By Andy Smith
In just a few short years, the online pledge drive known as the Strip-a-Thon has become an important component ofBroadway Bares’ annual fundraising success. This year’s drive featured 109 dancers and raised $84,170, $26,292 more than in 2006.
“It’s the BC/EFA version of a Dance-a-Thon tailored especially for our cause where dancers get pledges or sponsorships just for participating in Bares,” says Producer Anthony LaTorella, adding, “(Associate Producer) Scott Tucker and I would get the ball rolling with off-the-cuff motivational speech at the beginning of rehearsals for each Bares skit.”
“In addition, I would blast out emails to the whole company to get them to participate.”
Convio – an online software company which recently partnered with BC/EFA – provided another boost, making it easy for Strip-a-thon dancers to raise funds over the internet. Participants were able to use email to direct family, friends and colleagues to their self-created personal pages on our website, where an online contribution could be made on their behalf.
This year’s Strip-a-Thon winner was Frankie Grande, with $7,830, while Steve Bratton was a close second with $7,005.Rex Bonomelli generated $5,575, for third place and Ryan Overberg ($2,450) just edged John Salvatore ($2,300) for fourth place.
Tricks of the Fundraising Trade
For the winners, persistence is one key to success.
Overberg used his MySpace account to generate interest. “I posted a bulletin on MySpace that I was doing the fundraiser and basically just asked all my friends to give me at least $5.00,” he says. “My thought was that people spend that on coffee every day so why not give the same amount of money towards a good cause.”
Plus, Ryan wasn’t too proud to beg. “I actually sent a text message to all my friends every day, basically begging for money.”
A close second, Bratton – who has consistently topped $5,000 in fundraising each of the past three years – credits experience and a few tricks of the trade. “My fundraising secret? If I give that away, then I’ll never win anymore! Let me just say, I’ve been doing fundraising for over 10 years,” he jokes. “I also know a lot of people. I try to post my personal page as soon as I can. At the end, I think I had 90 very generous donors.”
Third place finisher Bonomelli even used his Strip-a-thon page to playfully target Bratton. It read: “Welcome to the Help Me Beat Steve Bratton Page devoted to helping me beat Steve Bratton 2007. He beat me by $10 for first place one year and it still makes me sick! I must see Steve Bratton at the gym every day. He’s always really nice and friendly, but underneath that kind exterior I just know he’s thinking ‘Hi loser. Remember that time I beat you in the Strip-A-Thon by $10. That was funny!”’
Meanwhile, Grande just credits mom. “My mother was actually the most competitive person involved in my strip-a-thon campaign, she would check the website every morning and tell me how I was doing, and try and get her friends to donate when I was down,” Grande says. “She was having a lot of fun with the whole process and she herself gave a large donation to BC/EFA in my name.”
Salvatore did well despite a very late start—posting his entry just a week before the event. However, the Beauty and the Beast performer did collect $120.00 at his show, emailed over 150 people (35 responses) and generated five “healthy” donations as part of his day job as a Bikram yoga instructor. “I would make my plea at the beginning of every class.”
Incentive Prizes Sweeten the Deal
Broadway Bares’ generous sponsors added the last bit of motivation by offering some very exciting prizes for the top three finishers, including a $100 gift certificate form new sponsor Aussie Bum.
Rex earned a Day of “Wellness” at the Longevity Health Ctr. – a chiropractic evaluation & treatment, an acupuncture consult & treatment, a 90 minute-massage, a medical grade facial and 10 Days of FREE Nu-Kitchen Food – 3 healthy gourmet meals prepared fresh daily and a 3-month Club H Fitness membership
Steve received a brand newiPod Shuffle, a six-month Club H Fitness membership, and round-trip airfare for two anywhere in the Continental US courtesy of Continental Airlines. Frankie won a brand new Video iPod, a one-year Club H Fitnessmembership
And a 7-day Summer Adventure cruise for (2) compliments of “R” Family Vacations Cruise Lines.