How to Organize a Benefit Concert in 6 Steps
Live music and fundraising are a match made in heaven—everyone loves a good show when it benefits a great cause. Though not the go-to fundraiser for nonprofits, a benefit concert is a great way to raise money and get the word out about your nonprofit’s mission.
When thinking about charity concerts, the mind leaps to big events of the past, such as Live Aid and 12-12-12: The Concert for Sandy Relief at Madison Square Garden. Their scope and star power were impressive (and maybe intimidating), but don’t let that deter you! A benefit concert can be an excellent fundraiser for a small nonprofit organization or a local cause.
So, if you’d like to try something new that will stir up lots of support along with increased awareness and excitement, read on! We’ll show you the steps to take (and share a few tips on how) to put together a show that will help your nonprofit organization reach its fundraising goals!
Before you start planning your fundraiser in earnest, first decide whether it will be a virtual, live, or hybrid event.
What’s the difference between the three?
Virtual events: These are held entirely online. Ticket sales and ticketing is electronic, check-in is virtual, and the show is livestreamed. You can do lots of things to make a virtual benefit concert an engaging, exciting experience! P.S. Livestreaming with Eventgroove is free for organizers. Learn all about it here.
Live Events: Otherwise known as in-person, these are benefit concerts performed at a venue before an entirely live audience. Ticket sales are online and in person, and often check-in is conducted via a mixture of physical tickets and mobile tickets.
Hybrid events: If virtual events and live events had a baby, this would be the result! Hybrid events have both live and online audiences, enabling more people to attend your benefit concert. More people means more ticket sales, allowing you to develop increased awareness and reach fundraising goals more easily.
Set your benefit concert up for success
Once you’ve decided how people will attend your fundraising event, you’ve got to lay a foundation of support. The best way to do this is to use a fundraising and event management platform built to simplify managing and running a benefit concert. For instance, through Eventgroove, you can:
- Build a branded event page
- Authorize team members to collaborate
- Sell physical and virtual tickets
- Embed a fundraiser on your event page
- Manage check-in via mobile devices
- Promote the event on (and sell tickets through) social media
- Offer text-to-give
- Access donor data, and more.
Plus, Eventgroove is free for organizers. No matter what platform you choose, do not skip this!
6 steps to getting your charity concert started on the right note
1. Resist the fun stuff…at first
Avoid the temptation of diving straightaway into contacting bands. Putting together a benefit concert alone isn’t realistic—what you really need is an excellent group of people to help get everything done. To that end, the dream team you assemble must be those you can count on. So, before you recruit all your friends and family to help out, think carefully about who is a team player, has a can-do attitude, and is unlikely to lose interest in helping. Commitment and enthusiasm are critical!
Pro tip: Reach out to local universities with event management programs and inquire about interns. Just remember, interns are there to learn and add to their resumes. They are not free labor and must be treated fairly. In some cases, this means compensation of some kind.
2. Lock in a venue
Even though you’re dying to organize performers for your benefit concert, knock out the venue first. The artists performing will want to know where and when they’re playing. If you don’t have an answer, it’s unlikely they’ll commit. In addition, not having the venue firmed up makes a less-than-professional impression.
Pro tip: When looking at venues, be realistic about the potential size of your crowd. Of course, it would be amazing to echo Live Aid, fill massive arenas worldwide, and raise $125 million, but the truth is only multiple, big-name recording artists can draw such big crowds! Instead of the local arena, consider event halls, rec centers, local parks (outdoors is certainly more COVID-conscious), bars, or even a local restaurant.
3. Now for the fun part!
Local talent is the way to go. These performers are easier to get in touch with than 21 Pilots, Billie Eilish, or Soup Dragons and usually have a loyal following with whom they’ll enthusiastically share concert details via social media and their websites. That’s a huge help as far as marketing to potential attendees goes!
Instead of a straight concert, many Eventgroove customers go for a battle of the bands format, and it’s a great strategy. A variety of performers means your charity concert will appeal to a larger group of potential attendees, not to mention adding a little competition ups the energy and crowd engagement.
Pro tip: To find emerging talent, start by contacting school and university music departments. You can also look at who has played at area clubs and search around on social media. Reddit can be a great resource—you can posit a question about local bands in your region’s sub-Reddit.
4. Figure out the concert ticket price
Break out Google Sheets and list all your expenses—venue, talent, equipment, refreshments, marketing, setup and breakdown, security, and custom T-shirt printing. Don’t forget to include a little cushion—everything always costs more than you imagine it will, and the unforeseen has a way of being spendy. Finally, include how much you’d like to raise for your cause. Come up with a total, then divide by the number of people you hope will come. That amount will give you an idea of the ticket cost. Remember, at the very least, your concert ticket price should cover overhead. Here’s a handy event ticket price calculator to help.
5. Additional ways to hit your benefit concert’s fundraising target
Enable more people to attend by livestreaming your concert fundraiser. Using Eventgroove, you can create a virtual ticketed event that allows only those with a secure link to livestream your show right within your branded fundraising page. During the livestream, accept donations in real time, run trivia quizzes, and more! Plus, livestreaming with Eventgroove is free for organizers. Learn all about it here.
- Set up a crowdfunding campaign to accept online donations so that people can donate money wherever they are.
- Add an online auction or raffle! They’re a fantastic way to raise more money.
- Souvenirs and concessions are a great way to raise funds, as is organizing sponsorships. You can offer sponsors everything from a shoutout during the show to a logo on the back of printed tickets or displayed on your event page.
6. Charity concert marketing
Despite a cool lineup of musical performances and a great cause, making ticket sales for your charity concert and reaching your fundraising goals isn’t as simple as posting on social media. You’ve got to use every avenue available to get the word out to potential attendees.
- Tell everyone you meet or know about your cause and the charity concert you’re putting on in its support.
- Reach out to local media outlets, chambers of commerce, and community members. Ask everyone on your team, friends, and everyone you have ever known to share the news through their social networks.
- Print posters and flyers, hang them everywhere and ask local businesses and schools in town if you can display them in store and on campus.
- Set up an online donation site (create one using Eventgroove Fundraising—it’s free for organizers!). Mention the web address in all social media posts and add a QR code to your printed marketing materials that will lead to your donation page.
Throw your benefit concert
Ready to get started? Set up your Eventgroove Events account or schedule a demo with our friendly team by clicking the button below. They’ll walk you through our powerful events platform and help you get started creating the benefit concert of your dreams!
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