An Interview with a Rockin’ Organization!
An Interview with Givenik.com’s Ben Cohen!
This month we have a special interview with Givenik.com‘s Ben Cohen! Read on to find out how you can help different charities (like Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS or It Gets Better Project, and so many more!) while buying a ticket to your favorite Broadway show!
Ben, tell us about yourself and what you do for Givenik.
Well, Hi! My name is Ben Cohen and I am the Marketing Associate at Jujamcyn Theaters. Jujamcyn owns and operates five Broadway theaters, including the St. James, Eugene O’Neill, Walter Kerr, August Wilson and the Al Hirschfeld. Additionally, we run a website called Givenik.com, which is the first and only place on the web where you can get Broadway and Off-Broadway tickets and 5% goes to your favorite charity. With just a staff of 2 working on Givenik, you can only begin to imagine what we do every day! I mainly run the social media and digital efforts of Givenik, as well as create and execute new marketing initiatives.
Tell us a little bit about Givenik – when was Givenik started?
Givenik.com was started in 2007 by Jordan Roth when he realized there was no program that combined two of his passions: theater and philanthropy. Viola! From that realization, Givenik.com was born. Givenik’s ticketing is processed directly through Ticketmaster and Telecharge, so we aren’t a broker by any means. We have to approach each show individually to get them to participate. When Givenik.com was first launched, I think only half of a dozen Broadway shows were available, and now we now have over 40 offering individual tickets. Oh! Another thing about Givenik.com is that the 5% donation comes directly from your ticket price. There are no additional fees added to your order. It really is a win-win-win.
It is a fantastic idea! How does this benefit the Broadway community?
Great question. It benefits the Broadway community in a couple of ways. Sure, offering tickets through Givenik.com provides a great way to talk about your Broadway or Off-Broadway show; however, there are so many incredible non-profits that exist to benefit the Broadway community (The Actors Fund, The Wing, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS). Now when they are encouraging folks to see a show, they can also say that 5% will go back to their organization. It just sort of makes sense, ya know?
What kind of charities do you accept?
Any non-profit can join Givenik.com and right now we have nearly 500 charities available. We have national groups to local chapters, and from arts organizations to educational institutions on Givenik.com, including The Trevor Project, VH1 Save the Music Foundation, City Harvest, Broadway Green Alliance, Dress for Success Worldwide, God’s Love We Deliver, The Actors Fund, Stand Up to Cancer, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, The It Gets Better Project, New York Theatre Workshop, local chapters of Susan G. Komen For the Cure Breast Cancer Foundation, The Museum for African Art and The American Foundation for Equal Rights. And of course, if your charity isn’t signed up, just visit the site and select the “add my charity” tab. It takes only a few minutes and is absolutely free. We also provide the charity with a plethora of tools to help them spread the word. We make it as easy as possible.
How can patrons supporting the Broadway community support Givenik?
All I can say is check out Givenik.com, so you can see a Broadway show while supporting your favorite charity. I encourage y’all to LIKE us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to check out some cool content, win incredible experiences, and join our growing community. We have an active video series called Givenik Ambassadors, where Broadway celebrities discuss their favorite charities. You can watch videos of Sigourney Weaver, Audra McDonald, Joel Grey, Reeve Carney and many more discussing some incredible organizations.
We also host charity nights with various Broadway shows, including WICKED, CHICAGO, and The Gershwins’ Porgy & Bess. People are encouraged to buy their tickets on Givenik.com for a specific night and then they can attend a post-show reception with the cast. These Charity Nights are a BLAST and have become these huge celebrations for the show and their favorite charity. We’ll have more information soon about our Charity Nights with SEMINAR and GHOST in March.
Ah, that sounds exciting! What kind of tickets can you buy from Givenik?
We currently offer Broadway and Off-Broadway tickets for shows in New York City. One of our 2012 goals is to be able to offer all the great Broadway shows running around the country, as well as concerts and sporting events. Last year was the first time we ever offered tickets to The Radio City Christmas Spectacular and Peter Pan at Madison Square Garden. The baby steps are worth it because we always remember that at the end of the day the theatergoer is raising a money for an organization that saves lives every day. It really puts a lot into perspective.
We see and hear about Pignik all the time! Who is this amazing animal?
Pignik is our Givenik.com mascot! He is a piggy bank that represents how charities raise and save money through Givenik. It started off as a little bit of a gag idea, but Pignik has really become a celebrity. Each Givenik Ambassador receives a Pignik as a “Thank You” and signs another one that we auction off for charity. I’ve heard that some cast members are using theirs as a swear jar in their dressing room! We really love how Pignik has caught on within the theater community. Just the other day my colleague sent me a picture of a girl wearing a Pignik tattoo on her cheek. What are the odds of that?