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itsmagic
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middle earth
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What are the pros and cons of doing free shows for charities?

How do you gently turn the charity opportunity down?
Dannydoyle
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Eternal Order
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You can always be too busy.

As for the pros and cons it really has been discussed ad nausium. If you search for it I am sure you will find more arguements on each side than you can possibly read in a month. Pretty much sums it up for you
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Bob Sanders
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Magic Valley Ranch, Clanton, Alabama
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Remember that fundraising is a regular business. Some charities uses agents and pay as much as $400,000/year for event planners (Marketing managers)! Don't be fooled by names like "Area Director", "Avocate", "Regional Planner", "Director of Planned Giving", etc. Those are hired guns. They also work with agents.

Take a look at:

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......;forum=5


Yes, Lucy and I do a large number of "contributed" shows too. But don't confuse a "Charitable Business" with "free". The more professional the "event planner" the better the publicity too! After all, they are professionals at it. Many are very succcessful MBAs. I'm an old university professor who taught MBAs marketing the not-for-profits.

It would be unfair not to end with a wonderful fact of the entertainment industry. One of the real marks of a true professional entertainer is that in a true situation of need, the first thing he offers is himself.

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Bob Sanders

Magic By Sander / The Amazed Wiz

AmazedWiz@Yahoo.com
Al Angello
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Collegeville, Pa. USA
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I always say that I will try to make it unless I get offered a paying job, then I will be forced to take the other offer. I find this firmly puts the ball in their court. If they pay the caterer, the hall rental, and the band then they are just taking you for a ride. Quite often entertainment is an after thought, so forceing them to worry about you makes them take you seriously.
Al Angello
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
http://www.juggleral.com
http://home.comcast.net/~juggleral/
"Footprints on your ceiling are almost gone"
impossible man
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How about this one? A charity wanted me to donate a show they could auction-meaning I could be called on at any time. Another magician kindly referred them to me in lieu of donating anything himself. I told them I'd donate a copy of my book, but that didn't go over too well.

My strategy is going to be - pick one or two charities, go to them with offers of assistance, then I have grounds to say that I am committed to some charities when others call.
Dean Gilbert
Impossible Man
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Al Angello
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My strategy is, only volunteer for causes you believe in, because they will all treat you like dirt, and if you believe in the charity first, you won't mind them not appreciating you.
Al Angello
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
http://www.juggleral.com
http://home.comcast.net/~juggleral/
"Footprints on your ceiling are almost gone"
Dannydoyle
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The thing is as Bob said, fund raising is a BIG BUSINESS.

In general the only one at the event NOT making money is the entertainment. Unless I go.

IF I choose to donate, I do it like Al. BUT I always get my full fee. THEN I donate the check back to the event.

Does 2 things. It gets your price out there as other than free, and is deductable.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
RobertBloor
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The one thing a fundraiser NEVER wants to say outloud is that it TAKES money to MAKE money.

I used to perform for a fundraiser night at our local zoo. Three years in a row.
Every year after the event I got a nice thank you note. It let me know how much they appreciated me "donating" my show, and that "my efforts" helping them to raise more than $25,000 for the zoo society.

$25,000.00?
In one night?

And yet somehow they "just didn't have the money to pay my fee."

And yet somehow, the vendors got to sell food and make money.
The crappy "featured act" band got paid.
And I know the event planners are salaried at least $30,000.00/year here.

All that money and they can't "afford to pay me."

Combine that with...
The last time I did there event, I had it spelled out what I was going to do for them. I brought in my own sound system, did my show to a packed house.

Then as I'm cleaning my magic up I hear someone on the microphone. Apparently the "next act" was going on. Using my sound system. My microphone. My equipment.

I never agreed to that. Nor was I ever told.

I had one other set to do outside the theatre that evening. I refused to do it until I had all of my equipment back.

They got ****ed off and never called me back. That's fine. In the long run it was a costly lesson for me.

Lesson learned: (say it with me) I HAVE VALUE.

No more free work.

Robert
"That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government,"
-The Declaration of Independence
nucinud
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You can not count on doing free shows to get you paying gigs.
If you want to do a free show, do it because you believe in the charity.
Or you can do the show for a reduced fee.
If you get into the position where they want to auction your services, this is what I do. I give them a gift certificate for a half hour show. I also put an expiration date (usually no more than 90 days from the event). The gift certificate states that my services are subject to my availability. And if they want to hire me for more than the half hour, it will charged at a regular rate.
I learned the hard way if you don't put restrictions on the certificate, you will be taken advantage of.
"We are what we pretend to be" Kurt Vonnegut, jr.



Now U C It Now U Don't

Harry Mandel

www.mandelmagic.com
mota
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Has anyone here actually got shows from charity event? My experience has been free shows make more requests for free shows. It also wrecks your pricing...once you do it free everyone wants it free.

Anyone here have a different experience?
Paddy
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Milford OH
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Quote:
On 2006-12-14 14:00, mota wrote:
Has anyone here actually got shows from charity event? My experience has been free shows make more requests for free shows. It also wrecks your pricing...once you do it free everyone wants it free.

Anyone here have a different experience?


No, that has been my experience. The only thing a free show gets you is more free shows. If I am asked to donate a show and they tell me about "all the publicity you will get!" The first thing I do is triple my usual price but then "because you are a chritable organization, I'll do it for half of that."

There is one organization that I will do anything for and there is no charge from me, in fact I have turned down a paid gig just to do a party for them. That is "Make A Wish Foundation." Those parties are the hardest things I have done, but they are worth it. They are hard because you know that the child hsas a very short time left to live, but to make them and their parents happy and to see them laugh is worth more than any amount of money I have ever made.

Peter
Non Impediti Ratione Cogitationis

I reject your reality & substitute my own

http://www.Scho-Lan.com
Dannydoyle
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Mota, my experience is the same, which is why I take my whole fee and donate it if I believe in the cause.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Doug Arden
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In my experience, free or cheap shows will only get you more free or cheap shows.

As Danny does, I charge my regular rate and then donate all or a portion of it back to the charity, if I feel the overwhelming urge to do so.

Peter, I like your idea of tripling the fee and giving half back. I must try that.
Bob Sanders
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The idea of charging and then signing the check over is a very old and common one. But remember, rule #1 is "If anybody gets paid, I do too."

Whatever your policy, until you know what it is, no one else will know either. There is nothing to keep you from changing it, but changing it may be an admission that there is no policy. Only you can enforce it.

It's your show!

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Bob Sanders

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disgruntledpuffin
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i have nothing to say about my
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Can I add a personal question to this?

I'm 17 years old and would love to become a pro. I know my act is good, but I'm looking to get some experience of performing for a real live audience, to pay my dues, so to speak, and iron out any wrinkles in my show. At the moment, I'm not doing this for the money, just for the education. Would shows for charity organisations be a good idea?


Jack
Christopher Starr
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Heart of America
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Great opinions here!

Al Angello:
"...only volunteer for causes you believe in, because they will all treat you like ****, and if you believe in the charity first, you won't mind them not appreciating you."

RobertBloor:
"Lesson learned: (say it with me) I HAVE VALUE."

MOTA:
"My experience has been free shows make more requests for free shows."

Bob Sanders:
"If anybody gets paid, I do too."



As for myself, I rarely do charity shows for the above reasons. I'll only consider doing so for 2 reasons:

1. I really believe in the charity (that leaves almost all of them out).

2. The potential media coverage, photo op, etc. is too good to pass up; in other words, a very HIGH Profile event.

Chris
Bob Sanders
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Magic Valley Ranch, Clanton, Alabama
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Jack,

There is always a need. By all means, do perform. However, my suggestion is to do your charity shows for those who either would not be entertained otherwise or did not buy a ticket. Then you know you aren't just being used.

Lucy and I try to do free shows for nursing homes wherever we are performing anyway. These people seldom get to leave their building. They are no threat to ticket sales. We were really touched by the results of one in upstate New York in 2005. One of the residents reacted by moving his arms and face to the music. It was the first time in many years he had expressed any awareness at all of anything going on. Sometimes the magic isn't on stage. But it's nice to know you were there to enjoy the magic.

Another reason for doing true charity work is that the quality of other volunteers will often shock you. They will pay someone to drive their car, lay out their clothes, and send birthday cards, but spend a day a week personally helping a total stranger make a phone call, write a letter, sew on a button, or read a magazine article. There some really fine people out there. They will be watching you too, and they know who to know!

I'm sure that you've heard it before: People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. Doing charity work is certainly an audition. It will do a lot for "wrinkles".

Good Luck!

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Bob Sanders

Magic By Sander / The Amazed Wiz

AmazedWiz@Yahoo.com
SpellbinderEntertainment
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The one line we all hear, or you WILL hear in time, is:

“We can’t pay you, BUT you’ll get lots of exposure and lots of jobs from it.”

If you buy this one, you probably also believe in the tooth-fairy. You will never get solid paid gigs from doing free “charity” gigs.

There are (just a few) causes I personally believe in and WISH to support. I generally approach them, and offer my show in lieu or in addition to giving.

These causes are few, but I’ll bend over backwards for something close to my heart.

I’ve often had them ready to book a show, then add:

“Oh, by the way, this is a Charity event. Can you give us a lower rate???”

I don’t care for being snuck up on and bushwhacked...so, at this point, I say something close to:

“Oh! You’re a non-profit! Well, you have less overhead and bring in tax-free donations, so my rates for this type of show are one-third MORE than what I originally quoted you. If you’d told me right away this was the case, I would not have made that error.”

This usually astounds the “fundraiser”, and hopefully teaches a little lesson as well. And I personally know professional fundraisers who make over 100K per-year,
and so obviously don’t give THEIR expertise away to charity for free either.

I know this may sound harsh, but as I said, if it’s “my choice” or “my chosen cause” you get everything I’ve got to give.

And, please, don’t EVER do a free show because you EXPECT to get lots of publicity or gigs as a result. Do it from the heart, or not at all.

Last year, as an experiment, I had the charity include a coupon in the program. It offered, for ANY gig booked as a result of their show...
-I would take $200 off the price of the show they booked,
-AND I would donate another $200 to the original charity,
as long as it was booked within six-months of the fundraising event I did.

Not ONE of those coupons was redeemed during those six-months in 2006.

Magically,
Walt

Quote:
Posted: Jan 13, 2007 7:43pm by Bob Sanders:
Lucy and I try to do free shows for nursing homes wherever we are performing anyway.
These people seldom get to leave their building.


It’s great to give substantially-reduced cost shows to nursing homes or retirement homes, and it is true these folks need all the divertissements and kindness they can have. However, most performers do not know that by Federal Government mandate, ALL such care facilities MUST have a set budget for entertainment, or they will not be entitled to their federal funding.

They therefore must bring in entertainment and activities for their guests or patients (who have either paid out-of-pocket dearly to be housed or are there by Government Medicare if they don’t have funds).

These mandated budgets are what allows them to pay for magicians, etc. It’s not a great deal, but these are gratifying shows to do.

However, either those funds are going to someone else or being kicked back by some less reputable homes, so do not feel bad about charging as a professional entertainer when bringing in this needed service.

What I’ve done in the past is taken the fee from the show, and used it to purchase small stuffed teddy-bears. These are then given to the residents and patients at my next show and can bring great comfort to some lonely people.

So take the fee, but also give something back.

My two-cents,
Walt
“Tales of Enchantment: The Art of Magic”
by Walt Anthony
www.LeapingLizardsMagic.com

"spinning tales and weaving enchantment"
Al Angello
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Collegeville, Pa. USA
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SpellbinderEntertainment,
There is an old juggling expression, Eskimo's and jugglers know that "you can die from exposure". Jugglers call it the "E" word.
Al Angello
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
http://www.juggleral.com
http://home.comcast.net/~juggleral/
"Footprints on your ceiling are almost gone"
SpellbinderEntertainment
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Al, maybe I'm thick, but I just don't get your quote or metaphor?
Sorry,
Walt
“Tales of Enchantment: The Art of Magic”
by Walt Anthony
www.LeapingLizardsMagic.com

"spinning tales and weaving enchantment"
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