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Terinatum
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Quote Terinatum Replybullet Topic: managing overhead expenses
    Posted: 1/01/12 at 5:11pm
Hi All,

I just took over as president and I'm finding lots of issues. One being the management of the yearly overhead. It's about $1,200 a year. There's talk of membership dues, yearly donation mailings, taking from the productions profits (it's the current way), and eliminating more overhead.

I'm pretty new to the running of a company, but dues sound way too demanding of a membership I can't even get numbers for and mailings increase overhead more before any potential revenue comes in. We could ask one of the members to let us build a storage shed for our costumes and props on their property. We could find a web-master to help us maintain a site for less than we're paying now.

Any thoughts on how to raise money outside of the productions? I suppose I should start grant writing, huh?

Thanks in advance,
Terinatum              
Terri
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Quote museav Replybullet Posted: 1/02/12 at 11:56am
Originally posted by Terinatum

We could ask one of the members to let us build a storage shed for our costumes and props on their property.

That's the type of thing that would seem likely to be a tricky situation in terms of issues such as insurance, access and taxes. For the shed to belong to your organization may require their donating the property, with all the taxation and other issues related to that. If you build a structure on their property and it is seen as belonging to them as it may then be seen as a gift to them and an increase in their property value. It being their, or on their, property may also create issues regarding your right to access the shed, insuring the structure and the contents, what happens if they lose or transfer title to the property and so on. There may even be factors such as their being able to build a shed without permits or inspections but anyone other than the property owner building a structure on their property needing to pull construction permits, use licensed contractors, get it inspected, etc. There may be better ways to reduce overhead and/or increase revenues.
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Quote SamD Replybullet Posted: 1/02/12 at 2:42pm
Start doing some mystery theatres whether put on by your group or partnered with a local restaurant. Two of those a year, and your overhead would disappear. They're pretty cheap to put on, too.
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Quote jayzehr Replybullet Posted: 1/02/12 at 9:45pm
You could also try selling ads in the programs and getting sponsors for individual show that would be listed on the poster.
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Quote edh915 Replybullet Posted: 1/03/12 at 1:09pm
Even a small thing like a fifty-fifty raffle at each performance.

If you have refreshments during intermission, try "donations" rather than a set price for the drinks and munchies.  Home baked cookies, etc - and serve coffee, water and punch.  Coffee from a pot, water from pitcher, punch from a punch bowl.  Less overhead than canned or bottled drinks.  Also - glasses of wine if local laws permit.

Have a post-show opening night reception ($10 extra, or something like that) with munchies and drinks donated by local stores or sponsors.

It's not going to be one big thing.  It's going to be a lot of little things.  Make them fun and relatively painless, and your customers won't mind.

"The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."


Edited by edh915 - 1/03/12 at 1:11pm
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Terinatum
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Quote Terinatum Replybullet Posted: 1/03/12 at 5:22pm
Good points, thanks.
Terri
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Quote museav Replybullet Posted: 1/06/12 at 1:55pm
Originally posted by edh915

If you have refreshments during intermission, try "donations" rather than a set price for the drinks and munchies. Home baked cookies, etc - and serve coffee, water and punch. Coffee from a pot, water from pitcher, punch from a punch bowl. Less overhead than canned or bottled drinks. Also - glasses of wine if local laws permit.

I agree with the donations, you might even want to 'seed' the donation basket/jar to keep people from being hesitant to be the first to donate and to make them think others have already donated.

One of the groups here gets a local coffee shop to donate a couple of big containers of coffee for each show in return for advertising in the Program and a mention before the show. You might be able to setup a similar arrangement with a local bakery or store.

In my experience, people seem less likely to take water from a pitcher than to take a bottle, the same with an unknown punch versus a known flavor soda. They also seem to often feel they received something of greater value with a bottle of water or a brand name soda. It is a matter of return on investment and not just the investment. You might also want to consider whether you allow food and drink into the performance area, a bottle with a screw on cap is probably less likely to be spilled than an open cup.

Serving alcohol would seem to potentially be both a legal and liability issue, for example liability for serving someone underage or someone intoxicated. You'd probably need to check with local laws and your insurer.
Brad W.
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