I find this time of year is like the calm before the storm. Costumes are ordered, and choreography for end-of-year productions are well on their way. While there are still a lot of tasks to accomplish, they aren't as time-sensitive so you can take a breath.
During this moment of stillness, I was thinking about how I could make production day function more efficiently and be a better experience for families. So, today's blog is a list of fundraising ideas to help boost your studio's income to provide more opportunities for your students. These ideas are not huge programs to roll out like I've shared in the past (Fundraiser Programs blog link), but more of the subtle ways to boost income. Enjoy!
1. Intermission Sales
Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate - Just like on Valentine's Day, chocolate sells. Try offering fresh baked chocolate chip cookies or brownies to your concessions. If you can figure out a way to bake them on site, the added smell will not only attract buyers, but it will enhance the senses of a welcoming environment.
Fresh squeezed lemonade or sweet tea (or any other specialty child friendly drink) - Bottled and canned beverages are good, but people can have those anywhere. Set yourself apart by offering unique refreshments to your concessions list.
P.S. Don't forget the healthy options like fruits or protein packs too!
2. Gifts for dancers
Flowers - This is the standard option many studios have already. I work with my local florist to do little pre-ordered bundles: 1 carnation, 3 carnations, 5 carnations, 1 rose, 3 roses, 1 rose with a stuffed animal.
Assorted gift boxes of chocolate
Decorated shoes - I'm personally not a big fan of this option, but some really like it and the profit margin is greater. Take old pointe or tap shoes and decorate them with your production theme. This can also be a fun gift for your graduating students.
Jewelry - This is my favorite! Every year, get a special charm that represents your production theme and sell them. The charms can be put on a necklace, bracelets or even a key ring on the dancer's bag. It's very versatile and fun to collect throughout the years.
Apparel - Pre-selling T-shirts with your recital theme and date make a great keepsake and are a good advertisement for the production. Be cautious though, if you order too many extras, they will end up unpurchased, gathering dust.
Teddy bears - This is a favorite for younger kids. Some costume companies even supply teddy bears wearing your dancer's costume.
3. Silent Auction - Sometimes you need to spend a little money to make even more. Having a silent auction can take a lot of organization. I'd suggest forming a parent committee to take the job over. Also, make sure you provide items that are both appealing to your dance families as well as their guests.
Remember the mention of unused T-shirts from production past? Gather them up and bring them to a T-shirt quilter. This makes a wonderful and very profitable silent auction item!
4. Donation box - This is the easiest option of them all. Personally, my studio does not have ticket sales. We solely operate on donations. Which, let me tell you, was scary the first couple of times we did this, but we make more profit than if we did ticket sales. This won't work for everyone of course, but it doesn't hurt to have a donation box out, especially if you designate it to a scholarship fund for other students.
Have a dress rehearsal dinner party. This is a great way to build community within your studio. Plus, bringing dinner to families makes the experience easier for those who have multiple dances and limited time. You could also incorporate these ideas into your dinner party:
- Bring your photographer back for a fun photo booth.
- Have a craft table for the younger kids to be entertained while they wait.
Host a post-recital viewing party. This is another community builder and can be an opportunity for parents to have a date night while you look after their kids for a couple of hours.