#GIRLBOSS™ Foundation Grant Work Plan and Budget

Hi, Girlboss!

 

We are so excited to be considered for a #GIRLBOSS™ Foundation Grant. As you can see detailed below, we will use the funds to remount our original full length contemporary dance production, HerStory, for Women's History Month and strengthen Mélange Dance Company for the future, most importantly obtaining our 501c3 status to give us more financial stability. Our full work plan and budget is below. Click here to see our detailed description and visual of HerStory. 

 

Financial Need - getting us to the next level

We're in an industry that relies on external funding. According to a Rand Corporation Research Brief, on average, dance companies earn about 30% of their revenues. Since our inception, we have been earning an average of 50% of our show costs with ticket sales, which is well above the average. There are many grants available to nonprofit arts organizations and potential donors, but the vast majority require 501c3 status. In our first season, without a product to present to garner support, our founders/co-directors supplemented our revenue with a small loan. In our second and third seasons, once we had a product to show potential supporters, we were awarded a Community Partnership Grant from the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation and a corporate donation. We are now at a tipping point. Without our 501c3 status, we are limited in the amount of funding for which we are applicable, but we need funds to complete our 501c3 application. It is $800 to file the paper work, and our pro bono lawyer has advised us to pay back our $3,500 loan before we submit to increase the likelihood of a quick turn.  We have been working for months with our pro bono lawyer, and we are ready to submit as soon as we have the funds!

 

We are proud of the professionalism and growth we have achieved within our limited budget. Our shows have been possible because of the tireless artists (choreographers, dancers, lighting designers, costumers, photographers) who work for free or for a fraction of their normal fees because they have faith in us and our product. A performance venue is the one major thing that has been cost prohibitive. Dance requires space, and it's difficult to find a stage that is big enough to accommodate the big movement of our contemporary dance productions that fits within our budget. We have performed in a yoga studio where we hung fabric from the ceiling to create wings and a backstage, a small bar venue (with a grand piano on the tiny stage) where we took out the first few rows of seats so we could use the floor in front of the stage for more room to dance, and a larger music venue (at this venue we convinced them to move the grand piano backstage so it took up our changing room instead of room on the stage), where we built wings using PVC piping and our trusty fabric. Being able to present HerStory on a larger stage in a traditional theatre with wings, a full backstage, and no grand piano will increase our visibility, professionalism, and local name recognition. This will in turn increase the amount of money accessible to us. We also plan on inviting potential donors and corporate sponsors, as well as people responsible for hiring groups to perform at festivals, schools, and other events in and around New Orleans to attend this remount of HerStory

 

What has varied most for us is dancer payment. When we first started, we compensated dancers with free classes, ​Mélange Dance Company tank tops, and professional head shots. For HerStory, we paid the dancers a total of $3,000; an average of $300 per dancer and about $3.50 per hour spent in rehearsal. Paying the dancers is extremely important to us. As one of only two regularly performing contemporary dance companies in New Orleans, it is important to us to invest in professionalism and support and acknowledge the hard work of these local artists. When dancer payment is removed from show costs, to compare our first and more recent seasons, ticket sales covered 57% of our first production’s costs and 122% of HerStory’s costs (our most recent production). Since 2014, we have seen a drastic increase in support for our shows. This support has been garnered with a minimal budget restricted to paying for postcard flyers and up to $30 of Facebook promotion. With additional funds to promote the show in local entertainment publications, we expect to increase our audience base beyond our March production of HerStory

 

 

Summary of Budget

 

Future Planning.........................................................................................................$7,170

Remounting HerStory in March 2017.................................................................$7,830

Total Need..................................................................................................................$15,000

 

 

Detailed Budget

 

Future Planning Costs.............................................................................................................................................................................................. $7,170

501c3 Filing Fee....................................................................................................................................................................................................$800

-One time fee paid by early March 2017

-Obtaining our 501c3 status will make us eligible for more grants and will make donations tax deductible.

Pay Back Founders...........................................................................................................................................................................................$3,500

-One time fee paid by early March 2017

-As ​Mélange has grown, our founders/directors have supplemented fundraising, grants, and ticket sales with their personal funds.

  Our pro bono lawyer has advised us to repay our debt before filing for our 501c3 to increase our likelihood of being approved

  quickly.

Mélange Dance Company Name and Logo Trademark.............................................................................................................................$750

-One time fee paid by June 2017

-Our Board of Directors President, who is lawyer, is working on trademarking our name and logo.

HerStory Copyright...............................................................................................................................................................................................$200

-One time fee to be paid before our March 2017 production

-Our Board of Directors President, who is lawyer, is working on copyrighting HerStory.

Filing Updated Articles of Incorporation........................................................................................................................................................$100

-One time fee to be paid by March 2017

-Our Board of Directors has grown, and we've amended our bylaws and articles of incorporation. As a result, we need to refile our

  information with the state of Louisiana.

New Orleans Dance Network Membership...................................................................................................................................................$120

-$10/month

-To be paid monthly throughout 2017

-The New Orleans Dance Network is the go-to website for adults who are interested in dance classes and performances in New

  Orleans. Local dance companies and studios pay dues to have their information included on the site. Our continued membership

  with the New Orleans Dance Network helps us continue to increase our name recognition, as well as promote our dance classes and productions.

Technology Maintenance...................................................................................................................................................................................$100

-To be paid throughout 2017

-Maintaining our website and custom domain email address allows us to communicate and present ourselves professionally as well

  as promote our classes and performances. 

melangedanceofnola.com domain......................................................................................................................................................................$13.75
melange.dance domain................................................................................................................................................................................................$20
Custom domain email address..................................................................................................................................................................................$60

HerStory Costumes..............................................................................................................................................................................................$800

-One time fee to be paid before our March 2017 production

-When we presented HerStory in November of 2016, we paid our costumer $100, a tenth of her normal fee, and we did not pay for

  any of the costumes. She met with our Artistic Director to strategize looks that would elevate the narrative and professionalism of     the show and then built the looks by thrifting and creating with materials such as newspaper and sheets. To use the costumes  

  again, we would need to purchase or rent the costumes from her. With this grant, we would buy the costumes so we could

  continue to perform HerStory without paying an additional rental fee.

Videography............................................................................................................................................................................................................$800

-One time fee to be paid after our March 2017 production

-As you can tell from our application, we are in need of more professional footage from our whole production. This would allow us to better document our work for use in future sponsorship requests, grant applications, and promotion of HerStory. Luckily, our Artistic Director is well versed in video editing, so we were able to work with the footage we did have. This in house skill also saves us the expense of hiring a video editor.

 

Cost of Remounting HerStory in March 2017.................................................................................................................................................. $15,030

Rehearsal Space...................................................................................................................................................................................................$825

-11 weeks, $10 per hour, 7.5 hours per week, January - March

-Although the show is prepared, it is important for us to clean, strengthen, and adjust it based on feedback and our own

  observations. We often incorporate new material each time we remount a production to refresh it and keep it current. We want to

  ensure that HerStory is in impeccable condition as we upgrade our venue, reach new audiences, and move forward towards our

  goal of touring HerStory to other cities. Although the grant will not be awarded by January, we will use the grant funds to pay

  retrospectively for this item.

Performance Venue..........................................................................................................................................................................................$7,500

-$2,500 per night, 3 nights

-To be paid in March 2017

-We're speaking with a number of theatres in New Orleans that have a large enough stage for us with wings and a full lighting and sound board. This price is for Le Petit Theatre, which is centrally located in the French Quarter and will attract a  diverse audience.

Technical Week Rehearsals...............................................................................................................................................................................$690

-4 hours Sunday-Thursday in the theatre the week before our March production 

-To be paid March 2017

-This time will be spent getting used to the performance venue and setting lights and sound.

Dancer Payment................................................................................................................................................................................................$3,500

-Average of $350 per dancer, 10 dancers

-To be paid in March 2017

-Dancer payment is based on time spent in rehearsal. Dancers will work 4-10 hours per week for about three months from January

  through March.

Choreography/Artistic Director Payment......................................................................................................................................................$500

-One time fee to be paid in March 2017

-Our three time Big Easy Award Nominated Artistic Director and HerStory choreographer has not been compensated for the

  immense amount of time and energy it takes to conceptualize, research, choreograph, and execute a full length contemporary

  dance production. It is important to us to support local artists who dedicate so much time and passion to a project like this. Even

  a small stipend validates the legitimacy of an artist's hard work.

Executive Director Payment..............................................................................................................................................................................$300

-One time fee to be paid in March 2017

-Our Executive Director who coordinates scheduling, the Board of Directors, venues, logistics and financials has also not been

  compensated for these efforts. It would be meaningful to be supported by compensation for her work.

Lighting Designer.................................................................................................................................................................................................$700

-One time fee to be paid in March 2017

-A professional lighting designer to create and run lights during technical rehearsals and performances.

Program Printing..................................................................................................................................................................................................$150

Marley Dance Floor Rental.................................................................................................................................................................................$400

-One time fee to be paid in March 2017

-The surface of most stages is not suitable for our barefoot dancing; we rent a marley dance floor to roll out over the stage to

  protect our feet and allow us to turn more easily. 

HerStory Advertisement in Where Y'at..........................................................................................................................................................$765

-Quarter page promotion, online and editorial coverage, and inclusion in top entertainment picks on local TV news

-To be paid in February 2017

-Where Y'at is a monthly entertainment publication reaching 175,000 readers per issue. 

Flyers/Postcards.................................................................................................................................................................................................$150

-600 postcard/flyers

-To be paid in February 2017

-Flyers and postcards will be distributed throughout the city before our March HerStory performance. Per our audience survey from

  our first HerStory production, these flyers were successful at attracting people to our performance.

Facebook Advertising..........................................................................................................................................................................................$150

-To be paid in February and March 2017

-Approximately 11,380 reached

-In the past, the majority of our audience heard about our productions through social media, mainly Facebook. We have had

  success with even small amounts ($30) of paid Facebook promotion in the past. The estimated number reached is extrapolated

  from the results of our past paid promotion.

 

Estimated Revenue for March 2017 HerStory Performance........................................................................................................................ $7,200

HerStory Ticket Sales Full Price: 300 tickets * $20 per ticket - processing fee.............................................................................$5,400​

HerStory Ticket Sales Student/Senior Price: 100 tickets * $15 per ticket - processing fee.......................................................$1,800

-The processing fee is collected by the New Orleans Gambit, a weekly newspaper distributed to over 300 locations throughout the

  metro New Orleans area and accessed online. For this fee, the Gambit will promote the show online and in their paper. 

-This estimate is based on past ticket sales. When we remounted our first production, The UpStairs Lounge, in March 2015

  (originally presented in November 2014), we sold about twice as many tickets per show the second time. 

 

 

Forward Planning - goals and how the GIRLBOSS Foundation Grant will get us there

2017 Goals

  • Build a strong foundation for business operations, including obtaining our 501c3 status and trademarking Mélange Dance Company name and logo

  • Grow and strengthen our Board of Directors – we currently have five Directors, but our bylaws dictate having 5-15. In January, we plan on putting out a call for resumes of people interested in participating with the goal of diversifying our board in terms of age, gender and reach. 

  • HerStory Goals

    • Prepare to bring HerStory to a larger audience in New Orleans and other cities in the US

      • Copyright HerStory

      • Add to, clean, and edit choreography

      • Buy costumes

      • Hire a professional videographer

    • Bring HerStory to a larger audience by presenting our show at a traditional theatre with paid market plan to increase professionalism and local name recognition.

    • We've already been in contact with the Loyola University’s Feminist Festival and the Outreach Manager at the National World War II Museum about incorporating HerStory in their events.

  • Present The UpStairs Lounge as part of the New Orleans Pride Festival in June of 2017. We're in contact with the New Orleans Pride Festival Board of Directors who are interested in making The UpStairs Lounge part of Pride.

  • Create and present a brand new production in the Fall.

 

Goals within the next 3 years

  • Present HerStory in at least 5 major cities and become recognized nationwide for our work

  • Work together with women's groups to advocate for women's rights and share our art; be part of the next women's movement

  • Get Hillary Clinton and Gloria Steinem to a showing of HerStory :) (and Michelle Obama, Meryl Streep, Ellen, Sophia Amoruso...)

  • Pay our dancers at least minimum wage for their time in rehearsal

  • Produce our local shows at a consistent venue that satisfies our needs

  • Collaborate with local musician, Helen Gillet, on full length contemporary dance production and music video (already in the works)

  • Maintain consistent grant and sponsorship funding

  • Continue to create unique, original dance productions  

  • Solidify our brand; to be recognized as a professional dance company in the US

 

Long Term Goals

  • Have a paid, full time effort supporting Mélange Dance Company 

  • Be the resident dance company at a theatre, regularly performing in their annual line up

  • Present HerStory in at least 5 additional major cities

  • Expand our audience base through paid marketing, performing at a consistent venue, and producing increasingly professional productions

  • Increase opportunities to be hired to work with theater groups, filmmakers, and musicians

  • Pay artist collaborates market value for the participation in our productions

  • Work with organizations which advocate for social justice

  • Use our Art to benefit society

  • Stay Inspired! Keep going! Do what we never imagined possible!