Continuing the discussion from my last blog, Sources of Income Pt. 1, here are some more exciting ways you can raise money for your production.
It bears repeating that the most important factor is your ability to communicate your vision (through your writing and speaking to potential money-givers) clearly and compellingly. Through your professionalism and/or your humor and/or the importance of your message and/or your undeniable entertainment value, show people why it’d be good to give you money.
Investors – with a clear vision and business plan you can solicit investments for your project. This method requires the help of an attorney, as your investment documents must be legal and official. You sell ‘shares’ in your production to earn the necessary amount. Then your investors get a portion of the play’s income. This is how I funded my seven-week run in 2003, with the help of 10 investors who believed in my project.
Grants – I don’t have any experience with grant researching or proposal writing, but I know there are funds out there. Consider your subject matter and your target audience – is there something there that could qualify for an arts grant? Are you benefiting the community or a needy demographic somehow? Some grants are given only to non-profit companies, so you can also look into the possibility of teaming up with a non-profit that may have a relationship or interest in your show (e.g. for your show about your cats, perhaps team up with a non-profit animal shelter). The non-profit can receive funds on behalf of the production, and in return you can offer them a cut.
Corporate Underwriting – most corporations want to give back to the community in some way. Often they’ll have a foundation or a community outreach program, and if you can demonstrate to the corporation the benefit of supporting your show (reaching a particular target audience or supporting an important ‘message’), you may be able to get their financial backing. Use the internet and phone to research appropriate companies for your show, and to find the correct department. Reach out to them with a compelling cover letter and marketing materials. Enroll them in the vision of your project. Offer to show them a performance, at their convenience. Start EARLY! Large corporations tend to make decisions carefully and may have in-house policies and procedures that you don’t know about. All that takes time to navigate – sometimes years. But your time investment can yield a mutually beneficial relationship.
Crowd Funding – this is an online method of fund raising that’s lately becoming popular, wherein you solicit the online community with your idea, and a network of interested individuals can each contribute a small amount. A minute of internet research brought me to this Huffington Post article about it, as well as this website, Kickstarter.com. Sounds like an exciting possibility!
Friends and Family – if your people have discretionary income, enroll them in your vision and have them discretion some of that income your way!
Good luck and happy fund raising,
With great love,