Underwrite

Although we’re volunteer run, there are expenses. In the wake of thoroughly unexpected, unsolicited back-to-back queries from potential season sponsors — one of which raised the valid point that all the nonprofit venues in the region have underwriting programs, and none of them have a documentation prong — we’re opening the door to underwriting to help cover the costs of operating and improving.

This is an unadvertised soft launch. Early adopters will probably be few… partly because we’re not marketing it, but mostly just because we’re still “building the brand” (ugh). However, that means those who choose to support Stage 33 Live will be all the more visible and appreciated.

  • This is an underwriting program, not a membership or sponsorship thing. It’s intended for businesses and foundations, but open to personal philanthropy too. (We also accept freewill donations in any amount, as well as donated goods and services.)
  • Underwriters will receive display acknowledgment in the seasonal program; on all collateral including posters, playbills, our newsletter, social media, our website, press releases, etc.; and permanently embedded in all web-posted clips of documentation taken during the underwriting term (at this writing, our YouTube channel view count has exceeded 20,000). Find more thorough details on these recognitions further below.
  • Worth noting: Many of the live attendees travel in to attend — one memorable show had people from five states. And the online audience is far larger and even more dispersed. The net we cast is much wider than Bellows Falls.
  • This underwriting doesn’t include broadcast acknowledgment — federal law and public broadcasting rules regarding underwriter acknowledgment is complex and restrictive. By necessity, broadcast provision will be a separate program once we begin broadcast production, and opportunities will be limited.
  • Display sizes and placements will be commensurately weighted among all underwriters, and/or presented in descending order of the support amount.
  • Mid-term sign-ons will be accepted after a season starts. Officially, the term will be for the following season… but acknowledgments will be immediately deployed to the extent possible as a bonus.
  • Underwriting terms are annual, and coincide with our fall-through-spring season. Any post-season summer events that may get scheduled will be rolled in.

Email us: stage33@stage33live.com

The pitch, such as it is:

A halo is nice, but so is putting bread and butter on your table. As a practical exercise in capitalism, underwriting demonstrates to potential customers that you’re the kind of place they’ll want to get to know… plus it builds loyalty with customers you already have.

There are studies that show underwriting works better than advertising; it may well be true. Underwriting is sort of like advertising without the desperation.

Our acknowledgements are based on federal noncommercial broadcast law because we find it offers a nice clean template that provides a level playing field and prevents descending into pandering ickiness.

  • In our printed program:
  • your logo
  • entity name if it’s not in the logo
  • a value-neutral description of products and services in 10 words or fewer (if desired)
  • established short slogan that identifies but isn’t promotional (if desired)
  • contact / location info (web, phone, village/town), as desired or appropriate
  • disallowed: price information, calls to action, superlative / qualitative / comparative descriptions, inducements, and endorsements
  • On our printed posters and playbills:
  • your logo
  • entity name if it’s not in the logo
  • In our press releases:
  • entity name
  • In our email newsletters:
  • your logo (or entity name), linked
  • On our website:
  • your logo (or entity name), linked, on every page of the site
  • On our social media from time to time during the term:
  • your logo
  • entity name
  • a value-neutral description of products and services in 10 words or fewer (if desired)
  • established short slogan that identifies but isn’t promotional (if desired)
  • contact / location info (web, phone, village/town), as desired or appropriate
  • disallowed: price information, calls to action, superlative / qualitative / comparative descriptions, inducements, and endorsements
  • On web-posted performance clips:
  • your logo (and/or entity name) permanently embedded at end of every clip taken during the underwriting term

Some organizations offer discounted or free tickets as an inducement to underwrite. We don’t. The ticket money goes to the performers, not us, and we’re not willing to take that away from them.

There are no hard rates (yet), but there is a moving-target minimum threshold. Our suggested full-freight amount for big foundation and corporate support is $3,300 — that’s for the full season. Every single show. For bigger small businesses that can’t hit that hard, halve that: $1,650. For good-hearted but slim-margined locally-owned affairs, $500 and up. Again, this is for all the recognitions for the full regular season along with any add-on events, plus permanent embedding in the web clips. (We’re not going to put a strict definition on “big” or “successful” or “small.” Do what seems right.)

At this time, no incoming funds go toward payroll. Everything is invested into costs, maintenance, and upgrades. As soon as there’s any “extra” dough, we’ll be starting a Performer Guarantee Fund to make sure that performers at least get a minimum amount if there’s a bad turnout through no fault of theirs or ours. We do hope to also get paid for our work one day, but that day isn’t this day.

Stage 33 Live is a nonprofit (EIN 82-2349941), and all support is tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed. But businesses can deduct advertising expenses anyway… the IRS considers underwriting to be advertising even though the two things are legally distinct.

It was local people who built up the project with time and muscle, experience, small donations, and more; what’s been accomplished would never have happened without them and that will never be forgotten. But we’ll always welcome all comers (except for, like, assholes and racists and homophobes and nazis and stuff — and just in case, we reserve the right to refuse anything). Bellows Falls is rich in culture and nature, but the median household income is less than half the national median. The lowest of any incorporated village in southern Vermont, and the second-lowest in the state. Ouch. The poverty rate tops 25%. In addition to maybe helping launch a career or two, we hope to eventually be able to provide at least one paid position in our community.

Email us: stage33@stage33live.com

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Run and done by volunteers, stem to stern.
Donations are what keep this thing going.
We squeeze every penny,
and we'd be so happy to squeeze yours. Or drop off cash / checks at any event.
You can surface-mail checks to:
Stage 33 Live (admin)
8-A Atkinson St
Bellows Falls VT 05101

Donated equipment or services are welcome!
Tax deductible to the fullest extent.
Stage 33 Live LTD is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, EIN 82-2349941.



Stage 33 Live
stage33@stage33live.com
www.stage33live.com
voice/text (802) 289-0148
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VENUE:
33 Bridge Street
Bellows Falls VT


ADMIN MAILING:
8A Atkinson St
Bellows Falls VT 05101