The Pend Oreille Players – Newport
The Pend Oreille Players have been teaching and producing the performing arts in the Pend Oreille Valley since 1997. Here, their board reflects on how their mission of “putting on a show” has been challenged in 2020 and how they’re still finding ways to have fun.
2020 is coming to a close. How are you feeling?
The Board of Directors of Pend Oreille Players are definitely COVID-fatigued. As our mission involves “Putting on a show!”, we miss our work producing live performances for our community. It is a mission we are very passionate about. In the interim, we have kept rather busy with the completion of a building exterior facelift project for which we had received grant funding in June of 2019; an extensive interior project of low-cost renovations that required a lot of elbow grease; a clean out of our props, costuming and general miscellaneous items throughout the theater space and storage units of items we felt we could get rid of through yard sale the end of June; two online Facebook fundraisers were done; the planning and execution of an action plan to mitigate our losses through this disaster, including but not limited to the application for disaster-related grants that is still ongoing to maintain our bills and remain in business on the other side of this disaster; and trying to find ways to perform online while maintaining a standard of safety as required by State of Washington mandates.
How are you taking care of yourself and your staff right now?
We purchased a T-Rex Costume to visit sites around our town and promote not only us but local businesses. Her name is Popasaurus and we have had lots of fun, as have our fans and businesses. We have maintained our monthly meetings, via Zoom mostly. A list of duties and responsibilities was redelegated in an effort to fairly distribute among the board, done back in March. A new Grant Writing Committee was formed of experienced grant writers under the direction of the board member that normally writes the grants, a newly formed Finance Committee will have their first meeting in January. A Committee to review and revise our branding and marketing materials has been formed and will begin their work after the new year. We have added an Email Manager Volunteer position to help us with our email traffic on a weekly basis. Our Costume Department brought on a new volunteer to help in that area. Each committee has a Board Liaison but otherwise, the committee members do not sit on the board. This all allows us to get more work done with many more volunteers, thus, removing some of the work from the board shoulders.
What do you hope for 2021?
That we have a safe, effective, fairly distributed vaccine. That folks remain safe, wear masks as advised, and have patience while we navigate as safely as possible through this deadly pandemic. I hope that Pend Oreille Players is able to offer live theater once again to our community come June of 2021, opening with our postponed musical “Something’s Afoot!” and that our season for 2021/2022 brings people back to Newport Businesses and the theater in even greater numbers than before as we all work together to rebuild our economy in our rural area that has been quite devastated by the pandemic.
What support do you or your organization need in 2021?
Currently we are trying to find a new, affordable, donation and events platform. as our current one has been purchased by a new Canadian company and their pricing is three times what we currently pay. We are renovating our green room and would like to see that completed. We need to replace our old computer and accounting software and develop and execute a tech training program for our future productions. Building our sustaining membership, marketing, and public relations is a challenge for us.
What are you most proud of this year?
As a board, I feel we have pulled together as a team, tackled projects that we could do and been as honest and proactive about our situation as we could, while trying to do everything we could to survive and keep brainstorming ideas. We say “thank you” a lot to one another. Whatever we have accomplished we are not taking for granted.
What message or advice do you have for other nonprofits in your sector?
Keep your eye on COVID-19 relief grants for which to apply. Connect with other like businesses to share your experiences with. And keep your meeting schedule as before, remembering to reach out to persons that may have dropped off the radar. Use this time to beef up your volunteer roster. There is a lot that can be done from home. Remember to dream and have fun.
What questions do you have for the nonprofit community?
What ways can we partner with our community business entities to better survive this health and economic disaster?