We Remember The Magic Café We Remember
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » Charity Response? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Joey Evans
View Profile
Special user
Fort Myers, FL
534 Posts

Profile of Joey Evans
We get a lot of requests to do events for charities that ask us to donate their time. Many times they are big enough to pay us and they do, but other times they are smaller and can't. In any event, we don't do these charities for free, can only give a charity discount depending on the time slot. We do, however, perform and donate our time to charities, but we decided a while back to pick our own charities. This has worked for us as we do these charities not for the publicity, but to give back. When we do get contacted by a charity, if it's a worthwhile event, we may schedule it for the following year.

However, as any full time performers know, you could be doing free charity events every week, but you would go bankrupt doing this. There's always the saying on the airplane to put the oxygen mask on yourself before you assist the child. The thinking behind it is if you go bankrupt and can't survive, you won't be any help for anyone.

Anyhow, I guess I wanted to know what your responses are to charities. Many of the ones that contact us sound like they are for great causes, but again, we can't give our time away. We provide charity discounts, but that's as far as we can go. I guess I wanted to see how many of you respond to these requests. My heart goes out for these organizations and their causes, but we have to run a business as well. How do you guys respond to these requests?
The Visual Comedy and Magic of Joey Evans

http://www.Evansmagic.com/



The Impossible Has Never Been So Funny!
Kevin Ridgeway
View Profile
V.I.P.
Indianapolis, IN & Phoenix, AZ
1830 Posts

Profile of Kevin Ridgeway
For us, we give our time, money & energy to causes that mean something to us. Of course we have to limit it as you mention. Basically it's us giving our personal time, but using our profession.

My main issue is that one truly give from their heart and soul and not 'use' the charity to work on material, build a resume or put themselves in front of an audience that they couldn't get on their own. That isn't giving, that's using. So be honest with yourself when dealing with time & energy you may be giving to a charity.
Living Illusions
Ridgeway & Johnson Entertainment Inc

Kevin Ridgeway &
Kristen Johnson aka Lady Houdini
The World's Premier Female Escape Artist

www.LadyHoudini.com

www.livingillusions.com
charliecheckers
View Profile
Inner circle
1969 Posts

Profile of charliecheckers
I have to disagree with Living Illusions on the idea of placing limits on the performance for charity. I agree that one should put their heart and soul into the performance, however the notion that the opportunity not be used to work on material I think is a bit too far in the idealistic direction. Many who contribute to organizations such as Habitat for Humanity do so in hopes to gain skills in building while donating time and a certain level of skill. I do a number of charity events and have used the opportunity to move things around in the show or introduce new effects. I view it as a win/win. The looks on the audiences faces is all I need to see to know what I have done for them is genuine and appreciated.
misterillusion
View Profile
Special user
Roseville, California
699 Posts

Profile of misterillusion
I have done quite a few charities at no charge, but that was when I was performing part-time and had a day job for my primary income. My thinking was that I would be able to "prospect" people at the event in order to create revenue generating gigs. Of all the free shows I have done, I can only think of a couple of paid gigs I got from the freebees.

I have been full-time for the past four years and my response to free shows is very different now. My response now is to attempt to sell the prospect on a paid show. If they persist in wanting a free show, I explain that I do not do free shows, however, I will perform at their event under the following provisions: 1. I will be compensated for my base cost & travel (about half of my normal fee perhaps), 2. I also stipulate that if another full-pay client wants to book me on the date of their free event, I will be unable to appear at the free event so that I can take the full-pay client, 3. I request exposure in all the advertising and promotions the charity is conducting. I seldom get takers with these stipulations, but it does happen on occasion. It sure beats doing a freebee.

The church I attend asks me to do performances on occasion like vacation Bible school etc., and I do these for free, but that is about it.

That's been my approach. I hope it gives you some "food for thought"
Charlie
May every day be magic!

http://www.misterillusion.com
sb
View Profile
Special user
567 Posts

Profile of sb
A few years ago, I read a great post here on the Café' about charity. I believe it was from Dean Hankey. I use this as my guidelines for charity performances now.

If anyone else is getting paid, we will charge as well. I will then sometimes donate the fee to the charity, but I do that at my own discretion.

By "anyone else", I mean everyone. If the venue is being paid, or the caterers are being paid for their food, or the newspaper is being paid for its ads, or the DJ is being paid... etc.... none of those services are worth any more than my services and my time, so if they are getting paid for their services, I will as well.
Kevin Ridgeway
View Profile
V.I.P.
Indianapolis, IN & Phoenix, AZ
1830 Posts

Profile of Kevin Ridgeway
I think anything to an extreme would be bad. So to say no working on any new material is a stretch. But you should definitely be giving them some 'A' material. My underlying point was the reasoning behind doing charity work. If you heart isn't in it and your ONLY doing it to get experience, like many magic marketing gurus highly encourage, then you're not really doing charity work.
Living Illusions
Ridgeway & Johnson Entertainment Inc

Kevin Ridgeway &
Kristen Johnson aka Lady Houdini
The World's Premier Female Escape Artist

www.LadyHoudini.com

www.livingillusions.com
TheDean
View Profile
Inner circle
Reno, Nevada
2164 Posts

Profile of TheDean
I am a Huuuge fan of serving charities "for the right reasons". And if you choose to serve, serve WELL and with excellence.

Dean

- Sent from my mobile device
Dean Hankey, *M.D. - The Dean of Success Solutions!
Serving & Supporting YOU and Your Success!
"Book More Shows... Make More Money... SERVE MORE PEOPLE! - Not Necessarily In That Order…"

(*Marketing Doctor) Smile
Decomposed
View Profile
Eternal Order
High Desert
11989 Posts

Profile of Decomposed
It seems I get all the charity calls at the same time. And they have the same pitch, we are nonfunded and looking for great entertainers to donate their time.
Or, it is a fantastic opportunity for me to showcase and advertise. Years ago I did this and never got one booking from them. The calls I did get was for more cheap performances.

I personally like to choose my own charities also, and discounted fees for the rest I see no problem with. They have sponsers, even schools have fundraisers these days since they are hurting where I live. I only do one middle school mentalism show annually and thought they would ditch me but found out they use fundraiser money.
charliecheckers
View Profile
Inner circle
1969 Posts

Profile of charliecheckers
Living Illusions - Point well taken. I think we are in agreement then. I also do not know why some here (on TMC) seem to take great pride in not doing charity shows. I completely understand not being in a position to contribute due to schedule or finances, but I don't think it is something one should boast about. I do however, take steps to ensure that when I offer to perform for charity, that my performance is treated with the same respect I would expect if they paid for it. This ensures that the audience receives what I am offering and that it is enjoyed the same way a paying audience would see it. Although it is not my purpose, I often will get shows for larger events. For example, I did a show at a "Walk for Diabetes" because my little sister has Type 1 Diabetes. There were several hundred in the audience and I booked 5 shows since the performance in late June. I have done shows for the nursing homes (where my grandmother resides) and homeless shelter and received no bookings (as expected). I will book those shows next year without hesitation.
MuleePete
View Profile
Loyal user
272 Posts

Profile of MuleePete
When asked to do charity or low pay gigs, I am invariably told "This will be great exposure for you."

Problem is you can die from exposure. I too, carefuly consider the charitys I want to support. The area I live in has a built in mentality about needing to "give back to the comunity".

In the end, I am trying to feed my family just like the plummer, lawyer, tire installer or what ever. My skills are as specialized as theirs, and not considered something of less value because it is entertainment.

Sometimes this drives me nuts. (Short trip)

Pete
TheGreatNancini
View Profile
Veteran user
Ohio
373 Posts

Profile of TheGreatNancini
Ever since we launched Shizzle Dizzle Magic full time we have been asked to do charity events several times a week.

Not wanting to be considered uncaring, Matthew and I decided we would start telling people calling for charitable events that we will take applications on our website during the month of January (Our slower time) and then we will select two charitable events for the year based on the information provided on the application.

It turns out that this works fantastic as it greatly reduces the number of requests because filling out an application that requires a short paragraph to be written detailing why their charity should get a free show is just not worth most peoples time.

This makes us feel much better as we consider donating our time to a couple of very deserving charities.
-- Nancilee N. Jones --
Website | Facebook | Twitter
iwillfoolu
View Profile
Special user
Upstate NY, USA
746 Posts

Profile of iwillfoolu
I think it's important to give back to the community/pay it forward so I do a few charity events every year. I do have some requirements though:

It has to be a charity that I "believe" in. I want to do some good, not make some money for a scammer.

The event has to be in my area (or they have to at least pay travel). I am not driving 6 hours round trip on my dime.

If someone else is getting paid, so am I.

I absolutely will not pay to get in the door.

Timing is everything. If I get a call six months in advance, I let them know that if a paying gig comes in, I'm going to have to do that instead. This is a business and how I make my living.

I let them know I expect to be treated better than at a paid performance (close parking, protection from the elements, someone to keep the kids under control while I set up, etc). I have done a few events where they wanted me to park in Antarctica or shove me in a dark corner next to a clown AND a DJ. No thanks.

I feel donating my time should be a positive enjoyable experience for everyone. If they can't deal with my requirements for donating my time, or if I get a bad vibe, I simply say "I'm not interested".
Magician and Balloon Twister
New York Magicians
Magician New York
David Thiel
View Profile
Inner circle
Western Canada...where all that oil is
3899 Posts

Profile of David Thiel
I have two charities I work with because I chose them. I don't have any expectations of getting additional work...nor have I been surprised when nothing came of it. These two I do because I WANT to.

But requests still come in. First: I ask if anyone else is being paid -- which is a great guideline. Second: I will ask the person to send me a communication directly about how I would fit into their event plan. This prevents them from sending me the form letter and actually requires them to do something -- which, realistically is a fraction of what they are asking me to do.

I've found that a good 75% of these people that I ask for personal material just fade away and I never hear from them again.

The remaining 25% are still in the game and I'll often offer them a discount and VERY occasionally a free show if it's something I could really get behind. The hard fact is that if you make your living doing this, that the charities can bleed you dry if you let them. If you fail to respect yourself as a performer, they will not respect you. Your time is a gift.

As for "valuable exposure?" The Franklin party died of exposure. Smile

David
Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except bears. Bears will kill you.


www.MindGemsBrainTrust.com
www.magicpendulums.com
www.MidnightMagicAndMentalism.com
Mystical Matthew
View Profile
Elite user
468 Posts

Profile of Mystical Matthew
Quote:
On 2011-09-02 10:21, iwillfoolu wrote:
I have done a few events where they wanted me to park in Antarctica or shove me in a dark corner next to a clown AND a DJ. No thanks.


What's wrong with the clown and the DJ? ;-) Did the clown forget to shower? Is the DJ accusing you of making his records disappear?

What would be REALLY awesome would be someone who's a clown AND a DJ! That would be a wicked cool USP right there!

In all seriousness, I agree with what you're saying. I'm guessing your concern is that both the clown and DJ would be natural distractions to your show. I can imagine you screaming "I'VE GOT A ROPE WITH TWO ENDS AND A MIDDLE" as the DJ cranks up the bass on that annoying Lil Wayne track... I'd be curious to hear more though!
iwillfoolu
View Profile
Special user
Upstate NY, USA
746 Posts

Profile of iwillfoolu
The truth of the event was that it was in a room that was WAY to small. I practically had to play Twister to get through the crowd. It really was wall to wall people (if the fire chief walked in, it would have been shut down). The DJ was on the far end of the room and was 30 minutes late starting, so he decided to run into my time to make up for it. The clown was new to it all (I hope). He had not-so-great makeup and was making lopsided balloon dogs and popping every third one. Once the DJ was silenced (there was NO need for music at this party) I got started and it turned out wonderfully. The kids stopped climbing the clown and watched the show. The look on the clown's face when I "took control" of the audience was priceless. I think that was more amazing to him than any trick I did. Lots of laughs and gasps from everyone. When I got done, I packed up and wished the clown good luck, and ran for the hills.

You live, you learn.
Magician and Balloon Twister
New York Magicians
Magician New York
Bill Hegbli
View Profile
Eternal Order
Fort Wayne, Indiana
22519 Posts

Profile of Bill Hegbli
In Burling Hull's book he gave a very good way to deal with charity requests. You suggest to the charity that their prominent members donate your fee to the organization for your services. The charity will list and announce that (insert name or names) was responsible for providing the entertainment.

This makes the members an important asset to the organization, points out his/their charitable giving for the success of the event.

Hull's advice on this subject I found to put the responsibility back on the committee, and not on you as looking like a the bad guy.

Another approach was suggested by a professional magician. He simply explains that he works with his charity of choice for all his donations. Explain that their charity is not the charity he supports and again if suggest the current members donate your fee to the event.

I have found in most of these charity events, instead of giving credit to the magician for his/her kindness, the committee or members take credit for supplying the entertainment for themselves. When in fact it was the magician who was truly responsible for giving of his time and talent to make a successful event.

Don't get me wrong, if performing for charities is your mission with your magic, then by all means make charity performing you profession. There is nothing wrong with giving of yourself and talent.

My experience with charities is if they do not pay your fee, they treat you less, and give you no respect. I once was requested for a charity event, they were running long, so the lady walked on stage and stopped the show. Took over the mike and proceeded with the next event. She could care less if anyone was enjoying the show. It was all about her getting through the list of events to come.
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » Charity Response? (0 Likes)
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2020 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.17 seconds requiring 5 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

ROTFL Billions and billions served! ROTFL