Over the years Music Celebrations International has worked on thousands of performance tours, for most of which fundraising was a large component for the musical group. The following is very basic fundraising advice that MCI would give any group looking to raise money for a performance tour, especially groups just starting their fundraising traditions.
1. If you don’t have a Booster Organization, form one! This lets you, the director, concentrate on what’s important, the directing. If numbers and circumstances allow, designate sub-committees to address specific needs. For example, have a chair person head group fundraising, one to solicit community or corporate support, one assigned as the trip chairman, etc. Specialization often best utilizes a committee.
2. Annually ASSESS THE UNIQUE RESOURCES of your group, with regard to both students, performers and their families. Encourage boosters to know who does what…. Capitalize on ‘in-house’ talent and connections when it comes to goods and services as it relates to fundraising. This can be invaluable! We continually ask directors what fundraisers work best for them and invariably, they respond with ideas where parents and a supportive community are primary factors. For example, one group contracted with an area golf course (owned by a friend of a band parent) to co-sponsor a tournament, which received a tremendous response. Another was able to sell gift certificates for a video store (owned by a choir parent) and keep $5.00 of every $20.00 certificate sold. One booster parent was an amateur photographer and helped set up a very successful fundraiser for photos with Santa and ‘Glamour Shots,’ while another parent who worked for a local discount store helped students set up a gift wrap booth for Christmas. If you’re aware of your group’s resources, you can come up with all kinds of great ideas.
3. COMBINE FUNDRAISERS! Organize a nice, dress-up dinner show with an after dinner raffle (Raffle off a weekend getaway or a luxury item, again using community or booster resources!) or have a “servant” auction (with professional auctioneer), after a fun ice cream social.
4. Get as many GOODS AND SERVICES DONATED as possible! Again, don’t be afraid to ask for help… These things tend to be mutually beneficial as businesses are often rewarded for their good-will and generosity with increased sales! You might offer to advertise for them in a newsletter or acknowledge them publicly at a large concert or function.
5. Remember that SEASONAL PROJECTS usually work well. People often respond positively to goods or services related to some special occasion like Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas or Valentines Day.
6. Establish some FUND RAISING TRADITIONS. Over the years, we’ve all had directors tell us repeatedly that traditional annual fundraisers are very successful because people have come to know and expect them. For example, one school choir has been hosting an annual Renaissance Festival for about eight years, and has gradually collected sets, costumes, etc. and generated tremendous community participation. Another school hosts an annual carnival while another an annual golf tournament. Traditions can take time to develop but often yield tremendous rewards.
7. Remember how important GROUP VISIBILITY can be, as you compete for time, energy, money and general commitment from the school and the community. Use every opportunity to promote your program to the public. Keep everyone informed. Announce your performances well in advance in as many places as possible.