It’s a good idea to play in benefit shows, but your band might be a bit bummed that there isn’t a whole lot of money to be made when playing for free.
Wrong! Even at purely charitable shows where there’s no payment, bands can make money from merchandise sales and can gain fans (which leads to money down the line).
Here are a few tips for making money when your band is playing at a charity or benefit show.
Be Organized – First of all, in order to sell a decent amount of merchandise, your band will have to be organized and present its merch in an engaging way. Have a sign made that clearly states the cost of each piece of merch, and maybe frame it with lights or bright colors to draw attention to it, or better yet use a professionally printed poster. Keep all of the merchandise in the same area, and have a friend or one of the benefit organizers run your stand. Make sure that your merch area doesn’t look cluttered or otherwise unprofessional.
Draw Attention To Your Band’s Name – This is a golden rule of playing live. Say your band’s name multiple times, and if possible have one of your band members wear a shirt or sport equipment (such as a painted bass drum head, for instance) with your band’s name on it. People won’t know what to buy if they don’t know a band’s name, so make sure that everyone knows who you are–even if they don’t care. You’ll sell more merchandise at a benefit show and make a bigger impact.
Divert People To Your Website – There are some cases where it might be considered rude or even against a benefit show’s rules to sell merchandise of any kind. These situations are rare, but they do happen. Nevertheless, you can make sure attendees know to visit your band’s website, which hopefully offers your merchandise for sale–your band does have a website, right?
Consider printing business cards with your band’s web address on them and giving them out at benefit shows. They don’t cost much, and can make a huge difference–if you don’t see any profits from the show right off, you still might get some money down the line from web visits and online merch sales.
Get Benefit Attendees’ Names On A Mailing List – Finally, make sure to get as many names on your band’s mailing list as you can. You’ll make money at future shows by having higher attendance and selling more merch, and as most people at benefit shows are already feeling charitable, they probably won’t mind giving you their email address and name to let you contact them the next time that your band’s in town.
How does your band make money when playing benefit shows? Post in the comments section below.