OUR BENEFITS POLICY...& 20 SUGGESTIONS
(Subtitle: "So You Want to Plan a Benefit Jamboree")

 

BEFORE YOU CONTACT US, PLEASE NOTE THESE FOUR THINGS:

1. We reserve the right to determine if we agree with the REASON for holding the benefit. If we don't agree, we probably won't play. For instance...if you are holding a benefit for Uncle Clem because Uncle Clem was a butthead and smoked 6 packs of cigarettes a day and now he has cancer and/or needs an iron lung...then don't bother calling us. Sorry if that sounds harsh, but we feel that it is our right to be a bit selective regarding donating our time to any one cause.

2. If people will be smoking in (or in close proximity to) the area we are expected to perform in, we reserve the right to pack up and go home without playing.

3. If there isn't a House PA (that is, if there is no PA system being provided to sing/play though, and we have to lug ours there)...unless we have agreed to HOST the benefit, then your chances of us playing are pretty slim.

4. If you don't have your benefit well-planned, we probably aren't interested. We will usually ask you all of the above questions when you contact us, and will probably also want to know who else (band-wise) is playing before we sign on.

If you don't have the answers to those questions...please do not contact us, because all we're going to do is ask you the questions directly. And now...some handy dandy tips for getting your event off the ground...and believe us, they work pretty well. You might even want to print and save a copy in your wallet. Here it is...is our (semi-famous) BENEFITS CHECKLIST...!!

 


 

HANDY DANDY CHECKLIST FOR ORGANIZERS OF BENEFITS:

 


 

TWO MONTHS IN ADVANCE:

1. Set a date (some dates are better than others, and if you live in the North, better be mindful about booking a date during the real snowy months).

2. Find a location - be sure they have adequate power for hosting a musical performance if you're going to have bands! (And again, location is key - the closer it is to civilization, the better...if the place has a liquor license, that might be good, too)

3. See if you can get a House PA and/or a soundman to run it for the day.  Call local music stores or sound companies and ask for prices - be sure to mention that it is for a benefit. Or, perhaps one of the bands will offer to act as the "host" band and will allow all bands to use theirs - never hurts to ask (and if you're not a family member/good friend of someone in our band or yours is not a cause that is near and dear to us, we probably won't offer to host your benefit...sorry about that, but it's a LOT of work).

 

ONCE THESE THINGS ARE IN PLACE, THEN:

4. Determine your initial budget (what YOU can afford to spend to get this thing rolling along) and also, try to find sponsors who will donate something to the cause (food, beverages, raffle items, etc.) Sometimes a local radio station will donate something.  ASK!

5. Think of creative ways to make people want to show up and donate cash - for instance, don't "just" have a benefit, make it a more interesting event...such as a Bike Rally/Poker Run/Pig Roast/Chicken BBQ/Casino Night.

6. Hire at least 3 bands - they should each get at least 1 hour to play, and 15 to 20 minutes on either side of that for set-up and break down time. Again, securing a House PA System is a good idea since it cuts down on set-up and break down time. And for that time in-between bands, if you can get a local celebrity of some kind to come and function as the emcee (host) of the event, then all the better!

7. Recruit friends and relatives for assistance with bands, prizes, raffles, accepting donations/admission fees at the door, and keeping food and beverages stocked. You'll also need an enthusiastic set-up and tear-down crew to help you because (again) it's a LOT of work.

 

ONE MONTH TO THREE WEEKS IN ADVANCE:

8. Send updates to all bands and key people with time slots, and information on where they can load their equipment in and out. They will need to know all the details listed above, so be prepared.

9. If you have had no luck in getting donations for food and/or prizes, then either order food and beverages or start asking your buddies to bring a dish to pass and/or make some crafty things to raffle off. Another creative idea would be to dream up other ways to make money. for instance, ask people to bring stuff from home for a post benefit garage sale!  Advertise your idea, so that people can plan to bring something.

10. Design, print, and hang posters. Also, make and distribute donation canisters at local businesses and elsewhere (be sure to ask a manager or business owner if it is OK to do that first).

11. Send advertisements out to the local media (radio stations, newspapers, TV stations). Email is a great way to spread the word, too. Many stations have email addresses, and you can send them announcements FOR FREE! Be clear and concise because long emails do not get read on the air very often. They just need the basics: The date, time, place, and cause. Mention that there will be entertainment and prizes. Again, we KNOW some local radio station personalities, and you can be sure that if your info is not short and to the point, then they probably won't bother reading it!

 

TWO WEEKS IN ADVANCE:

12. Call relatives and friends and ask for a commitment to come. Ask them to spread the word. Give them posters or flyers to post or hand out to their friends and co-workers.

13. Begin sales of advance 50/50 raffle tickets (tell people they must be present to win and if they aren't, then the half that they won gets donated back to the cause).

 

ONE WEEK IN ADVANCE:

14. Send reminders/updates to all bands and key people. Re-emphasize time slots, and send information on where they can load their equipment in and out (ask the people at the place you are having the benefit where to set up bands, and which doors they will need to enter and exit by - be sure that they can back up large vehicles in order to unload their equipment). They will need to know all the details listed above, so be prepared.

15. Make a large sign of some kind for pre-event advertisement and/or to put out front on the day of the benefit. WRITING IN BLOCK LETTERS WORKS BEST.

 

THE DAY/NIGHT BEFORE THE BENEFIT:

16. IF POSSIBLE, set up anything you can in advance (for instance the chairs, tables, posters, and some non-perishable food items). See if the person (or band) that is donating the House PA System can get in and set up the night before. This way there is less room for error if they have to rush to get things set up that day. Sometimes this is possible and sometimes not. But, if it IS possible, it's one less thing to deal with on the day of the benefit.

 

THE DAY OF THE BENEFIT:

17. Rope off the load in/load out area for bands so that no-one else parks there - bands have a lot of heavy equipment to carry, and they are being nice and donating time, so make their load in and out easier on them by clearing a path for them.

18. Collect donations at door and while you are at it, sell some 50/50 raffle tickets at door - hit them up while they have their money out!

19. Have two (or more) 50/50 raffles (depending on the length of the benefit show) - draw for the first one about half way through, and the last one at the end of the evening.  AGAIN...STRESS THAT THEY MUST BE PRESENT TO WIN!

20. THANK all the people that came to the benefit and donated something throughout the day and at the end of the day. Also, don't forget to thank your performers, helpers, donation sources, the media, and the place that hosted your benefit.

 

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