Anyways, lately, I have been receiving a lot of questions regarding shows asking for donations for signed Playbills. As we enter BC/EFA season (I'll explain what this is in a minute), shows are more likely to ask you for a donation when you request a signed Playbill. I understand that this can be confusing, so I hope to clarify some of the questions in this post! Listed below are 4 of the most common questions I get asked about donations:
1. Why do some shows ask for donations for signed Playbills?
I've had some people contact me thinking that this donation money goes to fund the show itself. This is definitely not what happens! When a show asks for a donation, this money goes to a WONDERFUL charity called Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids (BC/EFA). This charity's mission statement (posted on the BC/EFA website) is as follows:
"Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is one of the nation’s leading industry-based, nonprofit AIDS fundraising and grant-making organizations. By drawing upon the talents, resources and generosity of the American theatre community, since 1988 BC/EFA has raised more than $250 million for essential services for people with AIDS and other critical illnesses across the United States.
Broadway Cares awards annual grants to more than 450 AIDS and family service organizations nationwide and is the major supporter of the social service programs at The Actors Fund, including the HIV/AIDS Initiative, the Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative, the Al Hirschfeld Free Health Clinic, The Dancers’ Resource and the Stage Managers’ Project." (Found on the Broadway Cares website)
Around this time of year, BC/EFA holds a competition to see which Broadway show can raise the most money for the charity, so more shows are likely to ask for donations. You can find more information about where this money goes and what it is used for on their website: http://www.broadwaycares.org/.
2. How can I find out which shows ask for donations?
You can find out which shows ask for donations (and how much they generally ask for) on this website! I have created specific page for some of the most popular shows (most of which can be found here), but if you have any other questions, please contact me!
Also, I just want to clarify that I have a general idea about which shows ask for donations and which don't, but donation requests can be quite unpredictable. For example, I've sent fan mail to shows and gotten a request for a donation in return and had friends who didn't get a donation request from the same show (around the same time as well).
3. I really want a signed Playbill from a show, but I can't afford to donate. Is there anything I can do?
There are a few things you can try if you really want a signed Playbill but can't afford to donate. First of all, keep in mind that if you send fan mail to a specific actor in the show and request a Playbill that is only signed from them, you most likely won't get asked for a donation. (Major exception to this rule: Hedwig and the Angry Inch). Yes, this means that your Playbill won't be signed by the entire cast, but you will still get one. Also, you might just have to send fan mail to a show that doesn't request donations. For example, Wicked never asks for donations.
Overall, I understand that sometimes it can be tough to afford to donate, but keep in mind that your money ends up going to a really great charity! BC/EFA is really an amazing organization and your money goes to helping people in need.
Other General Information:
- You can send your donation in cash, but I highly recommend sending a check. Checks can be made out to "BC/EFA".
- If you don't include a donation in your original fan mail, the show will (most likely) keep your SASE and tell you to send your donation in a separate letter.
As always, if you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact me here! I will answer all of your questions as quickly as possible!
Thanks for visiting,
(Some information in this article is via the Broadway Cares website. For more information, please visit: http://www.broadwaycares.org/)