How to Organize a Successful Concert Fundraiser

October 22, 20120 Comments

Concerts are fun, but they’re also a lot of hard work for the person planning and organizing a fundraising event. If you’re an advocate of animals, especially elephants, you’ll want your event to be a big success. Following these guidelines will help make your event more fun and successful.

1) Find a Band, Singer and/or Musician
Normally, it takes a big name to attract big crowds to concerts, but there are exceptions. Many people will attend a concert featuring musicians or singers with only a local following if the event is to benefit someone with a life-threatening situation or cause like an endangered animal. If your event is to benefit elephants, you’ve got both. Your responsibility is to publicize the plight of elephants, so always keep that focus in every detail of your event.

The goal is to make your success and keep your expenses as low as possible, so find bands, singers and musicians who are willing to perform free (or a small fee). Ask friends who are in a band. Look online to find the names of managers or people to contact about arranging them for your benefit. Convince them that your event is a big affair. Be sure to emphasize that yours is a benefit show.

Try to get as many singers, musicians or bands to donate their talents to your event. If you know a local celebrity, even if he or she is not a singer, get a pledge from him or her to appear on stage and address the crowd on the topic of elephants. A well-known TV or radio broadcaster is a good choice.

2) Secure a Good Venue
Business people will tell you that the three most important things for a successful venture are location, location and location. It is important to obtain the best, most suitable location for a successful concert fundraiser. Sometimes it is more of “what’s available” than what is ideal, but start by creating a list of locations you’d like to use. List them from “most desired” to “if all else fails.”

Talk to the principal of your school and see if you can use the auditorium at no cost. Sometimes it helps to get a faculty member (or several) who can go to bat for you and your event. Other possible venues in your area might include a church or organization that frequently conducts musical events. It’s easier to advertise a venue that often presents entertainment.

Ideally, the space you acquire should have nice acoustics and good lighting, but it is essential the venue is one where you can secure the entrance so you can charge a cover or sell tickets for entry to the event. If the climate in your part of the country allows for an outdoor concert, contact city or county officials about using an outdoor space (and permit, if needed).

3) Advertise Your Event as a Big Deal
It is still possible to get free advertising in a number of ways. Sending out press releases to the local newspaper is a good start, but don’t leave out other free publicity. Radio stations are a good example. Often radio deejays will promote good events and may even call and “interview” you about the event if you contact them and convince them your concert is worthwhile. Likewise, television stations will also promote charity or benefit events, but they are sometimes more difficult to enlist.

Online websites are a great way to advertise. Sending out a Facebook invitation is a great method of making sure your concert gets attention. Creating a Facebook event, even creating your own free website on places like WordPress are great ways to advertise. Don’t neglect other websites such as MySpace. Word-of-mouth is still one of the best methods of advertising. Make sure your concert a “much talked-about” event so that friends will Twitter about it.

Posters and community bulletin boards should also be included. Get an artist or friend skilled at graphics to design a poster for the event. Make sure he or she includes the location, date and time, price and reason for the concert. Get local businesses to advertise your benefit concert in their next newspaper, radio or television ad. Brainstorm with friends and see if you can come up with new advertising ideas.

4) Find Sponsors
No matter how well you advertise your cause, it never hurts to get sponsors. Some community-minded businesses welcome worthwhile causes to sponsor. Some businesses will buy a space in your concert program booklet. Others actually have an annual budget allocated for charitable causes. Ask them if they would like to be included in the program as a co-sponsor or ask them to sponsor 10 or 20 advance tickets to the concert. Tell them they can use the tickets to give to their employees or valued customers.

5) Sell Food & Beverages
If you’re persuasive, you might be able to obtain a sponsorship from a local beverage company. They may provide free or low-cost soft drinks or bottled water for your benefit. Even if you can’t get free beverages, you can buy them in bulk at a discount and resell them for a dollar each (or more). Snacks can be obtained the same way. You might even consider contacting a local food vendor to provide food. In return, get them to make a contribution to the cause.

If you’re an elephant advocate, you’ll want your concert to be a big success. These tips are not all-inclusive, but using these guidelines in your planning will help make your event a fundraising success.


Photo Credit: Copyright Jiaren Lau Photography

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About the Author ()

S.R. Morris, an American living in and reporting from the Philippines, where the ivory trade is recently a big topic in the news.

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