There is a very special day for non-profits in MN – known as Give To the Max Day (GTMD) – a single day of giving to organizations in MN produced by GiveMN.org – It is on that day that HUGE holds our annual fundraiser known as IMPROVATHON!!
Beginning on Wednesday November 13th and running until just after midnight Thursday, November 14th – for the entire 28 hours, HUGE Theater is filled with non-stop improv, celebration of this community, amazing and touching fundraising efforts and so. much coffee.
This is a crucial day for HUGE Theater – in years past it has been GTMD that allows us to forgo fundraising of our audiences year round, allowing people to come enjoy the shows and defer their Minnesotan guilt about giving until November every year…more on that below.
Once again we thank Common Roots Catering and Steamship Coffee for all of the caffeinated liquid support they sent our way – there are few things as important to being awake and energetic and upright and on stage for 28 hours as caffeine.
Afternoon Printing once again produced all of our Improvathon shirts and they are spectacular as always!
@commonroots – @steamshipcoffee – @AftnPrnt
Please help us thank them !
The Improvathon is also a competition – performers and Iron Audience can win workshops, super-exclusive swag and the coveted plaque on the theater wall with their fundraising!
We are excited to announce that the fund-raising-est groups were:
HUGE STUDENT JAM!
The top Iron Audience fundraisers were:
ANONYMOUS (we know who you are…AGAIN)
SARA ANN AVELSGAARD
Thank you (thank you, THANK YOU) to everyone that helped schedule and wrangle, volunteered, posted, tweeted, watched, ushered, cleaned, brewed more coffee, staffed the box office, took photos, performed, hassled relatives near and far to donate and made us weep with joy.
HUGE focuses all our energy and efforts on this day to fund our programs, scholarships, staffing and the glamorous work of keeping an arts non-profit open all year long.
Official Improvathon 2019 Grand Total: $57,500!!
The “Now What?”
This year we set our goal at $75,000 – which we obviously did not reach but this number (and this event) are no less amazing and inspiring.
It was less than a decade ago when having a theater for improv was a crazy dream and charging $5 for a show was risky – in our early years this was an unthinkable amount to raise – we knew that it was shooting for the stars (especially in the same year we made a bold attempt at a new building), and we have been keeping an eye on the fundraising trends in the arts and across industries… which is all a way of saying that we knew it was a real possibility that we would raise less for GTMD2019.
This means some changes – we have programs that we firmly believe need to grow and crazy dreams yet to be realized – fundraising will ebb and flow but HUGE continues will always need to adapt
The most noticeable change was one foreshadowed earlier – we cannot simply continue to wait for GTMD to ask for the donations we need year round, so you will see and hear more direct asks for support at HUGE – while this is something we know will change the experience of coming to HUGE, we hope that asking the people that enjoy the shows more directly to supporting this place will also help them feel more connected to the continuing survival and success of the theater.
The reality is that we’ve had a few very good years of hitting our fundraising targets, grants and growth – and while it’s been good to be out of “survival mode” for awhile, we always try to keep in mind that those things can change and we may need those survival skills again.
The dream of owning a building continues and those efforts resume in full now that GTMD2019 is behind us – with additional operations fundraising to be done as well – because owning our building is the big step toward long-term security we can make, but we want to make sure that we maintain the health and security of the organization until that day.
There will be a lot more specifics and visible efforts rolling out as more and more schemes take shape – as well as the official updates at our annual public event at the HUGE 9th Anniversary Show on Jan 25th!
I know it can feel hard to be upbeat about all of this – the capital push and GTMD falling short of their goals – but it is always more-than balanced by this tremendous community and the continuous love and support that keep this place going, that it something hard to show on a spreadsheet or a budget or a blog post.
There is so much meaning beyond the number after the dollar sign, those are the things that are hardest to quantify.
The crazy ideas people launched to raise money this year, the surprise of getting large checks for our new building from family members or even people we’d never met (but they know someone that loves HUGE so very much that they were moved to give), the scope of just how far and wide this community reaches.
Last – and absolutely not least – the simple fact that dozens of people are willing to bring themselves to this place to spend 28 hours laughing together and connecting with one another, supporting one another as well as this place and telling everyone how much they love it … how many non-profit organizations can say that?
How many non-profit organizations have the privilege to serve a community and an art form like this one?
I don’t think there are any communities like ours.
I think we are lucky beyond measure to be able to continue to do what we do for this community, this art form and these people – more often, it is impossible not to be excited and energetic about what we get to do
And what comes next.
Thank you all
Executive Director of HUGE Theater and Humble Servant