In this episode, Jared explores the world of nonprofit events and how musicians can tap into these high-paying gig opportunities. He emphasizes the importance of networking, building an online presence, and maintaining professionalism in the nonprofit event industry. Jared shares insights on securing gigs, payment terms, and considerations for rate reductions. Discover valuable strategies for navigating and succeeding in nonprofit events, while attracting other types of gigs through networking. Tune in to unlock the potential of nonprofit events for your music career.
Hey, what's up gigging pro! Its Jared Judge welcome to another episode of The Gigging Musician Podcast. This is episode three of the High-Paying Gig Type Series, where I've been sharing the different gig types that pay you and your bandmates. 10 times more than what you could get at a bar gig, or even some orchestral gigs if you play in orchestras. And the first one was weddings, which I love weddings, for you didn't have a chance to listen to that one, you know, just go back to episodes, and you will hear that episode. The second type was corporate events, which I also love corporate events, because companies got lots of money, they spend money to make money, which is a good principle that I encouraged everyone to apply to their music careers, too. And then this third episode is about nonprofit events. So you might be thinking nonprofits, they don't have any money, how could they possibly hire a musician for their events? But for those of you who have played nonprofit events, you know, they've got money, because, again, they are spending money to make money. What do I mean by that? Well, one of you know, think about your typical nonprofit, they'll have a mission, they have something that organization does, for example, you know, Feeding America, their goal is to feed people who are not able to feed themselves. So they obviously need money for all those meals, they need money for the infrastructure to deliver those meals, and so forth. Say, for like the Boys and Girls Club, you know, their mission is to give a safe space and mentorship to children who lack that. So that's their mission. They need money to deliver on that mission. They've got to hire the staff, they have got to basically advertise their services, they've got to run their administration. So they need money. It's an expensive operation to run a nonprofit. And so one of their key functions is raising money. And many nonprofits have an entire department dedicated to raising money. It's called development. And I actually served as Director of Development for a nonprofit once, where do you got to raise lots of money, and you got to ask the wealthy donors to open up their wallets and contribute towards the cause. And so this is relevant to musicians, because these nonprofits host galas. These are typically annual fundraising events, in addition to other fundraising events throughout the year. But at these galahs, and events, their main goal is to raise money, they got to get the wealthy donors to open up their wallets and support the cause. And one of the ways they do that, is by hiring entertainment. They want to make these wealthy donors have a great time at their gala, and get them emotionally invested in the cause to the point where they open up their wallets and write bigger checks than they have in the past. So if you imagine these galleries, you know, I've played several of these galleries and the typically happened in large ballrooms, one of them actually happened outdoors at a golf club, under a big tent to kind of felt like being at a circus. But typically, it's an indoor large ballroom. And people get dressed, dressed up really fancy. They have catered food, typically open bar as well. Like, you know, why would they have a nonprofit event with an open bar? Why are they spending money on alcohol? Well, for the same reason, they spend money on musicians, which is to help them open up the wallets of the donors. So they treat these are kind of like corporate events. If you listen to the corporate event podcast yesterday, it's actually a very similar process. There are a couple tweaks to it a couple of quirks about them, which is that not all nonprofits are scaled up to the way that corporate events are. And so you will get some nonprofits that try to ask you to render services for less than what you're actually worth, which I've encountered a couple of times, actually did a podcast probably a year and a half ago about this actually think it's called a nonprofit tried to stiffed me. And I want to listen to that one. Again, it might have changed my philosophy on that, especially with my approach about sponsoring in nonprofits. But basically, the way to get these gigs is similar to corporate events. A lot of it is about networking, and having a very strong online presence both with your website and with social media. And, you know, you want to get on the radar of these event planners. There's a lot of overlap between the event planners who plan nonprofit events and corporate events. And so getting on the radar and really networking in The events industry is a shortcut to getting these events. And so they will have their gala that's coming up. And then you'll get somebody reaching out to you saying, Hey, we're hosting the blank Gala, for example, one of the gigs that I did was American Cancer Society Gala. Are you guys available? How much does it cost, and then you'll give your price. And then definitely use a contract, secure the date, and then accept payment, you know, obviously, take your booking fee, right up front, somewhere between 25 and 50%. And then get the balance a week before this is for all gig types. The quirks about nonprofits though, is that some of them, because they do treat what they do as a business, as we musicians should, is that they might have rules about the contracts, like they might actually have their own contract that they will send to you, you have to read that over, you could have a lawyer look it over to I haven't really gotten a contract from a nonprofit that was weird, or I didn't want to sign. So that's just kind of some info about that. And then their payment terms. I didn't mention this on the corporate one, most corporations will actually be able to pay you 100% in advance. But some of them if they've got like a payroll or, you know, accounting department that has strict rules is that they might not be able to pay you until after the gig with what's called net 30 day terms. What that means is that it's standard practice, they pay for the services that they've hired 30 days after they were rendered. And so that's just their rules. And you can either be mad about that, or you can accept that, hey, this is just one of the rules of playing this game for both corporate and nonprofit events, and accept it and get more corporate events because of it. Because there will be some musicians who get so pissed about that, that they take themselves out of eligibility for these multi $1,000 gigs, simply because they don't want to wait 30 days until after they play the gig to play them. But if you treat your music career as a business, then you understand that you will have cash flow available to cover your expenses. Between them, you know, don't just like I have to pay my rent, let me wait until this gig pays me to pay my rent. Like you got to plan and budget in advance for that. And when you're in the hiring process for this gig, like they will let you know that they're not just going to spring that on you. After you play the gig, you say where's my check? And then they're like, well, you'll get it in a month from now. So I've had some considerations about nonprofit gigs. The other consideration I mentioned earlier, is that not all nonprofits have this kind of budget for entertainment. And they might ask you to, like you reduce your rate, they'll ask you do you have a nonprofit rate? And what I do for that is hit really depends. Like, as a bandleader. I don't discount my band's services, like I want to pay our musicians, what they deserve for every gig, which means the choices I have then are to reduce my own pay to accept their request of a discount, or not take the gig at all. And, you know, to make that decision, I think about the nonprofit is this a nonprofit that I would normally support and to donate my own time and money to. And if it is, then I will consider reducing my rate in exchange for what we'd call it a sponsorship. So I did a whole episode about sponsoring nonprofit gigs. This is where that factors in. Although you can have an aggressive strategy where you choose to sponsor nonprofit events, that would be a great way to break into the nonprofit scene by sponsoring events right out of the gate. Because, you know, nonprofits would love some free entertainment. However, they are also willing to pay for it. So it is a choice that you have to make. It's a strategic when it's like what chess move am I going to make? I'm not just reacting to, you know, somebody trying to capture my king in chess. So, yeah, that's kind of the overview of nonprofit events. I will share a quick story about that American Cancer Society gig that we played. This was for my group Dream City Strings. I don't remember the exact year I think it was like 2018 or so. We got asked to play the American Cancer Society gala in Milwaukee. And I said yes, the gig was a full paying gig, including sound engineering. And it coincided with a time that a couple of the people who were working with me on starting up Dream City Strings like from the business side and BookLive. They were in Milwaukee If you were doing like a hackathon, we were working together on stuff, doing lots of whiteboarding and planning to just take over the world. So they were in town. And it was also when the Milwaukee Brewers were in the NLCS, which was like, you know, the ham. What is the NLCS? I don't remember even what that stands for National League conference series or something. Fishy, like this step right before the World Series, which is a big deal for the Milwaukee Brewers. And so they were in town. They were ready to party. But the problem was, we went, we're going to the NLCS right after the American Cancer Society Gala was happening. So we decided, let's have all three of us go to this gig that other musicians were playing like I'd hired out other musicians to play this gig. Let's go to this gig and take some pictures. And you guys just get to experience a gala. And this was an I was a bit more naive than I am right now. And it was a mistake having those people there because I told the organizers like my setup crew, which wasn't completely untrue, they did help set up the chairs in the sound equipment. But then, you know, they were dressed real nice. And then went about being party guests at this gala. So they're kind of crashing party. And the organizer noticed. And I got an email. I actually think they mentioned it in a review of our group afterwards. They're like, yeah, it didn't seem like it took three people to set up. And it's like, crap, that was a big mistake. So don't do what I did. You know, treat these gigs. Like the true professional, I know you are. And, yeah, be professional. Treat the gigs with respect. Don't bring anyone extra. That was a dumb mistake on my part. But I've obviously learned from it. I'll still make mistakes here and there. But you know, not that one. So hope that was helpful insight on the high paying gig world of nonprofit events, and the strategies on how to get them and how to maintain a good reputation that gets you asked to play future nonprofit events. And don't forget, like, when you play one gig type, you magnetically attract other gig types. I've had it happen where we played a nonprofit event, and somebody in the audience is a CEO of a corporation, because you know, that's those are the typical donors to these nonprofits. They're like, Oh, man, your act was so good. We got to have you at our corporate event. Are you available for our holiday party? So one gig type magnetically attracts others. And so it's just a matter of getting in the game and being aggressive enough to stay in the game and make those connections. Hopefully, that was helpful. Thanks for tuning in to another episode of The gigging musician podcast. Remember, "You are just one gig away!".