunteers in grant writing to increase the community theatre’s chances of securing grants from foundations and government agencies.

Most importantly, your ticketing system must support your community theatre fundraising efforts. TicketPeak enables donations during the ticket buying process, integrates with Constant Contact and Mailchimp to facilitate your campaigns, enables merch sales, supports memberships, and provides advertising space on the tickets.