The pandemic prompts a fundraising campaign and an “all access” approach for this community theatre.
The #radicalaccess campaign required a bold vision and risk-taking, but their unique story garnered national and international attention.
“The original version of the plan was to stay shut down and try to raise $100,000. Instead, by offering a full season of productions free, we were able to raise $600,000 and attract supporters from all across North America.” Explains Colford.
The HAT now benefits from a steady stream of donation income and a community of supporters. Time will tell, but they have the opportunity to build loyalty with these new donors, who could support the theatre for years to come.
What is more, by offering free entry, Colford and the HAT team have taken steps to democratize theatre access. “Theatre doesn’t have to be an elitist treat”, Colford explains, with the bonus that they are now seeing new people through the door.
In achieving its goal, the HAT has become Canada’s first professional community-funded theatre, ensuring that this Sydney landmark has a bright future.
The HAT team motivated donors with a series of fundraising goals. They painted a clear picture of the community benefits unlocked at each level and they maintained momentum by celebrating success along the way.
Using various communication channels, the HAT team spoke candidly about the impact of the pandemic on the theatre and they made a compelling case for their need.
Fundraising can be daunting, but if we don’t ask, we don’t receive. Yes, there are always other worthy community causes, but as the HAT campaign demonstrates, we can make a powerful case for the community benefit of a historic place.
Written by Alison Faulknor, Director of Philanthropy and Partnerships, National Trust for Canada
This week my thoughts are with the many staff and volunteers caring for Canada’s special places. For many historic sites, this pandemic means closures and cancelled events, which could lead to lost entry fees, gift shops sales, event revenues and more. These are challenging times indeed. But, what about those supporters who sustain us – long-time donors, sponsors, funders and members? What is the right approach to navigating these relationships during such uncertain times?
New to fundraising? Looking to up your fundraising game? Watch these three brief webinars on fundraising fundamentals to help you set goals, plan and pick the fundraising strategies that are right for your team.
Everyone loves a story – and heritage places have stories to tell. The story of your heritage place is a crucial piece of your fundraising plan. It will carry over to all your materials [flyers, website, e-mails, and donor appeals]. Telling it in a compelling, emotional, engaging and inspiring way will win you donors.