Welcome back to the journey to the Fringe. Last time I posted we were gearing up for a couple of smaller fundraisers. They were a success and we have a couple hundred more dollars to put towards our Fringe show.
This time around I’ll give you a brief introduction to sponsorship. Usually sponsorship takes the form of program advertisement where a person or a company will provide you with money or in-kind donations in exchange for an ad in your program. In-kind sponsorship provides materials that the production needs such as set and costume materials, or sometimes rehearsal space. (I’m looking for someone who is willing to do our printing for us, so if you think you could donate our program printing please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org). In-kind donation is generally easier to find, because people and companies out there are generally more open to cold calls asking for materials than cold calls asking for money.
Sponsorship is when a company buys program advertising and writes a cheque for actual money, which is invaluable to productions. As I mentioned last week there are a lot of expenses associated with producing a Fringe show that can’t be found through in-kind donation. Usually these sponsors are found through personal relationship. Everyone involved in our show has been talking to their parents, siblings, friends, neighbours and employers to find people who believe enough in the art we produce to support it.
A sponsorship package is the first thing I write when I start producing a show. Usually it includes a show description, hopefully with an exciting hook that will convince potential sponsors that what we’re doing is unique and something they should want to support. I include biographies of the people involved and our program advertisement prices. If I have photographs of the current production or photographs of previous work, it’s a good idea to include them. When you’re trying to explain to people what you do as a dance artist a good picture can tell people exactly what you do and why it’s interesting and important. I also include reviews, or at least quotes from the reviews that highlight the best of what I do.
Then you send it out and hope.
This part was the hardest for me when I started producing work. I’d worry that my work wasn’t good enough, and even more that I would strain the relationships in my life by asking people for money. A few productions later I still can’t say that I’m completely over this fear. I still have doubts about my work and since I’m usually working for free or very close to free it sometimes feels strange to ask for money. However, when I start to have doubts I remind myself about all the other artists working with me. Even when I’m on the point of convincing myself I don’t need to be paid I know that I want them to be paid. Ultimately, I think all artists deserve to get paid, and paid fairly, for what they do. Its just that the process to get paid is sometimes complicated.
- Kelsey Acton