Back to Back Theatre on putting your people first
Back to Back Theatre was one of our success stories from Plus1 2014/15. We spoke with Executive Producer Alice Nash about Back to Back's fundraising strategy.
Tell us about the fundraising strategy used to raise the Plus1 matched funding target?
We invest in building quality and long-term relationships with our donors: gently, graciously and gratefully engaging with current and potential supporters across time.
Our approach, which we employed for Plus1 matched funding, is not about continually asking, but about communicating meaningfully, keeping the relationship alive and captivating.
While our communication with donors is individualised, the ensemble and the creation of new work are always central to our message. Our strategy is to place the actors at the front of the company, where they belong. They are our point of difference.
How would you describe your Plus1 project and what are the outcomes you hope to achieve?
Through the Plus1 matched funding program, Back to Back is undertaking a capacity building project to enable us to better leverage funding from private donors, trusts and foundations. We believe that our work has extraordinary social impact and that we change lives for the better, but we lack some of the hard evidence and key metrics to demonstrate this.
Over the course of the next year, we will be working with social impact specialists, Think Impact, to build a solid body of evidence, not only to test our assumptions about our impact, but to envisage what our full, potential impact could be and how we could most effectively and powerfully communicate this to all our stakeholders.
Following your success in reaching the Plus1 matched funding target, do you feel more confident in your overall fundraising strategy and ability to achieve results through the project?
Definitely. One of the most valuable aspects of this project has been engaging fully with our philanthropic partners, drawing on their expertise and insights into impact investment. Through this matched funding process, we have been further reminded that our supporters are genuine collaborators in our endeavour.
Did the fundraising activity bring new donors to your organisation/activity? If so, any tips on how you cultivated them?
Yes, our fundraising activity through Plus1 established connections with new donors.
Our advice is before you action any ‘asks’, make sure that you have done thorough research on the donor’s fit with your organisation, identified the likely areas of interest that you share and that you have all the infrastructure in place – have imagined what is needed to support a successful partnership – before you initiate a dialogue.
If for whatever reason when you are cultivating a potential donor, you don’t feel like it is the right time in the relationship to ask for support, you should trust this instinct. Care and restraint in building relationships is vital.
As a result of your project, have you increased knowledge and skills in any aspects of identifying, obtaining and maintaining partnerships in your organisation?
Our knowledge and skills are increasing all the time, through trial and error as well as through listening and responding to our stakeholders.
Donors, trusts and foundations can’t always give money, but most are eager to contribute ideas and expertise, help establish connections with others and share their research and reflections. We benefit greatly from this support that comes in many forms.
Do you see Plus1 as leaving a positive legacy in your organisation?
Plus1 has assisted Back to Back Theatre to continue to build a culture of giving, seen both internally and externally as invaluable and mutually beneficial for all parties.
From our involvement, our board members and staff have a much greater ease (as well as a greater level of skill) in asking for support, building dynamic relationships with private donors for community benefit and the building of a strong and vibrant civil society.
Find out more about backtobacktheatre.com or get to know our Plus1 matched funding program.