Fundraising – Putting on a quality musical event

QUICK GUIDE TO PROMOTING LIVE MUSIC EVENTS IN CHURCH BUILDINGS

Our live music events have been based on four principles….

  1. any music genre is acceptable provided that (as Bono once said, “it tends to celebrate rather than denigrate”.
  2. fundraising has not been the principle purpose but it might be a welcome additional consequence
  3. the event extends people’s experience of what is possible in a church building
  4. to offer a high quality experience you need professional standard musicians.

There are three particular target audiences/income streams for any one event…

  1. The local community
  2. Fans of the particular musicians or of the particular genre of music
  3. The local church community keen to support and facilitate the event.

There are three separate marketing streams for the three audiences though none are exclusive.

  1. Local outlets such as posters, notice boards, village shops and garages, + nearby areas
  2. Artists own website (vital) plus genre specific mags/websites, + eg Whats on N Wales.
  3. Church weekly newletters, magazines, diocesan StAR emailing etc

It is important to create a sense of ‘something happening’. Posters do not necessarily sell many tickets but, if there are enough of them, they do create that sense,

As well as distinctive marketing there are three distinct streams of revenue generation…

  1. Village shops etc, local village contacts
  2. Internet sales are essential eg use free and easy to use‘wegottickets.com’)
  3. Somebody who actually has the tickets to sell on Sundays etc at services.

Some vital general points – in order to create a sense of something worthwhile and to give people a high quality experience………

a)  the publicity must be high quality – no scruffy photocopied posters (most artists will provide, eg, posters to which local information, times, venues can be added).

b)  welcome must be high quality – heating, direction signs, somebody on the door etc

c)  the venue must be as high quality as can be achieved – what festival organisers call ‘vibing the site’ – have a big pile of free cushions from home – do not try to cram in as many people as you would for a funeral or wedding (this is an all evening job!), arrange refreshments, get internal signage (toilets, refreshments and so on), make it professional (don’t hold a raffle, don’t finish up with a whole load of ‘thank yous’ when people have had a great time and just want to go home or for a drink).

d) Happy artists make good music (!) do ask them if they are bringing their own sound system (it will be very embarrassing if they don’t!);  make sure they can be both seen and heard (think temporary staging if needed) and lighting, get them a dressing room –   eg vestry – put a sign on the door and make it there private space, make sure they have a place to sell any merchandise they bring, provide them with pre-gig food and drink (they generally won’t want much but ask them in advance), give them on stage drinks (most want water) also ask if they would like after-gig food.

FINALLY – Think BIG not small. We have made excesses of up to £500 by booking artists for between £350 and £650 and by selling tickets at £10 or over. You might make the same by paying a lot less and charging a lot less but how happy will people be when they go home and will they marvel at the kind of experience they have had at their local church!

Written by Adrian and Diane Copping – based on personal experience at Cilcain Parish Church between 2009 and 2016