Asking brass group members for donations?

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Mikebmiller
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Asking brass group members for donations?

Post by Mikebmiller » Mon Sep 09, 2019 4:05 pm

Last year, I started a symphonic brass ensemble that did a few rehearsals and put on a concert, which was really well performed, although not particularly well attended. I paid for everything except for one tune out of my own pocket, which ran to several hundred bucks.

This year, I have an even bigger and hopefully better group assembled and once again I have so far paid for everything out of my pocket. Between buying music and renting a recital hall, it will cost somewhere around $400 to put this show on.

Here's the question - is it reasonable to ask the members of the group to kick in $20 or so each to help defray the costs? Everyone is playing for free and I hate to ask them to do it, but I am not a rich guy and $400 is a reasonable chunk of money. I'm not complaining, as the whole thing was my idea, but everyone in this group has a job and could afford $20. I know that most community bands ask members for annual donations, so it doesn't seem totally out of line, but I hate to make anyone mad.

If I do ask for donations, what is the best way to approach it? Should I set up a gofundme? Paypal? It seems a bit tacky to just ask people to hand you cash. If this group continues, I would like to turn it into a 501C with it's own bank account and so forth, so that I am not actually asking people to give ME money - I am asking for the group.

I do plan on asking audience members for donations this year and having a donation jar at the back of the room, but am not really counting on that to be a big money maker.

Thanks for any advice.
norbie2018
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Re: Asking brass group members for donations?

Post by norbie2018 » Mon Sep 09, 2019 4:13 pm

If the performers go into the rehearsals
& performance knowing they need to pay I think you're good to go. However, if you've already booked them and are only now thinking of asking for the dough - well, I think that would be a bit tacky, at least inconsiderate.

In addition, the $25 our community concert band asks us for is for the entire season, not one concert.
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Matt K
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Re: Asking brass group members for donations?

Post by Matt K » Mon Sep 09, 2019 5:27 pm

I don't think it's an unreasonable request - or you can possibly find sponsors for the event. I was in a band that did something similar. We ended up getting a grant from the town I was in to play a ribbon cutting ceremony + the other concert we were going to do. Ended up making a small amount for each player too.
Mikebmiller
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Re: Asking brass group members for donations?

Post by Mikebmiller » Mon Sep 09, 2019 6:05 pm

Sponsors would be excellent, but I have no idea who would want to be one. If I could guarantee a big audience, it might be easier. Last year, I think we had about 35 people show up.
thatme
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Re: Asking brass group members for donations?

Post by thatme » Mon Sep 09, 2019 7:49 pm

I personally wouldn’t find it offensive if you asked for $20, even now - just explain it like you’ve done here.

And be sure to hit the audiences up for donations at your “free” concert. I’ve been in lots of groups that leave buckets near the entrance and mention about a donation just before intermission. And then play a really upbeat, fun song just before intermission so everyone is happy when they walk out!
AndrewMeronek
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Re: Asking brass group members for donations?

Post by AndrewMeronek » Mon Sep 09, 2019 8:02 pm

50/50 raffles are also a pretty popular way to get audiences to chip in for band expenses.
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Pre59
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Re: Asking brass group members for donations?

Post by Pre59 » Tue Sep 10, 2019 2:45 am

I think that you've left it too late to ask for a contribution for this concert. Better to have a meeting to discuss future plans and include financing when this one is completed. You'll know what and who you're dealing with then.
CharlieB
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Re: Asking brass group members for donations?

Post by CharlieB » Fri Sep 13, 2019 7:26 am

How about if you approach the Spartanburg Community Band to see if your group can operate as an adjunct to their band, much as the Jazz Ensemble does ?
https://scband.org/
Mikebmiller
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Re: Asking brass group members for donations?

Post by Mikebmiller » Sat Sep 14, 2019 10:16 pm

CharlieB wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 7:26 am
How about if you approach the Spartanburg Community Band to see if your group can operate as an adjunct to their band, much as the Jazz Ensemble does ?
https://scband.org/
I have several folks from SCB involved in the brass choir, but I have no desire to have it be a part of that group. I want to maintain control.

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Vegasbound
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Re: Asking brass group members for donations?

Post by Vegasbound » Sun Sep 15, 2019 12:46 am

From my point of view I would say that by asking the other members for donations you would lose over all control and become more a cooperative

Why could that be a problem, stops you replacing players, programme choices etc
Mikebmiller
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Re: Asking brass group members for donations?

Post by Mikebmiller » Sun Sep 15, 2019 9:08 pm

Just to be clear, I do not wish to be the dictator of this group. I am hoping to turn it from a one off ensemble to an ongoing group that plays 3 or 4 concerts a year. I need to get others involved in helping run things, and I can’t afford to self finance every concert. Every group,has to start somewhere.
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