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How To Give A Holiday Concert And Raise Funds

‘Tis the holiday season to be sure, and that makes it an ideal time to host a holiday concert to raise funds for your music program. Raising funds, however, requires a positive difference between the amount of money you raise, and the money spent to give the concert in the first place.

Here are some tips on how to give a holiday concert that raises enough funds to make the time, energy, and stress worth it.

Consider the Synergy of Co-Hosting

Hosting and giving a concert for your orchestra alone is one thing, merging the concert with another group on campus – such as choir, jazz band, drama, etc., – offers further revenue potential. It also spreads the workload a bit between groups and exponentially expands the audience market.

For example, you can merge the ideas of a smashing sing-along with the orchestra, vocal parts facilitated by the school choir, and using Handel’s Messiah (or the most favorite movements) as the backbone for the program.

That being said, this may over complicate things for you if there aren’t standing, positive relationships between the groups. If not this year, consider the idea for the future.

Who is your target audience?

Businesses spend a tremendous amount of time and investment researching their target audience so they market their products and services accordingly. You should do your own version of Target Audience Reconnaissance to maximize concertgoers, which optimizes profit margins.

Who are the most likely audience members to attend? Sure, parents and close friends of your orchestra or music group are a given, but who are the other “niche” audiences present in your community?

Contact the City or Commerce and find out as much as you can about your area’s demographics. For example, if there is a large population of seniors – a “Classic Holiday” concert, that includes traditional and jazz standard pieces, will be a draw. Plus, you can connect with local senior centers and see if they’ll promote and/or provide transportation to the event.

If there are higher populations of one ethnic demographic over another, including holiday pieces from their culture is a way to cultivate an appreciation for diversity within your musicians – and to create a more compelling draw to multi-cultural community members.

Putting in the time to research information about prospective audience members goes a long way toward guiding your marketing strategies. It also generates a more supportive and engaged audience.

Create a compelling program

The music program you select is essential to hooking prospective audience members and regaling them throughout the performance. We mentioned targeting the program selections to the audience’s tastes – but that’s easier said than done right?

Read, Awesome Holiday Concert Programs For School Orchestras, to glean tried-and-true ideas for concerts that are themed and focused on attendees’ appreciation.

Advertise, Advertise, Advertise

This is a busy time of year for everyone – so the sooner you get the word out the better. Don’t forget to share the news via:

  • Attractive flyers that are visible and easy-to-read at locations where they’re most likely to be viewed by those target audience members.
  • Social media – the school, music program, students and their parents should all be provided with a boilerplate ad (probably the flyer you created) to share with their networks via social media channels.
  • Local radio stations are often happy to share events like this free-of-charge or for a very minimal fee when their supporting local schools and music programs.
  • Use student and parent connections to post flyers or share marketing information with groups, businesses, senior centers, churches, and spiritual centers, , –that wouldn’t hear about the concert otherwise.

There’s virtually no such thing as “over promoting,” so if you feel like you’ve overdone it, you’ve probably done just right.

Affordable Venue and Smart Ticket Price

If your school has an attractive performing arts space, you’re lucky. For many schools, it makes more sense to research free or low-cost venues in the community that provide a more comfortable and attractive (potentially already holiday themed) venue. This makes it a more attractive proposition for your audience.

Start asking around to see what’s available. If costs are a bit too steep, think about bartering student volunteer services (cleaning, decorating, ushering, etc.) in exchange for a lower usage fee.

Once you’ve nailed down the venue, price tickets wisely. They should be substantial enough to show there’s value in the high-quality experience audience members can expect, but low enough that they’re affordable for your targeted audience members. Don’t forget to install “donation boxes” and advertise that fact at intermission and after the concert. The more impressive your concert, the more dollars you’ll generate in the donation boxes – above and beyond your ticket sales.

Good luck in hosting this year’s holiday concert and may it be the highest, revenue-generating event to date!

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