A lot of fundraisers find it natural to jump straight into big sporting events like the London Marathon, Great North Run, Great Swim, or Race for Life. These are major events and they raise massive amounts for charity. But if you’re anything like me, running a cool 26 miles sounds pretty tough going - and frankly, not so fun. But if you’re like me, you’d love to rip it up, or dance it up, and live it up to help support your good cause. Whether you’re a fundraiser looking to raise money for a good cause, or a charity looking to engage non-sporty fundraisers, music can be a great way to expand your fundraising. Read on.
Music for a charity
It’s easy to dismiss live music events as hard to organise or expensive to start up. In reality, you don’t need to be Live Aid (or Bob Geldof) to start something that attracts the attention of hundreds or thousands of donors in your local area. Because music events are a really great way of getting like-minded people together. This is something really special, because people can be as passionate about music as they are about a cause. And when you ignite someone’s passion, they tell their friends, and that means a message can spread.
I recently spoke to Rob and Dean, two musicians behind Concert For Cancer – a small/medium scale live music fundraising event slated for 12 December 2010.
Rob at Concert for Cancer puts it quite simply: “Music, unlike sport, is accessible to everybody – there are many people that maybe can’t compete in a sponsored walk or run, but by attending a music event they can feel they are contributing in some way to a worthy cause.”
They’re expecting about 1,000 people to attend the event itself, but, as they note, a message can travel a lot further than this when people are inspired. Their vision is to build up a brand that can be applied similarly to a franchise model, helping others use an established name to bring extra credibility to their events: “We’re hoping that Concert For Cancer will become a recognised brand that people can ‘attach’ to any fundraising music event anywhere in the UK or indeed the world – our only stipulation is that the event is to raise funds for research based cancer charities,” Rob tells us.
“The concert in September is just the start of things and we hope that in time it will grow. My background is in marketing and advertising so I’ll be using every technique (old and new) to leverage support and awareness.”
How to set up an event
Think small, plan well. Small scale music events run by independent promoters happen in pub, clubs and venues across the UK every night of the week. Some make money; some don’t. Proper thought, research, planning and preparation will make sure yours works out and not only meets the costs of the event itself, but generates profit on top that can go directly to your chosen charity.
Seek out volunteers and discounts – because you’re doing it for a good cause. Charitable music events have it a little easier than commercial/independent event promoters too. You should find that there are venues, artists and plenty of volunteers out there willing to help out by providing their services at a discounted rate, meaning your event is going to be that little bit more profitable – and ultimately, more money is going to go directly to your chosen charity.
How to sell tickets
Use JustGiving to sell tickets/collect donations. This is very simple and a really great example of an innovative use of JustGiving’s payment engine. It lets interested people buy tickets to the event – but it also means those who can’t make it to the event, or those who don’t like the band/DJs playing can still give money and show their support.
All you have to do is create a relevantly named fundraising page on www.justgiving.com. Let your visitors know that a donation (of a certain amount) to your page entitles them to register/ buy a ticket for your event..
Check out our demo page for more tips on ticket sales through JustGiving. http://www.justgiving.com/demopage-sellingtickets
Sell tickets ahead of time. Advance ticket sales will give you an early indication of your likely level of success on the night.
How to promote it
If you have any experience of running live music events then you’ll know that the success of your event is directly proportional to the amount of time you spend on, and the effectiveness of, your promotion.
Comms, comms, comms. Great communication – by which I mean describing your event in really simple terms, and providing all the essential info to both receive donations and for people to arrive at the right place and on time – is second only to how much coverage you can achieve.
Print it out. Pass it out. Yes, you probably will have to do some legwork and post up and hand out some flyers.
Facebook your event. Set up a great event page on Facebook with a well-designed flyer for your show. Invite every friend on your account. Leverage some of your closest (or most popular) friends. Ask them to share the event on their wall and invite their friends too. Check out our top 10 tips on using Facebook to fundraise!
Tweet your event. Post a link to your Facebook event on Twitter and tweet about it to all of your relevant (and even not relevant) Twitter contacts. Use relevant hashtags (keywords around your event, the type of music) to spread the word beyond your network. Again, just ask friends to retweet – and watch the message spirals.
Other social networks. Some other social networks might also be worth targeting, depending on your event. Consider music-specific networks like Last.fm or genre-specific blogs and forums. Be aware that forums normally don’t allow advertising of events or third-party sites as part of their terms of service….so if you go down this route, make sure you read up first, ask a moderator, or find a forum that is specifically for event listings. You don’t want to get banned!
Accept that there will be hurdles…
There can be significant hurdles that you’re going to have to overcome to make sure things go smoothly on the night. Rob at ‘Concert for Cancer’ shared with me some key issues he encountered in running a live event were.
“Certainly the venue / location. We had initially envisaged an outdoor event but the wonders of ‘health and safety’ and potential weather challenges ultimately steered us toward finding an indoor venue of a suitable size,which has been a challenge.
“Funding is also an issue, particularly in the current climate, and matching outgoing costs to a suitable return is a balancing act. But once we’d secured the date and location, we have a hungry team who will make this happen.”
But these can be overcome, he says.
“It’s a challenge for sure. We currently have a small and dedicated team and I know we’ll be able to get a lot of hands-on support for the event. But, so many people have had their lives affected by cancer and there seems to be a willingness from everyone you speak to try and help in some way, however small – and that’s heartwarming.”
Know any great examples of live fundraising gigs?
Just add them to the comments below….and if not, why not start dreaming up your own – and make some fundraising noise for the charity you really care about?
Thanks to Rob at Concert for Cancer
Article by Richard Monk
Tags: charity event ideas, charity event inspiration, charity events, concert for cancer, different fundraising ideas, fundraising gigs, fundraising ideas, fundraising inspiration, fundraising through live music, Gigs, live music, music, music charity event, non sport charity events