Stories from the Inc.: Alternative Revenues for the Performing Arts

Tuesday, February 10, 2015
Hart House, University of Toronto

These two separate workshops are designed to share the learning of the participants in the first learning network formed under the Creative Strategies Incubator program at the Metcalf Foundation. They should be of interest to anyone interested in alternative revenue sources for the non-profit arts sector, and they will be of particular interest to anyone considering submitting an application to the March 23, 2015 deadline for the Creative Strategies Incubator (CrSI).

The day has been designed with two independent sessions:

  • a morning session, during which companies funded under the 2013 CrSI program – focus issue: new approaches to, or alternative sources of, revenue – will share their stories; and
  • an afternoon session that will offer guidance to companies preparing letters of interest for the upcoming application deadline.

Please note that registration for each of these sessions will be handled separately.

Stories from the Inc. – Sharing Our Learning
9:30 am – 12:15 pm; Debates Room, Hart House

The companies funded under the 2013 CrSI program – Acting Up Stage, Art of Time Ensemble, Fringe Toronto, Tafelmusik, and the SpaceFinder Toronto collaborative (ArtsBuild Ontario, TAPA, and WorkInCulture) – will share their stories. Learn about their initiatives, hear about their earliest learning, and find out what lessons might be transferrable to your own work.

The morning begins with a panel presentation where the companies will address general questions about the type of work in which they have been engaged.

  • How can I grow my sales by enhancing and customizing an experience for corporate groups?
  • How should I prepare to upgrade my online presence?
  • How can I increase web-based sales?
  • Is an app right for my organization? Will it help me boost sales?
  • How can I augment the value of my company/our work through collaboration?

During small group Q&A sessions hosted by the various companies, workshop attendees will also have opportunities to raise questions on other topics like crowd-source funding, group sales techniques, monetizing existing resources, and online tools like Google AdWords.

Click here to register. Registration is free, but it must be done in advance of the workshop. Owing to space limitations, Metcalf is asking organizations to register no more than two participants at this time.

Preparing Your 2015 Application
1:30 pm – 3:30 pm; Debates Room, Hart House

Michael Jones, Performing Arts Program Director at Metcalf, will answer questions about the CrSI program and the 2015 focus issue – new approaches to, or alternative sources of, revenue. In addition to general information about the program, this session will address issues related to the required content of your letter of interest, activities that could be supported through the funding program, and what the Foundation will consider when reviewing letters of interest and full applications.

In addition, Daniel Bernhard, a business development specialist from Mushroom Cloud, will help potential applicants begin to address the questions related to business viability/profitablity required for the full submission.

  1. Why would anyone want to buy your idea? What value does it create for them and/or what need does it fulfill?
  2. Who else is doing something similar, either in the private or non-profit sector? What are the key differences between your proposal and the competition’s offering?
  3. Why are the differences between your proposal and the competition’s offering valuable to potential customers?
  4. How do you plan to let people know about your idea and convince them to buy it?
  5. In ten words or less, how will you know that your initiative has been successful?

If you have already begun formulating your initiative, you will have the opportunity to volunteer for one-on-one coaching from Daniel in a master class setting.

Click here to register. Registration is free, but it must be done in advance of the workshop.

Download a copy of the presentation slides here.

People who attend the afternoon workshop may be entitled to additional support from the Foundation if they are invited, following their letter of interest, to submit a full application to the 2015 CrSI program.


Workshop Animators

Read about the initiatives and companies funded under the 2013 CrSI program.

Acting Up Stage Theatre Company Inc.
funded CrSI initiative
company website

Art of Time Ensemble
funded CrSI initiative
company website

Fringe of Toronto Theatre Festival
funded CrSI initiative
company website

Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir
funded CrSI initiative
company website

SpaceFinder Toronto collaborative
funded CrSI initiative
SpaceFinder Toronto website
ArtsBuild Ontario website
Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA) website
WorkInCulture website

Metcalf Foundation activities are continuing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about our response here.