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Working with Bands & Sponsors

Here is more in depth information on how to run a successful fundraising concert. Emphasis is placed on the band and the sponsorship deal.


  1. You must let the bands know how long of a set they can play. I recommend offering them a 30 minute set. That is a common amount of time most local bands get to play a show and it's not too long to hold up the show or to make people leave who really don't like the band. You must have someone go up to the band leader (usually the singer), after about 26-27 minutes into their set as soon as they finish a song and let them know they can play one more song (you might be able to visually communicate this without actually going on stage by holding up one finger and mouthing the words "One more" to a band member, just be sure they see and acknowledge you).
  2. Be sure to let the bands know exactly what time their set starts, and advertise this on the facebook event page so fans know when the band they want to see starts. You will have to calculate this by first figuring out what time the show is advertised to start. Then schedule the first band to start 30 minutes after that time, and each subsequent band to start one hour after that (gives each band a 30 minute set + 30 minute set up time for next band). I recommend scheduling the first band to start 30 minutes after the advertised event start time because usually people don't show up right at the start time and bands won't play if there isn't anyone there. Additionally you'll want to make a short introduction before the show and possibly make announcements, explain what events you've got going on, thank the venue, bands, people who came, the sponsor, etc... Be sure to let the bands know they have about 20 minutes to set up, and about 10 minutes to get their gear off stage when they finish (equals 30 minutes total between sets). You really need someone "encouraging" the bands to breakdown and set up promptly so you can stay on schedule (the person who booked the bands and knows the musician's names is probably best for this)
  3. Be sure to let the bands know this is a charity event and no bands will be paid. This should not make booking bands any more difficult as most local bands make very little money playing shows anyway and they care more about the exposure of a show. So let them know this will be a heavily advertised show with likely a large audience for them.
  4. I would recommend booking 4 bands ideally. Having 3 play would be acceptable, but booking 4 ensures that if one flakes you will still have 3 playing. Booking 3 is risky because if one flakes you only have a 2 band show, which is going to be way to short.
  5. Ensure that the venue the show is at has a PA system (microphones with speakers for the singers). Many bands don't have their own PA system and assume that the venue they play at will have a house system (most venues who have regularly have bands do). It's OK to book the show at a venue that doesn't usually have bands and therefore doesn't have a PA system, but then you need to either ensure that one of the bands has one and is willing to let all bands use it (so they need to show up first), or you'll need to rent or borrow one. 
  6. Be sure to let the bands know what time they need to show up. I recommend telling them all to show up by the start time of the event to check in with you, but let them know they MUST arrive at least an hour before their scheduled set time starts.
  7. It's really important to encourage the bands to promote the show and try to get their fans to come. The best way to do this is by making flyers for them to distribute (a couple hundred per band at least). You might also consider making a checklist at the door for people to mark which band they came to see and giving the band who got the most people to come a prize of some sort (obviously you'll want to let the bands know about this when you book them so they promote well to try and win the prize).
  8. Be sure to have a mailing list sign up sheet at the table for people who want to keep informed about your group and advertise when/where your group meets for those interested in joining.

In regards to finding a sponsor, you must be prepared when going to local businesses asking for a sponsorship. The best thing you could bring with you is a sample flyer with the phrase "Sponsored by: Your Business" on the front, and on the back it could say "Your Business Advertisement" in big letters. This shows them exactly what they're paying for. After you get your first sponsorship deal, you can save a few flyers/posters you made to show other businesses in the future exactly what they'll get.

Make Sure They Know:

  1. You're only allowing one business to sponsor this event
  2. This event will be promoted heavily, and they will be getting lots of exposure from it. 
  3. Exactly how many 1/4 page black and white flyers you will be printing (couple thousand hopefully) and how many full page color posters you will print (couple hundred probably). 
  4. The posters won't have the ad on back because they will be hung up, but the "Sponsored by: Your Business" will still be on the front. 
  5. All the bands will be passing out flyers, and your whole group of XX members will be passing out flyers all month. 
  6. Offer them the idea of making the flyer a coupon for their business ("10% off with this flyer"). 
  7. You will have a facebook page where thousands of people will probably be invited and their name and business description can be on that. 
  8. About any mailing lists you'll be sending the event to (at least your group's email list).
  9. Any other places the show will be advertised (student newspaper/web show, local radio/newspaper/magazine, etc...

Final Thoughts
One last thing, don't underestimate a business owner's willingness to help your cause. Be honest about the nature of your group and that you support students. Let them know you are nonprofit, and all proceeds from the show and sponsorship deal goes directly to support your group. I recommend letting each business know that you are asking for $500 for this deal, but might be willing to negotiate if you don't find a sponsor within a week maybe. Don't overlook any businesses near your school. New businesses are a good place to ask because they usually have money set aside for advertising. And don't be discouraged if you get completely turned down by many businesses at first; I got turned down at the first 10 places I went.

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