Benefit concert - Year end recital as a benefit concert

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Postby Beckywy » Thu Dec 30, 2004 10:10 pm

My students and I have decided to do a benefit concert instead of a traditional year-end recital. This event we're hoping to raise enough money to cover the venue and still have a substantial amount of money to donate to the Hospital for Sick Children. Anybody ever organized an event such as this? Any words of advice? I think I could be over my head in this. I have some "guests artists" lined up - students who have won regional competitions. Is there a way I could bring other teachers onboard without the event becoming an "music teachers" event? Any words of advice on getting sponsors onboard?
"The real purpose of studying music-to unite ourselves with our special gifts in such a way that one would add strength to the other" Seymour Bernstein
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Postby pianoannie » Sat Jan 01, 2005 9:44 pm

I've never tried anything like that before, but it sounds like a great idea. You have me thinking that maybe my students could do something to raise money for people in the areas hit by the tsunamis.
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Postby Dr. Bill Leland » Mon Jan 03, 2005 12:46 pm

Last Spring the NMSU faculty violinist and I put together a benefit recital for a long time co-worker, our Recital Hall Technician, who was struck by a car and suffered a severe head injury. We got a good publicity article in the paper and announcements on the University PBS station and were able to raise about $5000. Of course, we had the advantage of already being well-known area performers and being able to use the University Recital Hall for free, but we also played the program at one of the large local retirement communities, and this event was also successful--the good folks were very generous within their means. (Also fortunate was the fact that they have a pretty good Baldwin SF10 over there which they keep up to par.)

Do you have a retirement home with a usable piano? It would be a great place to start, and the idea might be received with great enthusiasm. You might also sound out a community center, church, etc., maybe even do the event several times in different places. And by all means try to get someone on the newspaper interested. A lot will depend on the size of your city or town--a modest size would maybe be best. But talk it up among the parents, church leaders, community leaders, and whoever you can find; you'll get a good idea of what kind of success to expect. It might even become a yearly event that students and parents would look forward to.

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Postby Beckywy » Tue Jan 04, 2005 2:00 pm

Was the money raised mainly from ticket sales or donations and sponsors?
"The real purpose of studying music-to unite ourselves with our special gifts in such a way that one would add strength to the other" Seymour Bernstein
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Postby Dr. Bill Leland » Fri Jan 07, 2005 10:46 am

We publicized the fact that we wished for donations to assist a colleague whose insurance had run out, then simply left a donation box at the door. Everyone knew what we were there for, and many people were quite generous.

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Postby Beckywy » Wed Jan 12, 2005 11:11 pm

This Benefit Concert is a lot of work!!! I just signed the contract with the theatre, have at our disposal 2 steinway concert grands!! yea...just signed on an opera singer from the canadian opera company, and a 14 year old piano prodigy. Sponsorships are starting to trickle in, I don't mind selling this event, its just those 6am early breakfast meetings. Just lost my voice, have been talking on the phone for 3 days straight trying to get people who will volunteer their time to help me with this event. You will not believe the excuses out there. Oh well, I have 2 so far.
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Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Thu Jan 13, 2005 9:03 am

Beckywy wrote:Sponsorships are starting to trickle in, I don't mind selling this event, its just those 6am early breakfast meetings. Just lost my voice, have been talking on the phone for 3 days straight trying to get people who will volunteer their time to help me with this event. You will not believe the excuses out there.

I've done a lot of recruiting money over the years to support various charity, music and scientific causes. It sounds as if your experience is fairly consistent with mine. Recruiting money is both time-consuming and hard on one's ego! :(

It has been my observation that, at most, 10% of your contacts will support any given cause. That doesn't mean it's time to throw in the towel; it just means you have to keep a positive attitude and contact as many people as you can. The secret is in the numbers.

Things that seem to help with recruiting: small tokens of recognition promised to donators (in your case, perhaps a CD recording of the concert might be useful, since you can create it yourself at little direct cost); letters of thank you sent immediately after you receive the donation (this is helpful for tax purposes and is done by far too few recipients); recognition of donations in the program and advertising for the event (you can even sell the "naming rights" for a large donation). Whatever you do to encourage donations, remember that businesses get solicited all the time for money, so don't take a refusal personally and don't take no as a final answer, since most people automatically refuse the first request. The trick is to keep the contact engaged on the phone pleasantly and non-confrontationally after the initial refusal. Offer some more advantages of support for the potential donor - sometimes you can turn them around. Just think of your benefit as a special kind of marketing and use marketing techniques to recruit money.

Best of luck to you and kudos for undertaking this hard job. I hate doing that sort of thing too, but always get a special sense of satisfaction when the event goes off well and is well supported by donations. :)

P.S. Another thing I forgot to mention: it's usually best to send a letter requesting support, then follow up with a phone call as close to the receipt of the request letter as possible. This allows you to save time on the phone and also allows you to separate those who will never donate from those who you might want to meet in person for further discussion.




Edited By Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Editor on 1105628963
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Postby Beckywy » Mon May 30, 2005 7:08 am

Just an update. The benefit concert was on the 28th. Even though we were not able to fill the seats, we left a great impression on the audience. After the show, my city councillor came up and expressed his wish to be part of the committee for next year's concert. As well, a few people also expressed interest in being part of the event next year. Also, a few of the parents of the students who performed stated they will try harder next time to sell more tickets. The concert went very smoothly. Not only my students performed, but also a violinist, a bandura, and a great jazz ensemble for our last act. There were 4 teachers, and we paired up to perform duets on 2 pianos. The numbers haven't been finalized, but for our first attempt. But, after all the expenses, we were able to raise approximately $3000 for Sick Kids Hospital. Sick Kids hospital also was very impressed and asked if we could put together a group to perform in their theatre. I'm still flying from the euphoria of achievement.
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Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Mon May 30, 2005 9:53 am

Beckywy wrote:But, after all the expenses, we were able to raise approximately $3000 for Sick Kids Hospital. Sick Kids hospital also was very impressed and asked if we could put together a group to perform in their theatre. I'm still flying from the euphoria of achievement.

Congratulations!! This was a very successful event indeed. You deserve a lot of credit for seeing it through to such a great conclusion. :cool:
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Postby 65-1074818729 » Mon May 30, 2005 7:03 pm

Congratulations indeed, Beckywy.

It is obvious that you put a lot of effort into this event and I am happy to hear the results were a huge success.

AFlat

:D
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Postby Stretto » Tue May 31, 2005 9:07 am

:cool:
What a wonderful experience for your students it must have been! It is so neat that they were able to use their talent in piano in such a large way. I'm sure being involved in the benefit concert and seeing the results of their contribution is an experience they will never forget. In my own teaching, I have some great ideas I would like to eventually implement that seem like may be 'over my head' and the fact that you made your great idea a reality is an inspiration to me. What a great inspiration to your students to pursue their dreams and ideas as well!
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