Art in the Garden. It has such a nice ring to it. Unfortunately, it was not my garden!
Our Friends of Theatre group recently hosted a small fund-friendraiser in the garden of one of our supporters. It's a great idea for an organization if the demographics work for it so I thought I'd share a bit.
First, you need a home with a lovely garden and Elinor's was. Plus, it was large enough and with enough room so you could display the art well and still have room for people to mingle. In our case, I think it was a little over 100 people who attended.
Then you determine the art you want and the artists. Our group had four potter/sculptors with different styles.
All have their own following locally, so guests included their fans as well as our theatre fans who wanted to support our efforts.
Our artists were asked to donate 15 percent of any sales they made to the group. (One artist said that wasn't enough!) So those dollars were added to the proceeds.
We decided that this was as much a friend-raiser as a fundraiser so we kept our admission low -- $25 in advance and $30 at the door. We had close to 100 advance sales plus guests at the door, so it seemed to be a good price point.
Almost all of our promotion (except printing and mailing) was free -- community online calendars, social media, press release, postcards to our mailing list as well as the artists, and our newsletter. In fact, postage/printing was our greatest expense. Additional cards were distributed in galleries and other public pick-up racks.
In terms of expenses, we obtained a gift card from one of the area stores (Meijer, for midwest readers) for $150. With that we bought party sandwiches and veggies. A Middle Eastern restaurant partially donated and also gave us a half-off deal for hummus and grape leaves, while a bakery gave us half off macarons. Some of the costs of the half-offs were picked up by board members.
Other board members volunteered cookies and desserts, fruit, meat-and-cheese board, beverages and wine. No one left hungry and there were even leftovers, but not so many that it felt we over-bought. (Leftovers were given to theatre students who had been in rehearsal for upcoming shows! They're always grateful!)
We were worried about the weather although we could have brought things up to the terrace is there was light rain. A downpour would have been a problem. We did get a tent for the food and wine.
Set up was easy. We had volunteers at registration, at the food and bar and as "security" (basically minglers who worked the crowd but also kept an eye out.) We all helped set up and clean up which took a very short time. Artists were responsible for their own set-up and take down.
The best part was seeing so many happy people. Our weather ended up being great and people loved strolling the garden and looking at the art.
We were able to share information about our upcoming season and the artists were able to sell some of their work and gain exposure to new potential fans.
All in all, a greatly successful event that exceeded our expectations in terms of both attendance and cost. After expenses and with the artists donation, we made about $3,000 -- and a lot of friends.
Sharing this post with Share Your Cup and Pink Saturday.
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