Quite a lot of feedback on the tricky “charity show” dilemma. Here’s two readers comments that add a few ideas to how you can handle them.
Your article on Charity shows was wonderful. I have one idea that works for me. When I am contacted for a charity event, I explain that while I am a charitable person, I make my full-time living as a magician and have no problem with a free show as long as I am able to cancel my commitment if a paid show comes along. This is always rejected. I then give a set discount for the show. It can be a percentage or a fixed rate reduction from my normal rates (It does not have to be high). I then book the show with a contract.
Next to the price, I write that this is a special non profit (charity) price.
When I do the show, I get to give out my cards. When the charity is contacted for info about my number & price, they will usually tell the inquiring person that they received a special price. This prepares the potential client for hearing a higher price.
Taking the charitable show in this manner is a win win situation. They get a discount on the act they want and you get a fairly good paying show with the opportunity to receive more work at full price.
Keep up the good work,
Divide the groups up into true charities, NPO’s doing benefits and free shows. There is nothing wrong with doing come charity work. Good publicity and you feel good too. You have to limit the # you do each year like it says in the newsletter and a good way to do this is to pick the charities you want to work for and approach them. You simply explain to the groups that solicit you for charity shows that you work for a certain number of charities each year and your schedule is currently full.
Let them send a request for the next year in writing. NPO’s (Not for Profit Organizations) often sponsor benefits for charity work, but they also have parties for members. Make it clear that you only work for a certain number of charities each year, but that you would be glad to help them out with a benefit (for which they will likely charge to cover their expenses) and you can quote them a discount rate. You will likely be talking with a project chairman that may have the responsibility of hiring
entertainment single-handedly. Ask what his budget is and offer to work for less than the budget amount (unless it is very low). He’ll look good for saving the club money and you will get an extra job. Same strategy for the member parties, with fewer discounts.
The free show group has the audacity to try and get you to work for free on a money maker for their club. I have been called to work for free on carnivals and church fund raisers. Unfortunately, the people who have approached me to work for free on their fund raising projects have not been forthright about their intentions and this has caused misunderstandings on three occasions.
A few years ago, I put in a great deal of work planning a major show for a local carnival that I knew was a huge fundraiser for the sponsoring organization.
The contact person claimed to want to “hire” me to do a big show and I even offered to MC the beauty pageant for free. After turning in three proposals I was informed that they expected me along to work totally for free and find other performers and, I presume, pay them out of my own pocket. On this occasion and two others I found that when approached they talked really “big”, even unrealistically. Next time I get a similar request it may be a signal of a similar situation and I won’t put in as much work planning a package for them or offer to work free on any part of the project unless they agree to hire me for the initial fee I quote them.
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