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7 Ideas to Keep the Holiday Cash Flowing

Nick Begley

Nick Begley

Senior Marketing Manager

With Black Friday behind us, many of your patrons are likely still looking for the perfect gift to give their loved ones this holiday season.

That means there’s still time for your performing arts organization to leverage last-minute holiday shopping to drive revenue and keep the cash flowing as we near the end of the year.

Here are seven ideas that are sure to please patrons of all ages!

Holiday photo sessions

Your venue is the perfect backdrop for holiday photos that will be cherished for years to come. Offer your patrons and donors the rare opportunity to take photos in different parts of your theater that can be used for their holiday card.

Create packages of varying costs that fit different budgets, from a small fee to take selfies in your holiday-themed lobby to a more inclusive package that includes professional photos taken on your festively decorated stage.

If you set stringent protocols like self-health screenings, temperature checks prior to entry, cleaning between different parties and mandatory masks when not being photographed, you can do this safely.

Zoom with Santa

The bad news is that visits with mall Santas won’t be a thing in 2020. The good news is that the North Pole has great WiFi, so virtual visits with Santa are a great substitute this holiday season.

Help families keep their tradition alive by offering virtual visits with St. Nick by leveraging local acting talent that can play the role of Kris Kringle. You can also create a festive backdrop for Santa in your venue by either building a simple set or using an existing one from a holiday show that has been shelved this year.

Gather intel from parents during the ticket purchase experience for these 15-minute interactive meet-and-greets with Father Christmas and watch the holiday magic happen!

Rent the marquee

Our friends at the Greenwich Odeum in East Greenwich, Rhode Island are allowing people to ‘light up the Odeum Marquee‘ with their own personal message for a small fee.

For $75, the Odeum will put your message on their marquee for at least 2 hours in the morning or afternoon of a scheduled day. They also offer a full day buy-out option for a larger fee. If you can’t make it to see the marquee in person, they will provide supporters with a photo.

The opportunities with a marquee rental are only limited by the buyer’s creativity (and 17 characters per line in the case of the Odeum, technically). For those that need ideas, model out different scenarios to drive sales like the marquee used as a background for a family’s holiday card photo, winter-time marriage proposal, pregnancy announcement or a mini resume for a job-seeker.

Interactive holiday shows and classes

With most community events, holiday parades and festive shows canceled this year, there’s a big opportunity to lean into the popularity of virtual events to drive revenue for your organization.

You can do something as simple as soliciting pay-what-you-can donations to provide access to interactive holiday sing-alongs and Christmas caroling led by local talent. Or you can offer giftable online classes and workshops through your drama school that take place during the school holiday break.

Gift cards

This one may seem old hat, but gift certificates and gift cards never go out of style. In fact, a survey by the National Retail Federation revealed that they remain among the top holiday gifts – 56 percent of those surveyed expected to buy gift cards this season. 

In performing arts, it’s easy to see why this works. Gift cards offer patrons a high degree of flexibility, allowing the recipient to choose an event that fits into his or her schedule. 

Arts professionals will also be interested to know that 72 percent of customers end up spending more than the value of their gift card. Others never use the full value, which ends up being found money. 

Organizations like Blumenthal Performing Arts and the Washington Pavilion make it easy to give the perfect gift. In an instant, patrons can customize their certificates for any amount and add a personal message. Everyone appreciates quick delivery these days too, so be sure to offer email and print-at-home options.

Pop-up shops

For those tangible gift-givers, create an online pop-up shop to sell merchandise that is specific to your theater, city or the content that has been on your stage. The market for stagey swag, playful masks and other branded apparel is growing and your organization is perfectly positioned to get a piece of that pie.

Alternatively, work with local theater-makers and community artists to create a socially distanced holiday artisan market that features one-of-a-kind wares that are perfect for gift-giving.


Beyond giving the gift of entertainment, your patrons may be doing some other last-minute online shopping. 

By partnering with AmazonSmile – which is powered by the same Amazon you know, with the same products, prices and service – non-profit performing arts organizations like Athenaeum Theatre are receiving donations when patrons make their holiday purchases through a specific referral link.

Learn More
These seven ideas to keep the cash flowing are just the beginning. Want to learn more about taking advantage of the holiday shopping season to drive revenue and attendance for your performing arts organization? Reach out to our marketing team via and we’ll set you up with a free consultation with one of our performing arts specialists

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