This week at Theatre Lovett I took on a project that was different to anything I had worked on before. I was tasked with researching the donations pages of other theatre companies and venues throughout Ireland and abroad, and then to come up with my own version for Theatre Lovett’s website.
It was actually harder than I thought it would be to come up with a professional but fun way to ask for donations without sounding too needy or too demanding. I also needed to find a way to talk about the company’s cultural contributions so that people would be inclined to donate. With so many theatre companies all vying for the same supporters, what would make Theatre Lovett stand out? Right now, the Dublin Arts Council is accepting applications for next season’s funding, but even with their support, it is not enough for these small companies to do what they want and be the best they can be. It’s up to individual supporters and fans of these companies’ work to provide the necessary funding. It was up to me to make sure that Theatre Lovett’s unique work in the community would be showcased on their donation page, so that people could know that their money was going to a good cause.
After the initial task of asking for support, I had to come up with the different levels of membership, and also to come up with perks specific to each level as an incentive for people to join. I wanted to make these levels sound fun, and I was inspired by the Abbey Theatre, who’s membership levels included “Ensemble” and “Leading Role.” I ended up providing my supervisors with three different options, each including different aspects of theatre such as parts of the stage and different stages of production. I also wanted to make the perks unique to Theatre Lovett, so for one of the highest levels of membership I offered up a spot in the company’s well-respected actor training workshop. This is something that only Theatre Lovett does, so it may incline people to choose this company over any others.
Finally, I had to assign a price point to each level. This was also fairly difficult, because asking for too little would not benefit the company enough, while asking for too much could be received as presumptuous. In the end I decided to go with a range of prices, from a modest 10 euros all the way up to the very generous donation of 1000 euros, which might be provided by local organizations or benefactors interested in the Theatre’s work.
Overall, I enjoyed this project as it allowed me to get a little creative, but more importantly I learned that a lot of decision making goes into doing something as simple as asking for donations. It’s important to be balanced, fun, and unique when there is so much competition, and supporters need to know that their money is going to a worthy cause.