Why donate when you see no return on investment?
Budgeting season has begun. Delicia went into her hole, budgeted like mad, came up to check for the shadow of a deficit and upon seeing only the sunshine she brought the budget to my house where Jo Anne and I chewed it over as my daughter played naked on her “pee mat”.
A side note here…the “pee mat” is a wonderful waterproof world where Penny can go sans diaper and let her tush air out. I suspect budgeting would be a more relaxing process if we all did it on “pee mats”.
Back to budgeting…now when I said sunshine I didn’t mean MOXIE has the money it needs for the season. HA. I say again, “ha”. What I meant was that we figured out how much we had to get. There is something exhilarating about looking a number in the face and saying “that is how much we are going to go get”. Ticket sales accounts for a very small portion of most theatre’s budgets. Companies that have nailed the corporate ask go there next but MOXIE is looking at you sweet individual donors.
My dad once gave a chunk of change to help fund Celebration of the Lizard, a musical of The Doors music but not at all about The Doors (another long story). His friends wanted to know if he was going to make any money. I think they thought he was going to end up a producer on Broadway and in the beginning I think he hoped he might. My dad went to many of the early rehearsals after which he would come home full of exciting updates and stories. He met the writers, the cast, attended half the performances to which he brought friends, had special t-shirts made for the cast and crew to wear and at the Opening Night party he sat next to one of the surviving members of The Doors and exchanged watches. He invested in an experience. For three months he was along for the ride. That is what my dad bought. He bought a piece of the journey. The show didn’t go on to Broadway but my dad will never forget it. On his wall in his office hangs a photo from the show surrounded by signatures from the cast and crew.
The process of producing a show is truly magic. I am astounded on every Opening Night that we have done it again. We have brought a room full of artists together and created on awesome collaborative live piece of artwork that exists only for a few hours a night and then only in the memories of those who witnessed it. It is the art of creating a journey. The journey has parameters but is a little different each time it is traveled because the participants are new every time. The audience pays a small price to join part of the ride but the donor owns the experience and feels it in a visceral way.
The truth is that the return on investment is huge and a whole lot more reliable than the market. Invest in life. Invest in art. It doesn’t have to be ours, though we would be honored if you would join our journey. There will be much more than free donuts involved.