How to raise funds for your church

Guide to Talent Show Fundraisers



drum set
Have you been looking for a great way to draw members of the community to your church while raising some funds for a wonderful cause? Why not host a talent show fundraiser? With a little careful planning, advertisement, and coordination with other forms of fundraising, talent shows can be an excellent choice for churches and religious groups looking to raise moneys.

How Talent Show Fundraisers Work
Talent shows are simple to stage and easy to run, in and of themselves. The simplest form of a talent show works as follows: on the night of the show, prescreened performers play instruments, sing songs, recite poetry, dance, act, or otherwise entertain your audience for five to ten minutes apiece. Those who come to watch the show pay an entrance fee, which is how funds are raised. Though this sounds pretty easy, you'll still want to begin planning your event about two months in advance. We also recommend finding between two and five dedicated volunteers (in addition to your performers) who will be willing to help you with advertising, setup, and cleanup. Below, we'll explore the specifics of running a successful talent show.

Planning a Talent Show Fundraiser
For a great talent show fundraiser, you'll need a performance area of some kind, with suitable seating available for the number of people you expect to attend. Intimate areas like small meeting halls are often best, especially if you don't have audio equipment (like microphones and speakers) available to augment your performers' voices and instruments. Once you find an appropriate space, choose an available date about two months away -- weeknight evenings are often a good bet, as there are few conflicting events to compete with your talent show.

If you choose a larger performance area, consider setting up at least one microphone and PA system with speakers, so your entertainers won't have to shout to make themselves heard. Also think about setting up a small stage, if your hall isn't equipped with one -- small risers are cheap to rent, and do a lot to focus the attention of an audience. Likewise, stage lighting is important for making sure everyone has their eyes on your performers.

When thinking about the general layout of your room, consider a few points -- will you have rows of folding chairs set up? Small tables with candles in the center, as in a coffee house? There are lots of different ways to arrange seating for an event like this, so let your creativity run wild, keeping in mind that your stage and performers should be the focus of your audience's attention.

And, speaking of those performers, how do you get them to come and play your show? This is generally pretty easy, too, with a bit of savvy advertising. About a month and a half before your show, post advertisement fliers for the show, with removable information tabs at the bottom of the page in places you think will attract a good response -- coffee shops, performance centers, and local schools and colleges are likely to garner a good response.

These fliers can double as advertising for the show, as well -- remember to include where and when it will take place, whom it will benefit, and how much you're looking to raise. Also, be sure to see if there are members of your congregation that will be willing to reveal their "hidden talents" for a good cause. You'll be surprised at the things the members of your church can do, and this is a fantastic way to foster a greater sense of community within your laity.

Choose an evening about a week before the day of the talent show to prescreen your performers, making sure that everyone's act is appropriate to your venue. Gather contact information for all the entertainers, making note of their preferred contact method. Then, set the lineup for the show, and call or email your performers with the tentative schedule for the night of the event.

Also, consider how you'd like to collect moneys from your talent show event. Will you collect at the door on the night of the show, or will you sell tickets beforehand through your congregation? The latter option is often a great way to increase your fundraising profits, especially if you've got friendly, motivated volunteers.

The Night of the Show
On the night of the show, you'll need at least two people helping you out -- one will be collecting donations or tickets at the door, and the other will act as your M.C., introducing the various acts as they come to and leave the stage. Be sure to thank everyone for coming, and also to thank anyone who has donated time, equipment, or large sums of money in the interest of making this fundraiser a resounding success.

Talent Shows and Other Fundraisers
Though talent shows can be profitable on their own, many churches choose to coordinate them with other forms of fundraising, using the talent show as a "lure" to bring many people together. Silent auctions, raffles, and bake sales are great things to incorporate into your night of performance.

Written by: Bob Robertson