Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Giving Thanks

Ok, new topic. One of my very first posts was about fundraising and today we are coming back to this topic.

Today is December 1 and that means 24 days and counting until Santa’s looking at his list to see if you’ve been naughty or nice (hopefully a little of both because what fun would it be otherwise). Chocolate #1 from my advent calendar has already been eaten. If you haven’t all ready, now is the time to break out the Christmas Carols and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. To bake the Christmas cookies and decorate the tree. We brave the malls to search out the perfect gifts for our loved ones.

So, what does that have anything to do with Fundraising?!

Well, for me, it’s the time of year I sit down and personally write out Christmas cards to send to all of the sponsors and individual donors who have supported us this year or in the past.

And, I don’t just write “Dear John, Thank you. Sincerely, Sabrina”. I handwrite each person a note to tell them exactly HOW we used their donation or sponsorship money and HOW it helped us produce our shows.

A couple years ago I went to a fundraising workshop and while most of it was rudimentary the one thing I took away from it was the necessity to make the people who give you money feel like more than just an ATM.

The people who support your company through donations or sponsorships are doing so because they believe in what you do (or you would hope) and want you to succeed. So let them know how they made that happen and then they will feel like they have been a part of it all. They have a personal connection to it.

Just like the art of making theatre is about creating personal connections between us and the audience the art of fundraising is also about making personal connections.

So, did you use Mr. & Mrs. Smith’s $100 donation to buy costumes or build props? Tell them that. Did those costumes or props contribute to a great production? Did that production sell-out or get great reviews? They helped make that happen. Don’t forget that. Without the donors and sponsors your production might still be an idea in the back of your mind.

This is the time of year for giving. Thank the people who have given to you and most importantly don’t forget to give back.

~Sabrina Evertt
Artistic Producer

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