#HOWTO: Have A Film Screening As A Fundraising Opportunity

Tugg offers movies of your choiceWe at MKCREATIVEmedia wish you a joyous, healthy, and prosperous New Year!

As the year’s projects and fundraisers and festivals start rolling onto your computer’s calendar, you might be looking for an opportunity to host a one-off event that can bring much-wanted PR, good karma, and even some financial support. How about sponsoring a film screening? The chance for your nonprofit or charity to be a movie mogul, at least for a day, has been made possible by the social/cinema site Tugg. Though currently considered ‘beta,’ Tugg could make hosting a screening of a big-name movie, documentary, or short film so easy that you could host a few each season.

Tugg has a library of films that currently exceeds 960 and growing. You can find recent Hollywood hits (“Horton Hears A Who”), numerous independent films (“Emilio”), documentaries (“The Green Wave”), a fair number of international films (with listings as either dubbed or subtitled, like Trufault’s “Les 400 Coupes”), and even some cult favorites (“Tommy”). Once you have an account (either a unique one with Tugg or via your other social networks), you can find any events near your ZIP Code or set up opportunity to host your own screening at a local theater. Let’s look at the latter in a bit more detail.

Tugg's Social Movie Theater
Mouse over a movie poster for a synopsis.

First, pick a movie relevant to your organization’s work and of interest to the community you want to draw to your organization. Once you have your film (If unsure, click on the movie in the library and you’ll get further information and probably a trailer.), you can click the ‘Request A Screening’ Button. The request page ask for some information about you/your group and how you will advertise the event. The focus on outreach is online and via social networks, so you have the chance to post your Twitter, Facebook, website, email… accounts to the Tugg posting of your event.

The neat thing about Tugg is that its behind-the-scenes networks are already in contact with such theater chains as AMC, Regal, Cinemark, etc. So you name up to three theaters that are in your area, and up to three dates you would like to have the movie shown. Tugg does the deal with the theater(s) you request.

Your work comes in setting ticket expectations. The theater needs economic incentive to host your screening, but you set the ticket prices and the deadline date of when tickets need to be bought. If enough tickets are sold to cover the theater’s needs, the screening goes as planned. If not, you can request the second (and third) date the theater agreed to. If the minimum is not met, the show will not go on. If it is, any further ticket sales go to the organizer/promoter. And of course you could ask patrons to donate to the nonprofit’s box at the theater itself.

It’s probably fair to expect a notable learning curve when your nonprofit or charity first starts hosting such events. What days do people want to come? Which genres resonate (or not) with your Facebook friends? Can your supporters afford slightly higher ticket prices (thus lowering the threshold of tickets sold), or is it better to keep prices low and count on broad attendance? But as you gain experience, Tugg looks like a wonderful social tool to bring people together to enjoy a night out at the movies and to support your cause as the same time.