David usually performs several benefit concerts each year. He can’t accept all of the invitations, of course, but if you’re considering asking David to perform for a benefit, we will be happy to hear from you. On this page you’ll find some tips on making it more likely that David could accept, and some ideas to have a successful event.
What’s a Benefit?
There are two reasons to put on a benefit concert—one, as a fundraiser, and two, as an awareness raiser. Sometimes both goals are in play. It is good to articulate your goals, though, because it has an effect on how you go about putting the event together. If awareness raising is more of a goal than fundraising, you may well be able to pay David’s usual fees and book him just as he would book any other night (pending his support of the cause). If fundraising is the goal, you may want to look at some of the strategies below that would make it more likely that David can accept your invitation for less than his usual fees.
As with any event, please feel free to get in touch with us and ask for promotional materials to be sent and/or ask any other questions you may have. Contacting us to explore possibilities will not lock you into any commitments.
Costs and… well… Benefits
David supports various charities and causes, plays benefits frequently and would love to play them all the time. The mechanics of benefits are frequently misunderstood, however. It may be helpful to explain the costs and benefits of performing a benefit concert. Here are some of them:
The Benefits of Benefits
• Supporting a good cause. This is no small factor. David loves supporting causes he believes in.
• If the organization that is being supported works hard to promote the event, it can expose David to a new audience that might not have discovered him otherwise.
The Costs of Benefits
• In support of the cause, it is common for David to be paid less to perform at a benefit concert than he would usually be paid, or not at all. That means that if the show is scheduled on a night when David would have been likely to do a regular show, David is effectively donating the difference. Most people think of a benefit concert as a donation from the audience to the cause, but if the artist could be working somewhere else on the same night, it really turns out to be a donation from the artist to the cause.
• Booking a benefit locks David into a geographical region, and that can keep him from pursuing good opportunities in other regions of the country/world, therefore not only preventing him from appearing on the night of the event, but nearby dates as well. In the end, booking a benefit can add up to literally thousands of dollars in lost income.
• The costs to David to put on a show (travel, lodging, posters, media promotion, paying office/booking staff, etc.) remain fairly constant regardless of what he is paid.
Some Strategies That May Be Helpful in Booking and Promoting a Benefit
If you can get pretty close to David’s usual fees, it’s possible to book shows farther in advance and on “on” nights (generally speaking, weekends). If you’re hoping David will be able to perform for significantly less than his usual cost, look at off nights (Monday through Wednesday) and/or plan to book on shorter notice on a night when David is free. You can check David’s calendar to find possible dates that would work, then contact his booking manager to confirm that he is available. Events scheduled on dates that are unlikely to be booked elsewhere and dates that are closer in rather than farther out on the calendar are much easier for David to accept, since it is less likely that he would have other work at those times, so he is effectively doing the benefit in his free time rather than giving up opportunities that support his family.
Fundraising and Payment strategy
Of course it’s good to be able to tell the public that you will donate all of the admission charges to the cause, so the ideal scenario is to find a source to pay David that doesn’t rely on admission revenue. This sort of scenario has been successfully organized by many venues booking David for a concert. Sometimes a church or other organization has sponsored the event so that all proceeds go to the cause. Other times organizers have found ten or fifteen sponsors within a community to chip in to cover David’s fees, or one or two who can cover the whole thing. This can leverage the sponsors’ donations into more than the original outlay and also creates publicity and broader ‘ownership’ for the concert.
Publicize to the organization’s constituency. Draw on the organization’s mailing list, press connections and presence in the community. If the benefit is for Habitat for Humanity, for instance, make sure you get an article about the concert in their newsletter, preferably before the show rather than after. Get on the agenda of their board meeting and take flyers (which we can help to create) to pass out. As with all of these efforts, we can help you craft a flyer or article.
Again, be in touch with the publicist for the organization in your town, region, or even the national office to see if they have tips or connections for getting good articles in your local media. We can provide press releases and we will happily schedule a phone interview with David. He can also do radio and TV interviews or perform on air if his travel schedule allows it.
As always, feel free to get in touch with any questions, and thanks for thinking of David to help support something worth supporting.