We put our new theatre in the limelight with our campaign.
The icing on the cake was a plan, developed by our school and governors, to make the new hall a multi-use space that could be transformed into a theatre both for the school and the wider community.
This required an additional £34,000 on top of monies that the school was able to commit, and so the New Hall Theatre campaign was born.
It was led by our PTFA, which, as a registered charity, was able to claim gift aid on donations. We used the crowdfunding website DonateMySchool (now part of InvestMyCommunity) to build our appeal, create content for our publicity and help us with ideas to boost our fundraising potential.
Our theatrical vision was to install state-of-the art retractable seating for 448 people, as well as a production lighting desk and facilities, audio
trolley mixer and loudspeakers, curtains and high-quality projection.
An incentive for donors
DonateMySchool (now part of GoodHub) produced a fundraising appeal letter that we sent out to the school community, asking them to donate online, and to pass on details of our appeal to their own social media networks of family and friends.
To help incentivise donors, DonateMySchool suggested we set up a rewards scheme, along the lines of those run by professional theatres.
This included a mention in theatre programmes if you donated £50, and your name on the patrons’ board and an invitation to a champagne reception for donations of £500. Any donors contributing £5,000 in sponsorship would be thanked in permanent signage in the foyer and mentioned in all advertising for two years.
The campaign ran from October 2019 to the end of March 2020 and we were absolutely thrilled to reach our target. We received donations from many different stakeholders.
Parents were probably the largest source of funds, though many of our suppliers and local businesses each gave between £200 and £4,000.
Our local ward councillors gave the first donation (of £750) and we also received two large donations of £5,000 – one from a local business and another from a parent.
In addition to the crowdfunding appeal, our PTFA ran a very successful quiz night and our sixth-form students organised a sponsored unofficial record breaking event. We did experience a bit of a lull in fundraising midway through and we had to really work to keep up the social media campaigning. However, work on the project is now well underway, and the students can’t wait to perform in their new theatre.”