top of page
WAM THEATRE: Women in Arts & Media | Empowering Creativity | Wright Collective

Empowering Creativity for WAM THEATRE


Kristen Van Ginhoven & Leigh Strimbeck

Founded in


The Berkshires of Massachusetts


Engaged the board in fundraising and increased overall individual giving by 200% in 1 year

  • Development audit and analysis

  • Board training


Creating opportunities for women/girls through theatre as philanthropy

  • Equality in opportunity and treatment

  • Integrity, honesty, and respect

  • Highlighting the stories of women/girls in theatrical productions

  • Donating a portion of the proceeds to organizations that benefit women and girls (as of 2020, over $41,500 to thirteen beneficiaries and providing work for 400+ theatre artists) while raising awareness for these establishments

  • Leading theatre activities that include a comprehensive educational outreach program and the Fresh Takes Play Reading Series


When WAM first reached out to us at Wright Collective, they were facing many challenges that were inhibiting them from raising larger sums of money. Most of these challenges arose from an existing culture within their organization that didn't quite understand the opportunities and language of the philanthropic sector. In addition to this, they lacked a clear fundraising plan with both short-term and long-term fundraising goals. 

At the beginning of the partnership, both Board and Staff had: 

  • Hesitance and fear surrounding fundraising

  • Uncertainty of what the organization’s story was and was becoming (long-term vision) 

  • Confusion on how to embrace as well as share WAM’s story, mission, and values, crucial for fruitful fundraising but connected quite deeply to a 'founding' story 

  • Hesitance in articulating long-term vision and discussing a long-term growth plan with diverse constituents 

The existing fundraising plan needed:  

  • A clear strategy for expanding to new resources

  • A clear pathway to develop a detailed Asset Map for WAM's unique mission and how to use the information strategically once received 

  • A need to adjust the entire organization's fundraising mindset, techniques, and approach

  • A need to unmask the fear in fundraising and ask for larger investments from donors over time 


To overcome the many challenges that were hindering WAM’s fundraising efforts, Wright Collective put together a customized fundraising action plan dedicated to targeted the desired outcomes of the client, as they fit into the philanthropic landscape at that time. 

We designed a day long Board retreat where we:

  • Created the WAM vision, story of present and future, and reaffirmed it by exploring in session, where the revenue to achieve this vision could and would likely come from over time 

  • Helped individual board members more creatively share this personal story for effective fundraising in their own networks 

We designed a series of Board and staff workshops during which we:

  • Reframed their fundraising mindset about the role fundraising plays in being a successful change agent 

  • Realized that fundraising is really all about storytelling and relationship building and it's actually part of mission making to discuss empowering women and girls with personal resources and capital too 

  • Got rid of the fear associated with fundraising by robustly practicing donor conversations 

  • Supported the Founder/Artistic Director in defining the vision for herself and the organization so trust could be strengthen amongst all leadership 


We developed of a detailed Asset Map for WAM to:

  • Use for expansion of resources by realizing all the networks and connections they already possessed for fundraising outreach 

  • Strategically help them identify prospects and generate a comprehensive plan to cultivate these donors in creative and authentic ways 

  • Identify who is tied to/excited about the mission and wants to be a part of the “WAMily”- peer-to-peer fundraisers in addition to donors 

The Facts
  • Developed both short-term and long-term, strategic fundraising goals

  • Learned how to and where to strategically identify prospects and generate comprehensive plans to cultivate these relationships over time 

  • Increased overall income by 210% in one year with short-term fundraising solicitations identified/activities by our team 

  • Increased individual donations by 287%, which included the implementation of a $1,000 Club in 2015 that had over 80% increase in 2 years 

  • Increased Foundation and Government Grants

  • Left positive impact on corporate support and ticket sales, shifting all stakeholders to feel part of the "WAMily" 

Abundance Breakthrough

  • Reframed the fundraising mindset and enhanced the skillsets of both the Board and Staff

  • Reduced the fear of fundraising through more emphasis on fundraising as activism, relationship building and storytelling 

  • Changed the perspective of leadership from 'we will always meet budget' to 'there are no limits to what we can do!' 


Artistic Director and Co-Founder

“Alyssa reframed how the whole WAM Team and Board think

about fundraising. She completely removed the fear! 

In our work together, she held onto the long term goals/vision while supporting us

every step of the way on that journey in year 1. And, she does it all with

positivity and inspiration.”

bottom of page