Two young dance students are dancing together in a dance marathon.

Fundraising Ideas for the New Dance Studio Owner

Every small business has its financial challenges. It’s easy to feel like you’re always behind the eight ball to keep up with extra costs that you incur. Fortunately, dance studios aren’t just businesses – they also have emotional connections within their communities. These emotional connections provide opportunities for dance studio fundraising that may not be available to other businesses.

As with everything in life, the fundraising ideas that take more effort can bring a higher reward. Even so, there are still plenty of simple fundraising ideas that can generate a quick infusion of cash to cover competition team expenses. Here are a few dance studio fundraising suggestions.

Everyone loves a dance marathon.

A dance marathon amplifies the reach of your dance studio fundraising as it allows people who aren’t there to contribute. While it takes some extra effort, there’s significant payoff to be had. Encourage attendance, and motivation to keep on dancing, with prizes. In addition to awards for those dancers who last the longest, you can also give out prizes to those dancers who raise the most money through their sponsors. Have smaller prizes for the dancer who gets:

  • the single highest per-hour sponsor
  • the highest overall per-hour payout
  • the highest number of sponsors

The more ways dancers can win prizes for increasing the number and value of their sponsors, the better the haul for everyone. Announce a new winner for something each hour to keep people going. Solicit gifts from local businesses that might appreciate the low-cost opportunity to market themselves. You might even look for a local sponsor or two to underwrite the costs of the marathon.

Of course, make the dance marathon fun to keep people engaged.

Merchandise the heck out of your dance studio

Today is a golden age for small businesses to sell customized merchandise as an ancillary revenue stream.  The plethora of online services and digital technology allow dance studio owners like yourself to create designs for t-shirts, buttons, bumper stickers, bags, hats, calendars, phone cases…pretty much anything.  And all without having to spend money on inventory before you sell it! Sites like Merchify and Spreadshop make it super easy for very little upfront cash. You provide the designs. The sites then produce the items on-demand when they get purchased.

Have physical samples on hand at your studio, but let people buy online. Include your online merch links in all your communications and social media platforms. Give a piece of merch away to each new dancer who signs up, so they can be energetic, little billboards for your dance studio. When you need a little cash flow boost, run a merchandising campaign to pump up sales.

To freshen things up, run a contest among the dancers on who can design the best t-shirt. Make the winning design available as a limited edition t-shirt (make sure you get a waiver to the copyright from the winner). With some research, you’ll find that setting up and selling branded merch online is much easier and far less expensive than you’d think. 

Create a virtual reality treasure hunt 

How much did your students love the Pokemon Go virtual reality game? It’s easier than you think to create a virtual reality treasure hunt. Using a tool like Action Bound, you can create one for your dance studio. Have a one-day, special event, treasure hunt. Teams can pay an entry fee to play and compete. Award prizes for winners. Students can invite friends to participate. Parents can tag along to make sure everyone stays safe.

There are more fundraising ideas than you can execute

These are just a few ideas. Hopefully, at least one of them will work for your dance studio fundraising. Here are some more fundraising ideas. The truth is, there are countless ways to find cash to help out your competition finances. It’s just a matter of finding the right mix of techniques that work for your studio and your community.  If you’ve set up your studio as a nonprofit, here’s some more fundraising information specific to your setup.

Whether your business is for-profit or nonprofit, the only way you’ll learn which fundraising ideas work for you is to test your ideas and gauge the results. For new dance studio owners, fundraising may be a new skill to be developed and might feel uncomfortable. Yet once you start trying your ideas and see what’s working, it will become easier, and even fun. Many owners look for a passionate parent or other volunteers with whom they can partner to help make it easier and more effective. Whatever route you choose — patience, perseverance and a willingness to try new things will be your best friends.
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