UNTIL PROFESSIONAL FUNDRAISING
I WANTED TO BECOME AN ACTOR
Ever since I was little I knew I wanted to be on stage and performing. In high school I took part in every production. On-stage, backstage, it didn’t matter so long as I was near the stage. Producing plays and musicals in high school means the cast and crew is raising money so the drama department can afford better sets, rent fancier costumes and buy more advertising. Most of the kids hated it, but not me. It came natural to me. The theatre was my life. That’s when I declared, “I want to become an actor.”
Completing my A.A. degree in Theatre Arts at Valencia College got me to the University of Central Florida. As a Theatre major, I had to immerse myself into what it takes to mount a production which was the norm. Most acting jobs come from nonprofit theatre companies who are lucky to have a permanent home. The number of professional theatres paying livable wages for performers has been dwindling for decades.
Someone pursuing acting as a major encounters a stark reality. From the moment you arrive professors explain how difficult it is to be cast in a play or musical and earning scale wages. Auditioning itself becomes a full-time job; one that doesn’t pay. There is little time finding regular part-time work flexible enough to audition, let alone to make enough money to pay the bills.
During a hastily scheduled appointment with my adviser she told me honestly, “While pursuing acting you are recommended to not take on a job, in this field of study you will be at school 40+ hours a week.” Paying my own way through college is a point of pride for me. The real possibility of being unable to cover living expenses while studying acting brought the curtain down on my dream quicker than I was ready to let go of it.
There is no way I can be happy doing anything outside the theatre. Theatre is my life.
For the first time in my life I was unsure of my career choice. I felt alone. I didn’t know whether to voice my concern or keep it to myself. Noticing the look on my face, my adviser asked, “What else do you like doing in the theater?” That’s when it hit me.
The theaters I’m working at in Orlando, like the Orlando Shakespeare Theater and the Orlando Repertory Theatre, are nonprofit theater companies. Raising money in high school came natural to me. What if becoming a professional fundraiser for theater companies is my true calling all along.
During this final year at UCF and with my new dream firmly on the horizon, I am a full-time student getting all A’s, working a part-time job to earn money, and interning for local theatre companies. I’ve stayed true to a huge point of pride, paying my way through school, without any student loans.
I graduate in May 2015 with a BA in Theatre Studies and a minor in Nonprofit Management and a certification as a Certified Nonprofit Professional.
Who: Alexandra Galford is a senior at the University of Central Florida (UCF) majoring in Theatre Studies with a minor in Nonprofit Management. Alexandra’s area of focus is development/fundraising in the arts; she aspires to be a Development Director at The Lincoln Center in New York City. Upon graduation Alexandra will be a Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP) only if she can attend an Academic Conference.
What: The 2015 Nonprofit Leadership Alliance's conference: Alliance Management Institute in Salt Lake City, Utah and the 2015 Association of Fundraising Professional's International Conference on Fundraising in Baltimore, Maryland.
Nonprofit Leadership Alliance
January 4-7th, 2015
AFP International Conference on Fundraising
March 29-31st, 2015
How: Breakdown of the costs:
Nonprofit Leadership Alliance AFP International
Registration $375 $600
Airfare $625 $400
Lodging $400 $400
Food $100 $100
Total $1,500 $1,500
Grand total: $3,000
I encourage all of you to please share this page so that I may reach my goal!
Thank you all for your wonderful support!
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