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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The tricks are on me! » » Free Charity Work-Dont Do It (4 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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griffindance
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If you are looking to make a living through magic then accepting 'exposure' gigs are a waste of time. You only get exposed to people who will ask for more 'exposure' pay (Free).

I try to keep a policy of "charity events may get a 20% reduction." If the charity want professional standards then they can pay for it. So the 20% is my voluntary gift.
There is that warm glow feeling when you can do something for someone/group that you feel deserves your time and skills. Donating yourself is a wonderful altruistic gift but the moment someone expects it of you is the moment you are being taken advantage of.

As for being double booked, you need to think about your reputation. First in bookers should get priority. It doesn't matter which client but the first to give a confirmation gets your show. Cancelling a gig because you have a better offer doesn't encourage to client to call you back for their next event. They cant be certain if you might cancel again. However a client may call you for a subsequent event if you are already working.
Countage
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Charlotte
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Since I make a living as an entertainer. I normally choose to not offer service for free. I have my own cause to support my wife and four kids. However if I were to win the lottery or come into a ton of my money where I was financially independent I probably would offer my services to certain charities for free. When I am approached by charitable and or non for profit organizations that are looking for services donated to their cause I offer a few options.

1. Small cash donation. Which is tax deductible
2. A discount on multiple hours or my premium show
3. Suggest that they find sponsorship to fund my show.
4 Suggest another entertainer that my be new to the biz and looking for an opportunity to perform

I do make sure that I am pleasant to deal with and helpful so when there is a budget for entertainment they will keep me in mind.
MRSharpe
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Never a dull moment with
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If you are a pro, one way of working free or at a discount for charities is first of all explain that you only donate performance time for true charities. Every other organization which may be partially not for profit because the group does some charitable work doesn't count. Often, they will use the excuse of being a 'charity' to get free entertainment when the event they are requesting help with is a social gathering which does not directly benefit from the event or, worse, a fundraiser to help build up their organizations coffers. Decide on how much time you wish to donate per year, I use 5% of my net business, start a list when you first get calls, and you will get them, and add organizations to the bottom of the list. Groups that want to encourage you to select them for a charity pro bono performance will be more likely to hire you for social events in the meantime.
Custom Props Designer and Fabricator as well as Performer from Indiana, USA
StarkRavingMatt
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Like the old classic of responding to a charity gig request by asking them to write you a letter describing the need, the charity and why they are deserving of your time so you can weigh it against other charity requests.

If they don't put in the time to do it, and most won't, they don't value your time. If they do... think about it, because you have already earned some mutual respect that might bloom into something. (I want to credit this idea, but I can't remember who I heard it from. Anyone?)

The other issue is that charity gigs are great place for up and coming magicians to cut their teeth. That may be a gig you are stealing from someone who is working towards professionalism.
wnewhouse
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Bingo, Adam!

My approach is this.

DO: Free shows as a charitable gift to organizations I have chosen to approach because I believe in them. The Chrysalis shelter for victims of domestic abuse is one such organization. Their residents need an opportunity to smile and laugh and just forget for a little while why they are there.

DON'T: Free shows for organizations that approach me asking for a freebie.
Bill Newhouse
'A reasonably remarkable presenter of extraordinarily mundane miracles.'
jcrabtree2007
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Quote:
On 2013-07-27 18:10, wnewhouse wrote:
Bingo, Adam!

My approach is this.

DO: Free shows as a charitable gift to organizations I have chosen to approach because I believe in them. The Chrysalis shelter for victims of domestic abuse is one such organization. Their residents need an opportunity to smile and laugh and just forget for a little while why they are there.

DON'T: Free shows for organizations that approach me asking for a freebie.


Yeah- and don't do Free Shows for the people who find out you just did a free show for your Charity Organization.
Emanuel Chester
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Money-wise: if you're playing for free, you aren't just out 1 payment... you're also out the opportunity to play elsewhere, paid. So you're actually out 2x your normal pay. Are you willing to donate that much? Because that's what you should be asking.
Renaissance Man ~ I am interested in a lot, I can do a lot, I have done a lot. Not all equally well, and there's still a lot more for me to explore.
cliffd
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This that is full of great advice. I'm just trying to get started doing kid/family shows and I wonder if the advice is different for a relative beginner. Would the extra practice performing for an audience outweigh the risks mentioned above? Or has someone had the experience that it started them out on the wrong path financially. I have been thinking I'd like to do a few free shows to work out the kinks before taking money. Any thoughts?
jcrabtree2007
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I think that's a good idea. Consider it practice.
I'm a full time RN. The nursing students and paramedic students have to put in preceptored hours after they finish school and before they take boards and start making $$$. This time is used to get out the kinks. (They work under an RN. No pay. Clinical hours ).
Consider it a preceptorship- the more shows you do- the better you will be.
My first magic show - I should have paid the audience.
Plenty of places will be happy for you to volunteer your time.
cliffd
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Thanks. My first show was my daughter's 7th birthday party for about 15 kids. I only didn't feel ripped off because I didn't charge myself. Smile But I definitely learned alot.
magiccat
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I'm doing a church event for free because I am a new magician and I just want to perform.
BillyRobertReid
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Some really interesting points discussed on this thread! I used to do charity gigs for free but now I charge my "charity" fee - basically 25% off my usual fee. Most of the time they still book because they're getting a discount, but I can totally appreciate why some people do these gigs for free whilst others charge full whack.
I guess it just depends on what you want to achieve with your magic...
Ed_Millis
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Quote:
I guess it just depends on what you want to achieve with your magic...

Not entirely .... it also depends on your view of yourself, the organization wanting the free work, what else you might out of it (experience, connections, testimonial, video, etc), and other factors.

Your comment almost sounds like "you'll do free magic if you feel you're worth nothing." I'm doing several hours of free magic tomorrow because:
-- it's for an organization I greatly value
-- I will make some valuable contacts
-- I have solid anticipation of paid gigs in the future
-- testimonials from these people are golden!

That's all worth it to me. Oh, and all this began from a free gig.

Ed
thementalcoach
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I REALLY like it, thanks for sharing it!

Quote:
On 2013-07-25 18:26, StarkRavingMatt wrote:
Like the old classic of responding to a charity gig request by asking them to write you a letter describing the need, the charity and why they are deserving of your time so you can weigh it against other charity requests.
David Kenward - The Mental Coach
Clinical Hypnosis
Magic, Mentalism and the Bizarre
Sacramento, California
http://thementalcoach.com
RajeshLGov
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India
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I feel Countage is voicing most of my views. If you want to do charity write a cheque Smile Most of the Events for charities are funded by sponsors, so why should you not be paid??? Infact charities these days are hiring us professionals to get more charities(SPONSORS). If you want to do anything for free do it for the kids at the shelters, senior citizens in the homes for the aged etc. For doing this you need not forgo your paying gig. When you know you are not booked for monday, then you can always walk in to any of these places by giving a call-spend sometime & return "WITH WHAT MONEY CANNOT BUY". This is charity too. Events conducted by Charities is not a place to work for free...Best Wishes, Raj.
CutTheDeck
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Quote:
Volunteering is not about the money!


Exactly!
bluemagic
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It good place for a magician starting out.
LeoH
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I select 2 charities a year to perform for gratis, "Make A Wish" and a local one called "Arts for Life". At others,if we can make it work, we make an "appearance" at their event, not to do a full show, but a small portion, maybe 10 - 15 minutes. We are still building the goodwill with people, but do not feel we are "cheapening" our value, and only do this for those programs that are truly charities where everything is donated.

If they have a budget to hire a band/DJ and cater the meal, then they can pay for me, too.
MRSharpe
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I posted in this thread 8 months ago and have something else to add. There is nothing wrong with volunteering when you are starting out so you can "earn your spurs" with the goal of charging for performances. However, please don't volunteer for shows when pros are involved. I guess if your church, lodge, or other organization is planning on having an even and you want to volunteer to do your new act for them then that's OK. But even under those circumstances, don't spread the word that you work for free or cheap and DO JUS AS GOOD A JOB as the pros in your area. Once you are as good and start competing on an even footing you will empathize with this position.
Another point is that if you are a hobbyist pure and simple and make your living in a small business, consider donating your business time in what your vocation is for charities and not your avocation. Your heart is in the right place, but just go ahead and volunteer your services or products with which you are trying to make a living and you will understand the pro's point of view on hobbyists offering free services. And again, don't claim that you DO JUST AS GOOD A JOB as a pro.
Custom Props Designer and Fabricator as well as Performer from Indiana, USA
ihave
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Anyone who wants a donation nowdays I tell them contact Obama, I've already contributed to "charity" via taxes.
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