The Australian Theatre for Young People (ATYP) is one of the little guys in the game, but it continues to punch above its weight, with 35% of gross income
coming from donations (more than double the industry average of 14%). This is extraordinary given the size of ATYP’s development team: two people. So how did they do it?
Operating since 1963, ATYP provides theatre-making experiences to young people all around Australia through activities including an annual production season, workshops, mentoring and learning programmes online. Clearly communicating the impact of these activities has been key to ATYP’s development and fundraising strategies. Two case
studies exemplify this use of impact measurement.
Promotional material for ATYP’s annual appeal featured clear messages of what the money was going into (mission) and why it matters (impact). Key stakeholders, from board members to participants, presented simple messages such as “With your help, we can…” and “I support ATYP because…”
The appeal has also shown to have an impact on overall giving – comparing income data, it is clear that small spikes in annual appeal income ripple up into considerable increases in overall philanthropic income.
Parents of participating kids are often very involved with ATYP – with their foot already in the door, and the impact of the organisation’s activities visible through their children, they are treated as an important donor base in and of themselves.
Collaborating with Impact Communications who provide pro bono support, ATYP distinguished multiple marketing personas to model key messages and considerations across different contexts in the parent community. These personas are the shared reference for engagement (e.g. Parents’ Committee, parents’ events) and fundraising operations.
- Be assertive, especially with your leaders – do your impact research, communicate the results and stand by them.
- Define a clear mission and grounded understanding of desired outcomes – establish realistic targets and develop strong stories for them.
- It’s much easier to engage your supporters who already know your value!
- Get to know your arts counterparts – collaborate with peers, engage with networks and mentoring.
- Keep your internal (datasets, database) and external (website) tools clean and up to date.
- Always say thank you