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Fundraising’s Hidden Secret - Live Event Entertainment Fundraisers
by School Programs USA

Let’s face it, we are faced with more fundraising programs and options than ever before. This is in part due to the increasing role of importance that fundraising has to the support, maintenance and survival of programs, clubs, events and other curriculums.

Many of these programs include the selling of candy, wrapping paper, cookie dough, candles, recipes, discount cards and coupon books - the list seems to go on and on. Since there are so many product-based fundraisers this seems to dominate the fundraising landscape.  

The common elements that many of these types of fundraising programs have include inventory, distribution, person to person selling, the handling and exchange of money for each product sold, accounting, and often a concern for safety issues. This can quickly result in fundraising product sales overload.

If fundraising committees are faced with this overwhelming amount of product fundraisers, it only stands to reason that the public feels the same effect. More and more people feel that they are being approached nearly every week to buy one of these products to support some fundraising group or effort.  It is often perceived as many groups hosting the same fundraiser making it hard to distinguish one fundraising cause or group from another. It is becoming quite common for potential customers to feel fundraising overkill. As a former informercial by fitness guru Susan Powter would scream “stop the insanity!”

Today’s Fundraising Directors and committee leaders must understand this common perception in the marketplace. Identifying and understanding this is only the first step. The bigger question then becomes what alternatives exist to combat this fundraising dilemma?

Enter one of fundraising's best kept secrets -Live Event Entertainment Fundraisers.

Live event entertainment fundraisers are unique and offer several key elements that can drive your next fundraiser to increased response and participation, improved public perception, and most of all greater profits, all while eliminating many of the problem areas of product fundraisers.

There are many types of event and entertainment fundraisers that allow your fundraiser to operate and succeed on several different levels.  Basic events like fun fairs, ice cream socials and soc-hops have long been a staple of fundraising events. But a recent trend has found increasing popularity in larger entertainment fundraisers as events offering a fun production or show for the entire family. This has been most prominent with schools, sporting leagues, churches and youth groups.

The reasons for this are many but mostly due in part to their ease of operation, safety for students and committee volunteers, lack of direct selling and the related responsibilities, offering a refreshing fundraising alternative, and the ability to spend the majority of your fundraising efforts in promoting the event rather than product management.  

Another of the key components to live event entertainment fundraisers is the ability to offer an exciting professional quality family event to the entire community, allowing for greater attendance and the many possibilities for business affiliations and sponsorships. This allows you to take your entertainment fundraiser to a higher level of perceived value while yet separating yourself from the standard product-based sales programs.  

Simply put, the perception to the public is much more inviting and that of a fun, affordable event to be enjoyed by family, friends and community members. The results of this perception is increased support directly resulting in larger profits. Goals of thousands of dollars can be easily obtainable as opposed to hundreds of dollars accompanied by work overload.

It is most important to select the right professional production, entertainer or act for your live entertainment fundraising event. Special thought should be given to the promotional possibilities and media interest the act or production can generate.  For example, many schools have offered a fundraising event where members of the faculty will play a game against their own basketball team. This can be a fun event, but is primary of interest only to a portion of the students of that particular school and perhaps a few other faculty members and parents. In contrast, using the same basketball game format but bringing in The Harlem Globetrotters to play your faculty team would generate much greater drawing power, media attention and profit potential.

Although entertainment fundraisers can be very financially rewarding, it is important to select an entertainer or production that specializes in these types of fundraising events.  There are several live entertainment fundraising event companies that have specific programs that include promotional materials, press and media cooperation, committee program outlines, and have a genuine interest in promoting your event and achieving your expected level of success.

One of the most common misperceptions of these types of fundraisers is that you can simply open the yellow pages and book a local disc jockey or magician and the public will make a mad dash to your event. The truth is practically the opposite. With the exception of local media personalities or if you have a well-known regional or national name act hailing from your area, the drawing power of a local act or production will offer little more than that of a school play.  One of the keys is to offer something not readily available or common to your community. Acts, artists or productions usually only seen on television, in the movies, or perhaps in resort areas or Las Vegas.

Among the most popular are acts such as celebrities, psychic entertainers or mentalists, comedy stage hypnotists, more popular known illusionists, game shows, and other such acts that either have an established name and reputation or that can offer a performance unique or rarely seen live in your community.

Having this key type of production will allow you to focus the majority of your efforts on the promotion of this special event. It will easily create a buzz within your community and generate interest in this rare opportunity. You are positioning your fundraising event for success just by offering a different, unique, mass-appeal to all ages, fun event that will garner the attention of the press as well as the public.  
If organized through a professional fundraising production company you may be very surprised to find that these high-profile events can be hosted quite affordably contrary to common belief. These events also allow for greater profit resources regularly overlooked or unaware to other basic event fundraisers.

You will soon find that when these key factors all line up behind your promotional efforts this intrigue and interest quickly translates to income, and a very positive and supportive perception of your fundraising group, cause, message and event.

School Programs USA has been producing live event fundraisers nationwide for over 25 years and is the creator of Main Event Live Entertainment Fundraisers represented by School Programs USA, specializing in fundraising events specifically for elementary, middle and high schools, colleges, youth groups, and sporting leagues and teams. For more information contact www.SchoolProgramsUSA.com.