Welcome to the first edition of Behind the Curtain where I share with you tips, tricks and tidbits about what goes on “behind the curtain” at the WYO Theater. Edition one, big name performers and fundraising.
I often get calls from nonprofits asking about rental fees and bringing big name performers to the WYO as a fundraiser for their organization. Let me save you some time, money and effort; this strategy is not very likely to result in major money. Professional performance groups, especially those with any sort of name recognition are expensive. For example, Tanya Tucker and Dwight Yoakam recently performed at the WYO. Ticket prices were higher than usual and both shows sold out however the only actual income the WYO received from those performances were from sponsors of the event. So, if you are thinking you would like to try and put on a great show (hopefully at the WYO) as a fundraiser, here are a few things to consider;
1) What is the show? How well known is the performer or performance you’re presenting? How well do you think it will sell?
2) Timing. Are there other large events happening the same night you want to do your event or popular sporting events on television (or in town)? What time of year is it? What day of the week?
3) What is your budget? How much do you need to sell tickets for to account for the artist fees, rental fees and ticketing fees? If it’s a fundraiser, you can probably charge more for the tickets than you otherwise would.
4) Do you have sponsors and do you have enough? This is so important. The likelihood of making money off ticket sales is slim so the best bet for being successful is gathering sponsor money for the event. If you can acquire enough to cover the artist fee and/or rental fee, you’re in great shape.
5) Don’t give away all of your tickets! Of course you want to thank those who have sponsored your event and show your gratitude to other donors or special people in your organization, but if you give away the house your sales potential is zero.
6) Finally, what is the artist fee? Can you get a popular artist who has an affinity for your organization, someone who will cut their fee to help you raise funds? Are they en route meaning will they be in the area anyway? Often artists will charge less if they are passing through or are close by and need to fill a date. Don’t forget to negotiate!
It’s easy to assume that sold out shows at the WYO make tons of money, after all, “look at those ticket prices!” and “Can you believe they sold out the entire theater?!” The WYO is here to serve the community. Tickets are priced as low as possible to make them accessible to as many people as possible. Successful events take planning, negotiation and smart budgeting. We’re here to help – the WYO is your theater and we’re here to serve you! Give us a call and we can talk through numbers and options. The more performers and performances in our area the better!