WORKSHOP: Case Study - Waverley Care forms theatre tie-up


Background: Waverley Care is Scotland's largest Aids charity. It provides information, gives one-to-one support to people with HIV, and runs a residential care unit and day-care service.

The charity has found that traditional fundraising methods don't work particularly well because the public is highly sensitive to the stigma attached to HIV.

This situation, coupled with very limited resources, has prompted it to develop a more creative approach to fundraising. This has included targeted efforts to raise awareness among groups and individuals that may not obviously choose to support HIV charities.

In 2000, Waverley Care struck up a relationship with The Bohemians Lyric Opera Company theatre group to help achieve this.

Aims: The charity wanted to explore new ways of raising funds by reaching a fresh audience. It was also equally important to raise awareness of the work it does to support children who are living in families where one or both parents have HIV, and to promote the charity's name.

How it worked: Over the past three years, Waverley Care has been involved in promoting and securing sponsorship for The Bohemians' annual productions.

As part of the agreement, the charity has enclosed flyers with newsletters sent to its 3,000 supporters. From 2002 onwards, it also took on the role of seeking corporate sponsorship and liaising with businesses at the shows.

In return, Waverley Care receives a donation from the theatre and has the chance to make collections at each performance. The charity's distinctive tartan ribbon logo also appears on all of The Bohemians' publicity material, and this year a programme advertisement was used to promote a benefit concert for Waverley Care run by the Edinburgh Stage and Screen Orchestra.

Results: Waverley Care receives a donation of around £1,000 a year from The Bohemians' show profits. Bucket shaking after each performance yields around a further £1,200 per production. The charity also gets to keep 30 per cent of all corporate sponsorship money that it raises for the theatre group.

Since the partnership began in 2000, Waverley Care has raised £6,500.

This year's production, Bizet's Carmen the Musical, is expected to raise approximately £2,150.

"We are delighted with the outcome of this campaign," said Karen Docwra, fundraiser at Waverley Care. "Our relationship with The Bohemians has gone from strength to strength, combining income generation with heightening our profile."

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