Fund-raise or Die – The Importance of Fundraising

If you are a cast member, a parent or guardian of cast member or a volunteer who helps out at the show then it’s likely that you will have heard us asking for help with fundraising. We ask for people to go to bag packs, we ask for people to volunteer for jobs at Lydiard fireworks, we ask for raffle donations for show week to name a few.

And it’s possible that you might be wondering why? Each cast member currently pays £30 to be in the show, and we sell tickets for the show. So why do need to raise more funds? Well the answer, as you might expect, is pretty simple; putting on the show costs more than we bring in fees and ticket sales.

Let’s take a look some numbers to understand where the money is spent.

Cast Fees & Pre-show Costs

As previously mentioned, each cast member currently pays £30 to be in the show. The number of cast members varies from show to show, but in the last show we had a cast of 75. Part of the £30 is used to buy a cast t-shirt for everyone in the show, and when you average out the price differences between kids, teens and adult sizes plus delivery this equates to around £5 person. This leaves £1875 (75 cast@£25) from cast fees.

The remaining cast fee is spent on rehearsal space, which is around £2100 mark and obviously depends on exactly how many rehearsals we have.

So when we have a good year and the cast numbers are above 85, we cover the costs of rehearsal space. If we have less, like in the 2015 show, we end up a bit short.

Ticket Sales & Theatre Costs

So what about the show week, surely we must take in a lot of money there? Well yes we do. In 2015, we sold around 1400 tickets and brought in £13,226.

And then from that you have to subtract ticket printing costs (£107), transaction charges for using credit cards (£361) and PRS for the rights to use the music, charged at 3% of the net revenue (£330).

Then there is the rental fees for using the Wyvern (£7400), the technical staff we need to use the theatre (£1236), equipment hire e.g. radio mics & lights (£1769), rental fees for backdrops we use in the scenes (£2506) and the cost of having the stage door manned whenever we are in the theatre (£675).

Oh and then there is the musicians in the live band for the tech, dress and show nights (£3000) and the wardrobe and costume costs (£10 per person).

Taking all this away from the ticket sales leaves us with: -£4,908.

Yes there are variations, we might need to hire less equipment, we might have different back drops that are cheaper in other shows, but generally we are looking at a shortfall of somewhere between £3,500 and £5,000 in addition to the money made from ticket sales.

Note that this makes no estimate of cost of the time provided by volunteers. The production team including the producer, choreographer, musical director, stage manager and seamstresses as well as the backstage crew and wardrobe reps give hundreds of hours for free to the Gangshow. Without these volunteers Swindon Gang show would not be possible

So Why Not Charge More?

Well that is one option. We can look at increasing the cast fee and the ticket prices, but we need to ensure we get the balance right and maintain accessibility for participants and patrons alike.

The mandate of Swindon Gangshow is to promote the development of young people and in particular to:

  • Promote their social development by expressing themselves through the performing arts.
  • Help them achieve self-confidence and self-reliance whilst working within a team.

In order to achieve this we need Gangshow to be as accessible to as many people as possible. A £30 fee may not sound a like a huge cost, but we frequently have multiple people from one family (brothers, sisters and parent leaders) and suddenly the cast fee can become prohibitive.

Similarly, the overwhelming number of tickets are sold to friends and family of the cast and to other Cub, Brownie, Scout, Guide, Explorer, Senior Section and Network Units and Groups in the area. Increasing the ticket cost risks us being too expensive for the groups to visit.

So we are left with fund-raising in order to meet the shortfall. This is why it’s so important, and this is why we are always asking. In order for Swindon Gangshow to continue to the provide the fantastic opportunity to perform on a professional stage we must fund-raise or we will die.



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