Charity runs and walks are usually a great event for nonprofit organizations of different sizes. The problem is that it seems everyone is running some type of 5K event each weekend, and in order to stand-out you might want to go in a completely different direction to get the most participation. If you want your next event to be unique consider hosting your very own benefit concert.
In the past few years you probably have seen quite a few of these big charity events, headlined by the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Jimmy Buffett, and Kenny Chesney. These celebrities have lent their time, their voices, and their names to these events to raise needed monies for families who lost homes due to Hurricane Sandy or are dealing with other challenging issues. These benefit concerts are not just for the headlining acts.
Even smaller nonprofit organizations can raise funds with a benefit concert. This post is going to help you plan a local charity event of your own with five essential steps. First we are going to discuss performers, then promotions, and other sources of charity revenue.
5 Steps for Planning a Local Benefit Concert
Step 1: How to Choose Your Show
Before you do anything, ask yourself the following, “Which type of show should we produce?”
Even before you call your first musician, you need to have a solid plan in place. Start with the size of the event, and then consider how many people you can realistically attract to your concert.
When you are located in a less populated location or resources are low, consider hosting your event at the local community space, park, or downtown area. Bring in a few local performers who would appreciate the opportunity to help a worthwhile cause while gaining exposure for their band as well. You have control over how small or big you want to make your concert.
After you have planned the size of your charity concert, decide on whether the bands will be of one genre or if all local talent will be on display. Battle of the bands or acoustic folk concerts, it doesn’t matter as long as you bill the event properly for the spectators.
Step 2: Choosing Your Venue
Now is the time to pick the event date, the time, and the location of the show. Once you have determined the theme, you will need to work on determining the size and the venue. There are plenty of facilities in your community that will allow you to host your event, from event centers, churches, warehouses, to fairgrounds.
The venue must be able to easily accommodate the number of guests you plan on inviting. Here at the Wesley Center in Clermont we can accommodate up to 1,000 people with access to a stage, seating, lighting, and high tech audio/visual equipment.
If you know the setting of the benefit concert well in advance, it makes it easier to recruit talent for the show and then promote the event. If you have a standout act booked early, this can be used in promotional materials to try and attract similar larger acts to participate as well.
Step 3: Setting Up the Event Lineup
So now it is time to get the big stars on your bill. Chances are pretty good that Garth Brooks is not going to be returning your call, so don’t get all caught up in focusing only on getting top acts to perform. The artists that eventually participate are going to be key in your fundraising as well as marketing efforts.
Local acts are great for uncovering new hidden talents, and they are much more accessible than Taylor Swift. These acts will definitely be telling their family, friends, and fans, they will be a part of the lineup for your benefit concert, so you can expect word of mouth to spread quickly.
These acts can also help raise money by posting about the fundraiser on their website and social media platforms. Regardless who performs, treat them all as professionals and make sure they know when to arrive, where to set-up, and what amenities are available to them.
Step 4: The Benefit Concert Promotion
If your benefit concert is going to attract a brand new audience; it is vital you market to them properly. Make sure you tell all of your existing donors about the concert, and then target local music lovers who might appreciate a unique gathering of local talent for a good cause. This way your benefit concert is more like the popular peer-to-peer fundraisers so popular on the Internet.
While many people will donate to help support a family or friend, keep in mind that some may simply attend for the music, regardless the reason for the benefit. This is a great way to introduce this particular audience to the concept of nonprofit and what your organization represents.
Place your advertising in music schools, music shops, record stores, and performance venues. Ask the performers and the venue staff to help by promoting the event on their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn accounts. Even a new musician has thousands of unique followers that can attend your event.
Step 5: Generating That Cash Flow
Not only can you have to rely on ticket sales, you can take advantage of many different streams to raise the money needed. You can sell items at the concert like tee shirts, food and drinks. You can also charge a vendor fee for businesses or artisan craft makers to have a display area.
Be sure to have a mobile payment processor on hand at the event. Many people will wait to buy tickets at the door and some guests will want to make donations during the show with their credit cards. Musicians can remind those in attendance if they have not already made a contribution, to seek out a team member who can assist with taking the donation on the spot.
Get Ready to Rock!!!
While there may be many things that need attention leading up to the benefit concert, these five steps should help you to be in the best position to raise a substantial amount of money for the cause. By breaking out from the usual charity profile, you get more members of your community to lend a helping hand when it comes to contributions.