What do you get when you cross computer dating, young children, and a desperate need for funds?
The Yale Children’s Theater “Data Match” fund-raising efforts.
This semester, the YCT has tried its hand at a new type of fund-raising. YCT is a Dwight Hall member group committed to bringing theater to children to whom the arts are not accessible. It relies on biannual fund-raising efforts to pay for costs associated with their many programs. This year’s Data Match is the latest example of the group’s innovative programs.
“We perform five touring shows a year, run as many as 15 weekly theater workshops in the New Haven area, and are even putting on a school play in Milford,” YCT Artistic Director Martha Lovejoy ’03 said. “We bring theater to schools, libraries, and children’s hospitals in the area regardless of whether or not people can pay, so independent funding is essential.”
In the past, YCT has run a spring fund-raiser called Tuck Ins, in which Yalies purchase a bedtime story for a friend or significant other.
“Tuck Ins consist of a member of YCT going to the recipient’s dorm room with milk and cookies and reading them a bedtime story,”YCT Space Coordinator Jonathan Herczeg ’03 explained. “It’s a cute idea but can be very logistically difficult. This spring, we wanted to go for something a little simpler.”
Carolyn Wright ’03, YCT Student Activities Programmer, approached members of the organization with Data Match, a fund-raising technique popular in her high school.
“Data Match is a computer-based compatibility test based out of Pittsburgh, Pa.,” Wright explained. “Students answer a short survey, then The Data Match company compiles all the surveys and send us compatibility lists. Each student who participates would receive a list of about 10 students whom Data Match considers compatible matches.”
YCT’s Data Match form consisted of 34 questions, ranging from “What is your favorite Children’s Story?” to “What group is your major in?” to “Who is your favorite member of ‘N Sync?” The scores compiled by The Data Match Company were sold by YCT to students for $2 per person.
A week after the Valentines-inspired project, students who have picked up their scores seem hesitant to contact their matches.
“I saw the Data Match as nothing more than a fun opportunity, since we did the same thing at my high school,” Data Match participant Katie Dana ’05 said. “I wasn’t expecting to know anyone on my list, or even to get in touch with them … but I did look them all up on the online Facebook to see who they were.”
Heather Berryan ’04, another Data Match participant, enlisted for the survey with a similar attitude.
“My boyfriend and I did it to see if we were compatible,” Berryan said. “As it turns out, he was the second person on my list and I was the second person on his list. It was fun! Even if I didn’t have a boyfriend, though, I don’t think I would have contacted anyone. It’s just not my style.”
It remains to be seen whether Data Match will be more successful as a fund-raiser than it was as a match-maker.
“We haven’t discussed whether or not we will use Data Match again,” Herczeg said. “It was certainly logistically easier, but the decision rests on how many people end up picking up their results. Either way, it has been a great way to make the Yale Community a little more aware of the presence of the Yale Children’s Theater.”