Giving Tuesday: More Important Than Ever

Giving Tuesday is an incredible way for people to show their support for the things, people, and organizations they love. A lot of artists and organizations, especially small ones, rely heavily on donations, volunteers, and word-of-mouth marketing. As we approach Giving Tuesday, I would love to encourage you, if you have the time and/or the means, to consider giving to artists, non-profits, or local organizations that you believe in. You can give money, time, talent, PR, kindness, or even simply share a post to show your support. 


To give you an idea of how vital this kind of support is, I have broken down for you what a “micro” non-profit looks like and how money, time, and word-of-mouth power us. 


Dance Waterloo is generally made up of about 8-10 women and any collaborators we may be working with for specific projects, plus our awesome Board of Directors. We are a 501(c)(3) organization, and we are funded by grants, donations, admissions (that are donation-based), and commissioned works. Our classes and performances are almost exclusively pay-what-you-can, and the money we receive from these are either used to pay our hardworking team involved with that project or the money is donated to causes we believe in. All this to say, we’re a pretty small organization, or as our Artistic Director, Morgan, said to me one time, a micro non-profit. 


Giving Money — 


Let’s start with the admin team. We work all through the year, whether there is a project in the works or we’re between projects. Our admin team is currently made up of 5 people — Artistic Director (Morgan), Executive Director (me), Contract + Compliance Specialist (Jess), Community Engagement Coordinator (Elizabeth), and Communications Specialist (Lizzi). We meet regularly, usually once a week or bi-weekly all year to ensure DW is running smoothly, safely, and effectively.


We also have our insanely talented teaching artists. At present, we have 3 teaching artists and a teaching assistant. These people bring DW to life. Depending on the season, we may have more or less teaching artists at any given time, but we almost always offer some type of class no matter the time of year. (Even some of our admin are teaching artists!) 


When we do have an in-person season, like VITAL (2019), we usually have about 5 dancers and 3 choreographers. During VITAL, almost every dancer was also an admin, a teaching artist, a choreographer, and sometimes 2 or 3 of these roles at once. Not only are the people that make up DW people that believe in our mission and vision, but they are multi-faceted artists ready to take on anything. 


Along with all of these amazing humans, we also work regularly with extraordinary collaborators, including graphic designers, composers, musicians, artists, and videographers. These people join the team for specific projects or ongoing work, and we are so lucky to be able to work with them, sometimes even for more than one project or season. 


These are all the people contracted with Dance Waterloo. We are able to pay them for their talents because of grants, donations, and admissions. Money from donations means pay raises for our contractors, more meaningful collaborations with other artists, and more impactful programming for our community at large. 


Giving Time —


If you made it to a Dance Waterloo performance or class before COVID-19, I am positive you saw more people repping DW than just the people I’ve mentioned thus far. You most likely met some of our volunteers. These people simply love the people of Dance Waterloo or our mission and they come out just to help us. They do everything from receiving donations, registering people for classes, to ushering guests and explaining who we are to passers-by. When our contractors are running around as choreographer, dancer, and artistic director trying to prepare to start the performance, the volunteers are there to be the friendly face, the point of contact, and really, the people who make the show go on.  


Dance Waterloo would not be possible without our volunteers. And this includes our Board of Directors. These people donate their time to help us operate Dance Waterloo. Along with 2 of our admin, there are 6 people on our Board that give their time, knowledge, and support at no cost to us. They are professionals and experts in their fields, and they want to help us succeed, whether that is helping us understand business operations, creating websites, or simply overseeing our projects and financials to make sure we are on the right path. They are our support system. 


Giving Word-of-Mouth Marketing — 


And the final ingredient of Dance Waterloo’s successful operation is word-of-mouth marketing. This comes from those who share our posts, invite a friend to class, or bring their family to a performance. When you share Dance Waterloo and our mission with others, our community grows and more people can see what we’re all about, and maybe, that is someone else who is in a position to donate money, time, or simply tell a friend about DW. 


So in this giving season, if you are able, please consider donating your money, time, or social media posts to an organization you love. Our donors and sponsors are the fuel that propel us forward, and we are beyond grateful. You keep us going and you make it possible for us to give back to our artists and our community. 


We love moving with you. Thank you.


Noelle Billings

Executive Director

Dance Waterloo

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