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Topic: Optimists - Kiwanis - Lions fundraisers
Message: Posted by: Christopher Starr (Jun 8, 2008 02:40PM)
Quick question for anyone here with any fundraising experience: Which community service group have you found to be receptive to working with you on presenting a fundraising magic show?

From what little I know about the Kiwanis, Optimist and Lions clubs, they all claim to be "youth oriented". I'd like to know if any of you have worked directly with one of these community service groups in your area on presenting a show sponsored by them?

Thanks in advance,
Message: Posted by: Leland Stone (Jun 8, 2008 03:26PM)
I've done a good deal of marketing to fraternal clubs in my area, including those you've mentioned. Most of the hits I got were looking for a couple of hours of strolling Magic for a long ways south of $200 ("but it's for charity..."). The bigger clubs used event planners, so I'm redirecting my efforts there.

BTW, the exceptions were the Masons. Never balked at the price, usually booked induction meeting or quarterly banquet shows, and good Heavens, what an appreciative, polite crowd of people. LOVE working for the Masons :)
Message: Posted by: Bradacal (Jun 8, 2008 03:45PM)
Good topic to bring up Chris.

I have done a quite a few shows with the Lions Clubs and also Optimist Clubs. Essentially they don't have a ton of money to buy your show, so what I have done is a commission based show with certain other stipulations and help them raise money for the group by selling tickets to it. Give me a call Chris, I love brainstorming ideas about shows like this.

I think the hardest thing is to capture there attention and getting your information into the hands of the right people.
Message: Posted by: Cliffg37 (Jun 8, 2008 05:16PM)
I am working on Kiwanis now, I'll let you know what happens. So far it looks good, and they do have money to lay out for a fund raiser.
Message: Posted by: RJE (Jun 8, 2008 07:28PM)
I do a lot of fundraisers for these groups, but never directly. Production companies put together the fundraisers and Pat and I work for them, either as an act or as the talent coordinater (booking the acts) or both. I have been doing this for years. The ticket sales are usually done through telemarketing on the charity's behalf.

The production companies have different approaches. One is to guarantee the charity a set amount of money, regardless of ticket sales. The other is to provide the venue, set up and show to the charity for a fee. Either way, the acts get paid their fees.

Hey Michael,

Pat and I will be doing a fundraiser for the Lions at Ottawa Congress Hall in August. We also do the Optimists shows there. I imagine we are working for the same Ottawa agent on these ;) a Mr. T.L.?

All the best,

Message: Posted by: Bradacal (Jun 8, 2008 08:07PM)
Hey Rob,

I PM'd and emailed you.

Talk to you soon.
Message: Posted by: Mindpro (Jun 9, 2008 08:17AM)
I too have for several years tried working with the groups mentioned above to find very positive and enthusiastic interest, but unfortunately no funds or willingness to take the risk of paying my fee for the performances. I had previously (years ago) tried a percentage-based Fundraising Program but found it to be too risky and that they (the hosting group) could not be counted on for the proper promotion to my standards or expectations in order to produce the results and income needed for me to deem it successful.

I too am interested in any ideas or feedback pertainig to this topic of Fundraisers. I have had absolutely no luck or positive results in working with event planners for fundraisers.

There is still that very primitive and shallow mentality that because it is a Fundraiser that our services are expected to be donated or greatly reduced in price to a hosting organization. I feel this is still one of the major obstacles to overcome when dealing with these social clubs or fraternal groups.

Message: Posted by: RJE (Jun 9, 2008 09:04AM)
As simple and as it might sound, the key to being successful in this area is ticket sales.

The service clubs realize after generations of fundraising that selling a product takes a lot of work and sometimes the payoff is not worth it. They also realize that a magic (or variety) show is just not all that appealing in many markets.

Let's face it, if we were in such high demand by the general public, then why wouldn't we all invest in some slick promo and then create a national theatre circuit to perform on. The reason, because the public isn't going to support it.

For the larger, theatre shows, the service clubs most often rely on the production companies to provide the sales for them. The production companies do all the sales work. It is what they do. They have the staff and technology for selling. They will also hire the talent. It may be one act doing 90 minutes or 3 or 4 acts (including a magician or two)doing a variety show or some other format. Large illusion shows and smaller acts seek them out for employment.

For smaller shows, for groups like schools, sports teams etc..., there you have a much more realistic opportunity to get directly involved. Here you can market and sell your services for the benefit of the group, the audience and yourself. Still, you have to know how to approach these groups and what to offer.

Pat and I have been involved in fundraisers at all points of the spectrum. We put together shows for large theatres to bars. Some shows are for families, some strictly adults. Some venues hold a couple of hundred some a couple of thousand. Sometimes we put the shows on ourselves, and sometimes we hire talent. All of the shows are geared to help the group raise money and to be entertaining to the target audience.

What it comes down to, is not which group is the most receptive to your ideas, it is you knowing what each group's needs are and then offering them a comprehensive solution to meeting those needs. Keep it realistic. Give them options. Explain that it will take some effort on their part and sell yourself and your plan.

All the best,

Message: Posted by: Christopher Starr (Jun 9, 2008 11:29AM)
Thanks Rob for your comments. Good common sense approach. I wish that like you, I could simply work with a promoter for a fee and leave the rest of the real work to him!

I was searching for anyone's experience with a civic group that seemed to be receptive to the idea of a fundraising magic show. I am mostly interested in promoting the idea in smaller towns in my area which do not have the entertainment opportunities that larger communities offer. I thought maybe that someone who had tried this could steer me towards one group over another.

But to be successful, one has to find a group that is both organized, motivated and committed to working the project. Sadly, I believe that they have "easier" methods of fundraising that do not require this much effort.

But I am hopeful!

Message: Posted by: RJE (Jun 9, 2008 12:54PM)
Hi Christopher,

We also do the direct approach like you are inquiring about. You need to put together a package that explains how they are going to make money off of your show or idea. Your plan has to be realistic in both its explantion and execution. This can often make them more receptive.

The service groups themselves though may not be all that interested as you have already pointed out if you go to them with strictly a show. Their numbers are dwindling and they are having problems recruiting younger members in many communities to replace their aging membership. They often are not in a position to dedicate the people power and effort as you have already identified as a problem but it doesn't mean they won't listen to you.

All the best,