Financial Resources for Actors: How to Find Funds for Your Creative Projects

self-producing Jan 02, 2023

Between us actors, we've got our hands full: Not only are we self-producing new projects (yay!!), but we also need to find ways to fund them (ohhhh....). And, it doesn't help that there aren't too many resources for actors out there that teach us to do that very thing.

You see, I learned the hard way about the constant struggle of fundraising when I ran my own theatre company. It was like a never-ending game of "Where's the Money?" But seriously, even though fundraising plans can be a challenge, it's important to remember that they’re just like any other project: They have goals, strategies, organization, implementation, analysis, and outcomes. So let's break it down and approach fundraising with a sense of purpose and clarity

1. Make a budget

The first step is to figure out just how much money you need to raise. This can be done by creating a budget that lists all your expected costs and any potential sources of income, like ticket sales or sponsorships. Just remember to be realistic: It's probably not realistic to assume you'll sell out every single performance. Once you have your budget in place, you'll know exactly how much you need to raise through actor funds, grants for performing artists, or other financial resources for actors. Now you're ready to start your fundraising journey with a clear plan and intention.

2. Sell the story!

Now that we've calculated our financial goal, it's time to start highlighting the unique advantages of your project. Fundraising is pretty much the same as marketing—you need an engaging, energetic story to really bring your campaign to new heights. But don’t just send out generic requests for money or plaster your Instagram stories without adding context: People need to know what their donations will contribute to. 

Speaking of Instagram, it can be a great platform for spreading awareness, but it may not be the best for actually raising donations. That’s because the platform makes it difficult to generate click-throughs and the majority of its audience is not ready to commit to larger amounts. Twitter, Facebook, and email, however, are all still great resources to help you out!

3. Build a team

Now it’s time to build your coalition. To really maximize your efforts, identify who among your core collaborators (producers, designers and actors) might have the potential and interest to help fundraise—and remember that most will have a vested interest in making the project a success. So get to know each team member, their skill sets and unique benefits. After all, some of the best resources for actors can be right in their own contacts list. Knowing who can gracefully write a grant, who has a knack for social media or who has a gorgeous downtown LA loft perfect for a dinner party can all be immensely helpful when it comes to organizing and delegating tasks.

4. Nail an approach

The next step in the process is to identify all the potential ways you can raise the needed funds. This is usually met with a hearty "but HOW?!" Never fear, simply take a look below at a few of the possible fundraising strategies and financial resources for actors available: 

Crowdfunding (Kickstarter)

Direct Asks (calls, letters, meetings)

Letter Campaigns

Social Media Pushes (giveaways)

Private Events (dinner parties, concerts)

Grants (specialized grants like actor grants, artists grants, or local or national grants for the performing arts)

Actor / Artist funds (similar to actor grants and artist grants)

 5. Set realistic goals

Now that you have a list of potential strategies or financial resources for actors to consider, it's time to set some goals for each one. This should be based on research into what is actually possible for each strategy. For example, you might set a goal of raising $1,500 through actor grants, $10,000 through direct asks, and $2,500 through sponsorships.

Let's say you have a 30-day deadline for your fundraising efforts. In this case, it's important to break out each day and plan out your strategy. For example, if you launch your letter campaign 12 days in, you should have a first draft ready 7 days before that, a 2nd or 3rd draft 2 days before that, and a final draft the day before. Don't forget to include hard deadlines for all your strategies!

As you work toward your fundraising goals, it's also important to analyze your progress and adapt your strategies as necessary. What's working? What's not? By staying aware and adaptable, you'll increase your chances of a positive outcome.

6. Give thanks…fast!

Put it this way: show your appreciation within a day of someone donating to your cause. Even if you might not need to go back to them for additional support later on, they'll remember that you said 'thanks', and are likely to donate to you again and maybe even more next time. 

As you implement your fundraising plans, remember these three key things:

  • Communicate - Keep donors informed about your progress and updated on your project.

  • Follow through - Make sure to follow through on any promises or perks you may have offered in exchange for donations.

  • Thank people - Show appreciation and gratitude for their support. It will likely encourage them to give again in the future. 

Now soldier ahead and get that money, hennnny!

Curious about working with us? Sign up for a free consultation, and find out about our one-of-a-kind curriculum.

Sign Up For a Free Consultation