Birmingham Hippodrome – raising funds, raising standards!

Hannah Hallam, Development Manager, blogs about some of our fundraising work, securing donations from individuals, businesses and trusts who really do play a ‘best supporting role’ at Birmingham Hippodrome                        

I’ve just returned to work after a very busy 6 months maternity leave and am now getting back into the swing of things in my role as Development Manager for Birmingham Hippodrome.

The Development team work with the theatre’s Trustees to build relationships with supporters and donors who give money to the theatre.  These gifts ensure that our Education, Outreach and Access programmes can thrive; that our beautiful theatre is maintained to the highest standard; and that we continue to attract world class productions to the city.

Not many people realise that, as an independent, not-for-profit, registered charity, we receive no grant subsidy from the government, from Birmingham City Council, or from the Arts Council. Our box office sales drive the business and fundraising enables us to provide additional much-needed services for the many thousands of people who visit the busiest theatre in the UK every year.

In our small team, we manage relationships with over 50 corporate members, nearly 3,500 Friends and research over 200 grant-making trusts.

Keith Harris & Orville, Joan Collins at the recent Panto Appeal meet and greet with patients and families

We have just completed our 8th successful Panto Appeal which raised just over £5,000 to enable unwell children and their siblings to attend Dick Whittington here as a special treat.  We are so grateful to all those supporters who helped make some dreams come true. The feedback we get from the hospital staff and parents every year is so touching.

Grant-making Trusts are increasingly important to all arts charities at the moment, especially as public funding feels the pinch. In the last few months we are delighted to have secured funding towards our Access programme from seven new charities enabling even more great projects to take place with disadvantaged children and other community groups.

Sally Pennington (Development Officer) and I are currently working on our biennial Gala Dinner which takes place in May 2011. This is a prestigious, glittering event for 300 guests, and tables are nearly sold out already!  An event such as this takes a lot of planning and, with the help of our colleagues in various departments, we manage to deliver a top-class fundraising event!  We’re now in the process of looking for auction prizes, particularly of the one-off or “money-can’t-buy” experience.   We’ve already arranged an amazing prize thanks to two performers coming to the Hippodrome later this year! (Can’t say what it is at the moment!)

I’m also setting up an account for the theatre on Justgiving.com, a website designed for supporters to donate to their chosen charities swiftly and efficiently. We are planning a raffle to be run via Justgiving.com with a superb prize of a four night stay for two at the Radisson Blu Hotel located in the heart of Dubai, with flights courtesy of Emirates. The hotel’s enviable location will allow the lucky bidder easy access to both Dubai’s beaches and vibrant shopping areas including Mall of the Emirates. Tickets are just £5 each and we’re planning on tickets being available from Tuesday 1 February 2011 – watch this space!

Students attending Education workshop The Birds and the Beasts, a collaboration between Birmingham Hippodrome and Welsh National Opera (Picture by Martin Pickard)

The Development Trust is a body of professionals who support the theatre’s fundraising work chaired by PwC’s Mark Smith. After last week’s Trustee meeting we have lots of action points to take up and complete before the next meeting in March.

Over the next couple of weeks, we have meetings with our Charity Partners Cure Leukaemia and with prospective sponsors of the Gala Dinner; we’re sending out invitations for several events over the year; and identifying supportive grant-making Trusts; we’re also reviewing the best way to promote our ever-popular Friends and Patrons schemes.

If you would like to find out more or to donate to the theatre, call us on 0844 338 5040 or email development@birminghamhippodrome.com.  You can also link here  to find out how you too can play a supporting role, and secure an exciting future for Birmingham Hippodrome.

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