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Charity Magician



It’s something that every performer has to deal with. Endless requests to do “charity” or “free shows”. Depending on your profile in the marketplace where you work, these requests may be very frequent.

The old saying goes

“the only thing you will get from doing free shows, is offers for you to do more free shows.”

Here are a few strategies to think about that may help you deal with these requests.

Before I discuss them however, I must point something out. When you read the ideas, they may seem to all be ways to avoid doing “charity” shows. I do believe strongly however that you should do some each year. Put something back. It’s just if you are not careful, the amount of them can snowball.

(We have a number of charities we will always do a show for each year if we are asked and we also turn our office set up (phones, computer and manpower) over to a volunteer organisation for one day each month. This adds up to quite a lot of time and energy each year, though I’m sure many of our readers do a huge amount more. The trick is to find the balance.)


Make a plan.

Decide how many Charity shows you will do in a year and stick to it. Perhaps only agree to do certain shows in your quiet months.

Decide which Charities you will support and stick to it. Don’t feel guilty about turning them down.

Question the Request.

A common approach to performers is that “everyone” is donating their time & services. This is often not the case. Hotels providing Space, Service, Food etc is somewhat rare. Likewise Production companies tend not to give it away, with the amount of capital tied up in big black boxes. The people putting the event together may well be professional organisers. Find out what the situation really is and then make your informed decision.

One strategy I have used a lot in the past is this. It helps deal with the phone inquiry quickly but leaves you looking like a good guy.

Ask for the request to be in writing!

Explain to the caller that you do a set number of charity shows each year, but you must know what the group is, their background and what they are raising money for. Could you send that in writing so you can discus it with your partner.

(This of course can be your family, bank manager or dog, but it makes sense.)

Guess what? Asking for the request to be in writing will eliminate MOST callers! They will just keep ringing around trying to find someone. Anyone. A commodity. If the really want YOU, they will request you in writing.

Make sure when you do agree, that you get a good return on your time and energy.

If there is a printed program or advertising, make sure you are in it and your contact details appear.

Use the PR strategies we have discussed in earlier articles to organise your own Press stories. Ask the organisers if they have contacts in the media, you could contact. Add them to your press book.

Ask for Contact details of everyone attending. Get permission to distribute cards at each table.

Merchandising!! Not only should you be prepared to offer some product after your show, but you should utilise at least three of the strategies discussed in the Merchadising Masterclass to multiply those sales.

Get organisers to help you with the Sales, Get the Introducer to bring up the topic of Sales and consider a Profit Split.

(All of these strategies and many more are discussed in greater detail in our best selling Multiply your Merchandising MasterClass.

We show you how to do it, why you should do it and give you resources and ideas to use immediately!

This book is part of the New Subscriber Bonus Pack, a free Download.


The other area of course with Charity and Fund Raising shows is to do a profit share. Kramien, Chuck Jones and many others have toured the world for years with various variations on this theme. This field is huge, exciting, complex, and fraught with risk, disappointment and possibly great profits. I hope to give you an overview of this field in an upcoming issue.


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