Best Practice guide for Benefit Gigs
Here’s how to put on a great fundraiser!
It’s incredibly heartening to see the music industry step up to raise awareness and funds for bushfire affected communities.
This guide has been developed to assist event organisers putting on benefit gigs. If you have questions or need advice, get in touch with your local state music body.
Check the calendar
Are there similar fundraiser offerings going on in the same week/month? Think about whether your
event has the chance to add to the fundraising landscape rather than undercut it.
Be transparent, it builds trust and goodwill
In all event communications make clear:
• Where the fundraised money will go (don’t be vague, nominate specific recipients)
• The nature of the funds being raised (eg: donations on the door, percentage of door takings /
bar takings or total profits etc)
• Who is putting the show together
Always offer to pay your artists
• Do not assume that musicians will play your fundraiser for free. If they choose to forgo their fee then great, but it is up to them. It shouldn’t be only on artists – many of whom earn less than $12k/year from music – to bear the cost of the fundraising effort.
• If artists do choose to donate or forgo their fee, ensure their expenses are covered – eg. catering, parking, taxis etc.
• Support artists and their fanbases by thinking about having shorter set times, DJ sets, special guests or giving artists the opportunity to try something new. Offering a slightly different experience to what their normal show would entail lessens the impact on any upcoming touring or release plans and makes for a special fundraiser.
Find a point of difference
• Look at things like venues in areas with less fundraising activity, make your event all-ages, program diverse and different line-ups that speak to underrepresented audiences.
Do your homework
• Think about who you’re raising money for and make sure you choose something that aligns with your and your community’s values
• Spread the love – there is a whole range of charities and organisations that need support.
Do the maths before you announce!
• Do a realistic appraisal of the costs of putting on the show vs the funds you expect to raise. Maybe your efforts are better spent supporting and getting behind existing benefits.
• Make sure you speak with an accountant – there can be tax implications for you personally or
for your business in putting on a fundraiser
Check your motivations
• Don’t use the opportunity to promote your new single or fill your venue
• Fundraisers are about bringing communities together, raising much-needed funds, and raising awareness around issues
Be thoughtful and sensitive
• Some imagery/artwork/language can be triggering or upsetting for people who have been
impacted by the bushfires. Consider avoiding bushfire imagery/colours, and be sensitive to the
event title and how you speak about the event
Get support for your event
• There are a range of music industry companies and organisations waiving booking fees and
licencing fees – such as APRA AMCOS and Eventbrite. Be sure to register your event with them to
utilise their support.
• Spread the word about your event – let your state music body know it’s on and they’ll add it to
their Bushfire Benefits list!