WARNING: The opinions expressed below are DEFINITELY those of The CoLab Theatre Company! Learn more at www.colabtheatre.org!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

...the kindness of strangers

Fund-raising is every theatre company's biggest dilemma. From a small fringe company to a multi-million dollar organization, soliciting donations and raising money is always a challenge. There are lots of reasons for this, to name just a few: a.) it can be uncomfortable to ask people for money, it takes a lot of time for the average person to warm up to simply asking for money from others b.) every fund-raiser has been done to death and c.) an unpredictable economy leads to unpredictable donors.

These are the things we've been coming up against in the last few months as we start our production plan for Dearly Beloved. But not only because we have a production budget that is currently 300% more than the small operating capital we currently have, but because our goal is to not only produce the show but also boost our capital. It's definitely a tough road.

But we're not in it alone!

Yesterday we began production on a new (and as of yet, super top secret...) fund-raising campaign and needed a little help. We enlisted a friend but were definitely in need of another person for support. So our friend enlisted his friend...who had no idea who we were, what we did, or what he was getting in to, but was just ready to help. And help he did. Honestly, the first phase of the project would have been impossible without him. How awesome is that?!

But wait, it gets better.

He's not the only one. Most people who bought our cupcakes or sodas didn't know who we were, people we met at the Boston Theatre Conference and offered help and ideas, and even members of our social network community, helping to spread the word about us are strangers or near strangers. People we don't know on a personal level. And they are willing to pitch in, and give us a little bit of their time, or their ideas, and in some cases their cold hard cash, just to help us succeed.

So yeah, fund-raising is hard. It can feel like a pressure cooker, trying to make money for your company. But most people like the idea that they've helped or contributed to something they find interesting or valuable. So for us, the best thing to do is stay true to our mission, pitch our passion to anyone willing to listen, and rely on the kindness of strangers.

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