Looking to promote your show? One of your best assets is the utilization of community partnerships when it comes to fundraising. From paid sponsorships in your playbill to in-kind donations, dinner coupons and everything in between, it’s key to get the word out. And who better to help than trusted folks in your community? Below is an overview of some strategies for finding and building these connections.
Identifying Potential Partners
The first question to ask is: “How to find these community partners for my show?”
Look for businesses and foundations that have a history of giving back, and have the funds to support a partnership with you. Ask your actors and crew if they have friends or relatives in thriving enterprises that would like to support them, and in turn, you. Personal connections often yield the best results.
These connections can draw from a variety of spaces – restaurants, community foundations like non-profits, local businesses that can help to create/donate items for your show, and even faith-based organizations if they align with your values. Regardless of their size and structure, the end goal is to create enduring relationships while marketing your show to a wider audience.
After identifying the people and places you’d like to partner with, the next step is the big ask.
There are several ways to cement a strong partnership. First, create an action-oriented message tailored to that specific business or organization. Do your research before approaching each potential partner, ensuring you know their offerings to prove you did your homework.
Keep the tone light and friendly, and don’t push for more than a person or business is willing to offer. Additionally, coming to someone with a mutually beneficial agreement will more than likely yield better results than simply asking for funding. (I scratch your back, you scratch mine!)
Get specific after an agreement is made. If the donation is monetary, let the donor know exactly where you plan to spend their funds. If the donation is tangible, let them know where you’ll be using it and how important it is to the show. Gratitude and a genuine personality can almost certainly seal the deal.
Types of Partnerships
All kinds of connections and donations within the community are valid. The following are a few you can strive to get:
Monetary donations: The most simple of all, direct monetary donations can help with just about anything needed for your show.
In-kind donations: Donations of time, props, costumes, services or manual labor can be just as helpful to help the big show come together.
Food/drink coupons: Everyone needs a bite or a drink after the show. Finding restaurants around you that can offer vouchers or a percentage off your meal means more business and exposure for both parties.
Sponsorship in your playbill: Ad space in your playbill is prime real estate for local businesses. Present competitive rates and see the offers roll in.
Digital partnerships: Social media makes it easy to get the news out. Send your community partners digital assets (that can be made easily by On the Stage) to post on their accounts.
Regardless of the types of relationships you cultivate, the act of forging community partnerships will reap major benefits going forward. Check out On the Stage’s Funding Strategies for Your Theatre webinar to get the ideas rolling.