Businesses and organizations of all shapes and sizes have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, and many are turning to strategic fundraising efforts to keep revenue flowing. As a dance studio owner or class instructor, you’re surely aware of this phenomenon.
Some dance studios are taking up this practice for the first time. If that’s you, you might not know where to start. Or, perhaps your studio has been hosting fundraisers for years and you’re simply looking for some new ways to spice things up. Regardless of your fundraising history, by visiting (or revisiting) industry best practices, you’ll be able to engage your audience while raising critical funds for your studio.
That’s why we’ve put together this quick guide to help maximize any of your upcoming dance studio fundraisers. Specifically, we suggest you incorporate the following tried-and-true best practices into your overall strategy:
- Host an engaging event.
- Take a peer-to-peer approach.
- Leverage gamification strategies.
- Sell branded merchandise.
At DanceStudio-Pro, we know that the right fundraising software is critical for any fundraising effort—just as dance software is for operating an effective studio. Once you have the right tools in your toolkit, you’ll be ready to raise more with these tips in hand. Let’s get started!
1. Host an engaging event.
Pulling off a fundraising event can be hard work, but it can also be an especially effective source of revenue for any dance studio. Luckily, the right resources allow for streamlined event planning and ultimately more money directed toward your business.
You might even be able to incorporate your existing dance studio software, such as your custom-built mobile app, to simplify this process. In fact, according to our DanceStudio-Pro guide to dance studio apps, this intuitive tool provides features for ticketing, registration, and payment processing—which each play an integral role in event fundraising.
For a dance studio looking to raise money from their community and better engage with its members, it’s a good idea to choose a themed event. For example, here are some of our favorite dance-related fundraising events that can bring in tons of funding for your studio:
- Dance workshop
- Talent show
- Recital or performance
Recently, virtual events have been the go-to for all sorts of fundraising organizations. Not only are virtual alternatives social distance-friendly, but they also allow you to widen your reach outside your typical geographic area. Luckily, each of the aforementioned fundraising events can be tailored to the online space fairly easily when you follow the tips laid out in this guide.
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2. Take a peer-to-peer approach.
Oftentimes peer-to-peer fundraisers culminate in a big event (such as the ones discussed above). However, other peer-to-peer fundraising ideas are more solo endeavors that simply involve the collection of funds for your studio.
Regardless of whether your peer-to-peer campaign will incorporate a fundraising event, the basic premise is the same:
- Ask supporters to fundraise on your behalf. For a local dance studio fundraiser, these supporters will likely be your dance students (or perhaps their parents, depending on your students’ ages). That’s a huge benefit of hosting a peer-to-peer fundraiser as a dance studio—you already have a built-in group of dedicated fundraisers!
- Equip fundraisers with the resources they’ll need. The most important resource your fundraisers need is an easy-to-use online donation page. Typically, your students will raise more if they’re each provided with an individual page they can personalize for themselves. For example, Johnny’s grandparents are more likely to contribute to Johnny’s custom fundraising page than to a general form branded with only your dance studio’s name.
- Launch your campaign and encourage fundraising efforts. Once your students have their fundraising pages ready, it’s time to launch your fundraiser. Encourage students (and their parents) to promote the campaign via social media and other digital sharing tools to get your fundraiser far and wide. With individual fundraising pages, you can even monitor each student’s progress and offer personalized instruction for fundraisers who seem to be struggling to garner support.
A fantastic way to promote improved dance student management is by encouraging your students to take on a larger role at your studio—and peer-to-peer fundraising does just that. Your dance students will appreciate being tasked with more responsibility and the opportunity to function as a spokesperson for your business. Your studio will, in turn, receive extra funding from each student’s own personal network of support. It’s a win-win!
3. Leverage gamification strategies.
Gamification is one of the most popular fundraising strategies, and for good reason—it works! This idea essentially takes common elements associated with gameplay (such as competition, prizes, recognition, and goals), and transfers them to the fundraising space to maximize revenue.
For example, you might include a fundraising thermometer to visually showcase your progress toward an overall goal and show supporters the real impact of their contributions. Fundraising thermometers are one of the most-used gamification tactics and can be implemented in a few ways depending on the overall fundraiser you choose to host:
- Online: If your fundraiser is largely online (as most are due to COVID-19 and social distancing guidelines), you can embed a digital thermometer directly into your online donation page. When donors submit their gift online, the thermometer updates in real-time.
- Offline: On the other hand, old-school fundraising thermometers can be effective for offline campaigns. Simply print or draw a large thermometer and showcase it in a highly trafficked area (such as the lobby of your dance studio). Then, someone on your staff is tasked with updating the thermometer every so often to fill in space according to recent donations. You can also incorporate this into your digital strategies by taking periodic photos of the hand-drawn thermometer and posting them to your social media.
If you’re taking a peer-to-peer approach (as outlined in point #2), you can even have individual fundraisers set their own personal goals that are then incorporated into their own donation pages. They can have their own personal fundraising thermometer which updates when someone gives to their page.
4. Sell branded merchandise.
If your dance studio isn’t already selling branded merchandise for an additional revenue stream, you’re likely missing out. After all, students (and their proud parents and family members) would love to support your studio by making such a purchase. Plus, product fundraisers are wildly popular because the supporters actually receive something in return!
Branded t-shirts have long been a favorite for dance studios and other fundraisers, but recently, face mask fundraisers have taken the lead. In fact, according to ABC Fundraising’s guide to custom face mask fundraisers, this unique and highly relevant campaign is one of the most popular they’ve ever seen.
To maximize sales (and—by extension—revenue), be sure to make your branded merchandise available to purchase:
- At your studio
- At various events
By selling branded merchandise, you have the opportunity to raise both money and awareness for your dance studio. Once your supporters purchase their merchandise (whether that’s a face mask, t-shirt, or coffee mug), they essentially function as a walking billboard for your business when they wear or use their merch in public.
The right fundraising strategies have the potential to help any organization (nonprofit and for-profits alike) raise both money and awareness for their causes.
By leveraging unique events, peer-to-peer fundraising, strategic gamification, and branded merchandise, you can get your whole community involved to rally around your dance studio in what is likely a difficult time. Best of luck!