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Creative Fundraising Ideas for Your Upcoming Production

Drama teachers are skilled at making theatre magic from little more than a hot glue gun, tape, and ingenuity. But sometimes you need cold, hard cash to get your show off the ground. Below, you’ll find 20 ideas for fundraising for your upcoming theatrical production. If you have other creative ideas, we’d love to hear them — please share them with us so we can share them with our Theatrefolk community!

Keep a close eye on any potential expenditures related to your fundraiser, and make smart decisions when it comes to setting prices and fees for fundraising events. You don’t want the fundraiser to end up costing you money! And the most important tip for running fundraisers is not to be afraid to reach out and ask for help. Many hands make light work! Be sure to get student cast and crew members, teachers from other departments, school administrators, and especially parent and/or family member volunteers to help out.

See the giveaway below for a fundraising mini exercise worksheet for your students, if you’d like to get them involved in proposing their own ideas for a fundraiser.


Fundraising Ideas for Your Upcoming Production

1. Sell program ads. Contact local businesses and offer various prices for full page, half page, or quarter page ads.

2. Sell program shout-outs. Friends and family members can purchase space in the program to leave a message of encouragement, a congratulatory message, or a photo for a cast or crew member.

3. Sell candy grams with a personalized note attached.

4. Sell flowers to give to cast and crew members after each performance.

5. Sell concession items (chocolate, chips, water, juice, pop, etc.) at intermission at the show.

6. Apply for grants and bursaries.

7. If you do show shirts, order some extras and sell them at the box office or the concession stand at the show. Consider other forms of show merchandise as well: hats, mugs, stickers, and so on.

8. Host a silent auction. Reach out to local businesses for donations of prizes.

9. Auction off show-related props or costume items that won’t get reused, or other items such as autographed posters or programs. You could also auction experiences, such as a walk-on cameo role in the show.

10. Sell holiday ornaments filled with scraps of fabric from costumes from the show. You can make them multi-coloured or specifically related to certain characters.

11. Host a trivia or quiz night and charge admission to participate. Have cast and crew members come up with trivia questions about different topics and offer a prize (such as complimentary show tickets) to the winner.

12. Sponsor a character, crew member, or band member. For a price, guests can sponsor a team member and be acknowledged in the program, on a placard outside of the theatre, or verbally at pre-show.

13. Host a coffeehouse or talent show featuring members of your drama department.

14. Host a haunted house run by your drama students.

15. Get your school’s music department involved and host a musical theatre karaoke night. Have a student or staff piano accompanist and sheet music available and have guests either purchase a ticket or pay per song.

16. Get other teachers and school staff to participate in a simple staff show and charge admission. Your students would likely love to see their other teachers strut their stuff onstage! Who knows, you might find a budding performer in the chemistry teacher, cafeteria staff, or the school’s office administrator.

17. Sell Cameo-style video shoutouts from cast (in character or not) and crew members and post them on your school’s or drama department’s social media channels.

18. Do a jar challenge. Put cast or crew members’ names on jars and have friends and family members donate change to whomever’s jar they wish. The student who raises the most money gets to do something silly like throw a pie in the director’s face, or the student themself has to do something silly or challenging, such as recite a monologue or sing a solo at an assembly. (Make sure that the students participating are comfortable performing whatever task is required before running a jar challenge.)

19. Run an online fundraiser using a site such as GoFundMe, Kickstarter, or Indiegogo.

20. Run a dance-a-thon or similar marathon-style event. Drama students collect pledges for a monetary amount per minute of time the participant dances (for example, $5 for 30 minutes of dancing). Theme the songs to the style or era of the show and allow participants to wear costumes. You could also livestream the event on your social media channels.


And if you need to make your funds go a bit further, here are some articles to help you stretch your budget:

Click here for a free fundraising exercise worksheet for your students.
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The Production Publicity Toolkit

by Lindsay Price & Lea Marshall

In the school market, you rarely have a marketing budget. But you have a lot of resources for publicity. You have social media, your students, community outreach, and more. The Production Publicity Toolkit can help you create the awareness and attention your production deserves.

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