It's a pleasant spring evening, and well-dressed people are strolling down streets lined with lamplight and flowers, slowly filtering in through the doors of your church as the orchestra begins to warm up. It's the big night of your concert for charity, and everything is set for a successful fundraiser to the tune of some beautiful music. How did you get here? You're about to find out!
Concerts are an excellent way to raise money for your church or religious organization, especially if your church has some startup funds with which to play. After you've set your goal and gotten some volunteers together to help you with you cause, you'll need (at the least) the following for an event that works:
- A space capable of holding a large number of people comfortably, preferably also having a stage.
- A great band, orchestra, or musical group to play, sing, or perform.
- A way to attract a large number of people.
- Tickets to sell to them.
Many churches have large halls or spaces capable of comfortably seating many people, which is a great option when appropriate. For those that don't, consider renting out a large meeting hall, or, if the weather is nice, an outdoor concert in a grassy field along a river bank. Imagine hundreds of people sitting on the banks of your town's river, listening to a band playing down in the water on a dock or floating stage!
Sometimes, churches affiliate themselves with other indoor and outdoor concerts run by cities or private interests, especially if the churches are raising funds for particular causes that will benefit the community at large. If your church is working toward a goal like building a youth center or helping the homeless, keep this valuable form of networking in mind.
Finding a Band
When choosing a band or performance group for your concert, local musicians are often your best bet. They are more likely to know and care about the community, and are sometimes willing to perform at reduced rates, or even at no charge. Think about the sort of people you'd like to attract to your show - will you be hosting a Christian rock concert for youngsters, an orchestral performance for a crowd a bit older, or is there a group that will appeal to all sorts of audiences...maybe a Beatles cover band? Keeping your audience in mind will help to focus your musical search.
Advertising and word of mouth are the best ways to let people know that your event is coming up. Beginning about a month in advance, print up fliers with all the relevant information people will need (what your event is, who it's for, where and when it will be, what the purpose is, etc.) and begin to post them in local community centers, libraries, performing halls, and anywhere else that you think your intended audience might see them. Strongly consider including a small map on your flier, as well, as this will help to attract more people.
Additionally, be sure to contact your local newspapers in order to have your event advertised in the community calendar, and make telephone calls to area radio stations to see whether you can arrange for public service announcements (PSA's) to be played in the days and weeks leading up to your concert.
When designing your tickets, try to keep them simple and classy. Include the pertinent information people will need to get to your show, the price of the ticket, and your church's logo. Tickets can be sold the night of the show, of course, but also consider a pre-sale ticket drive, possibly at a slightly reduced rate. Distribute tickets to your congregation a few weeks before the concert and have them sell them to family, friends, classmates, and coworkers.
You might also consider personalized invitations to members of the local community, especially those who you think might enjoy themselves and be willing to help a good cause. As best you can, try to target your audience. These are great ways to help ensure a strong turnout on the night of the performance.
Though your costs may be high, a benefit concert can be a great way to help your church raise funds for its chosen cause. With some careful planning and advertising, your event has the potential to be a wonderful success, and something that people in the community will look forward to year after year.