Fundraisers & Benefits
Let’s Do Something Important. Together!
In these troubled economic times, many important community organizations are struggling to raise money and awareness. A Don White Fundraiser Concert can help your organization accomplish something important.
Don White is a unique performer –– equal parts comedian, author and songwriter –– who has been selling out venues across the country for fifteen years. Since 1999, Don has successfully partnered with dozens of organizations to raise much needed funds and awareness by presenting benefit concerts. A Don White Concert creates an incredibly powerful fundraising opportunity by combining an organization’s dedicated supporters with Don’s media savvy publicist and enthusiastic fan base.
Keep reading to learn more about how your organization can present a successful Don White Concert. You can contact us directly at 781-595-5827 or by e-mail.
Several years ago I was involved in a series of poorly managed fundraisers. I subsequently took a long look at the process to see if I could determine what caused them to be unsuccessful. I sat down with my agent and we discussed everything we knew about the art of fundraising. We made a list of things that we felt increased the likelihood of success and a list of things that we felt increased the likelihood of failure. We then developed a formula that, if adhered to, provided the best opportunity for a successful event. I really enjoy raising money for worthy causes. When I make the decision to participate in a fundraiser I want to be sure that there is a reasonable chance that the efforts of everyone involved will prove fruitful.
My agent and I knew that most people who asked us to help them to raise money for their special cause were well-intentioned and enthusiastic but had no previous fundraising experience. We decided that one of our key responsibilities would be to teach them everything we had learned about what makes a successful fundraiser. We know that there are countless good causes out there and that we will not be able to help all of them. However, we decided that we would give careful consideration to every proposal.
If you are interested in putting on a concert to raise money for a worthy cause you should be prepared to answer these three questions:
#1 What are we raising money for?
I have to feel good about it.
#2 How hard are you willing to work?
Very hard I hope. We really want to feel that you are driven to do all that it takes to make the event a success.
If we decide to work together I will put a lot of time and energy into getting the word out to my fan base. You will need to put an equal amount of time and energy into making sure that every person and organization that is interested in the cause is made aware of the event. For example, if we are raising money for the homeless, you will need to get a list of every organization within striking distance of the event that is involved with the issue of homelessness and make sure that everyone who works in the field is aware of the event. Getting the people who are interested in supporting the cause to attend the event is the key ingredient for success.
There should be flyers in every shelter and clinic. You should be prepared to encourage ticket purchases from people who want to support the event but will not be able to attend.
We will work together with you on publicity by supplying you with all our radio and newspaper contacts. Newspapers are often very supportive of fundraisers and can play an extremely important roll in the success of an event.
#3 Do you have a venue that you can use for free?
I have my own sound system so any church, function hall, or school can be turned into a concert space. You need to provide a venue and you should not have to pay for it. This is a benefit. Keep your costs down. There needs to be enough chairs to seat all the people that will be attending. I will take the responsibility of making sure that the room is set up in a manner that best suits a concert.
To summarize …
#1 I need to believe in the cause.
#2 You need to be willing to work yourself into the ground for the cause and I need to believe that you are not just saying what I want to hear but will actually do it.
#3 You already have a suitable venue.
Frequently asked questions
Don, what do you see as your primary responsibility with this event?
My primary responsibility is to put on a fantastic show so that everyone in attendance has a great night out.
Will you work for free?
Why not, it’s a worthy cause?
Simple. There is no person on earth that has more genuine compassion for those in need than Mrs. White. However, until such time as Mr. White can generate a standard of living that is significantly less hand to mouth, she feels that his family should remain his primary fundraising concern.
What ingenious method have you devised to best insure that the cause and the artist both do well at this event?
Excellent question. When I agree to perform at your benefit I will enthusiastically encourage my fans to attend. Contrary to popular delusional belief, there is not an unlimited supply of Don White fans in the world. Those who attend this event, will not be attending my concert next week. I probably won’t see them again for a year. I needed to devise a formula where I could bring home a night’s pay without negatively impacting the finances of the cause.
And now a short tutorial on one of the great oxymorons of all time – Folk finances.
A standard arrangement between a musician and a venue consists of a guarantee versus a percentage of the door receipts – whichever is higher. If it snows and the concert is poorly attended, the artist gets the guarantee. If the show is well attended and the door receipts are good, the artist gets the percentage.
That’s all very interesting but what does it have to do with my fundraiser?
Don’t get snippy. In order to show good faith toward the fundraiser I will significantly lower my percentage. (Roughly from three-quarters to half.) I will also lower the guarantee to an amount that simply covers expenses.
So, can I assume that all the money generated for the cause will be limited to roughly half of the door receipts?
No. The real money gets generated once the people are at the concert.
What the hell are you talking about?
Calm down. The people attending this benefit are there because they believe in it and they want to support it. It is your responsibility to give them as many ways as possible to spend their money on the cause. A fantastic way to do this is to have a silent auction.
How do I acquire the things to have at the silent auction?
Like this: You assemble your inner circle of friends and associates who are either going to help with the planning of the event or who are interested in supporting in some other way. You get your friend to donate two of his season tickets to a Red Sox game. “C’mon, Charlie it’s for charity – make it a game with the Yankees.” I’ve seen box seats for a Red Sox game bring in $400.00 at a silent auction. Someone you know has season tickets to the Patriots, Celtics and or Bruins. Take a good look at your inner circle. Does someone own a bed and breakfast? Can you get them to donate a weekend for two? How about a massage from your hippie friend? Everyone you know has something big or small they can donate and it makes them feel great to do it. It also makes the people who bid on these things feel great to get a good deal and to help the cause.
Then you go to the community. For example, The Wang Center. “We’re doing a fundraiser for this tremendous cause in your community. Could you donate a couple of front row seats to The Nutcracker?” They might say no. But most of these organizations really want to be seen as friends in the community. If you are willing to put out the energy, there is no limit to what you can manifest. A good silent auction in conjunction with a good crowd can generate significantly more money than the door receipts.
Is there anything else we can do to raise money while people are at the concert?
You can raffle off the smaller and less expensive things that were donated. I will build my performance around your needs. I want the event to be a success so take as much time as necessary to generate money and awareness.
Should we have someone speak about the cause at the show?
Yes! Fundraising is one important part of the event. Awareness raising is equally as important. There will be a percentage of the audience that is there just to see the show. This is a great opportunity to make them aware of how their ticket purchase is benefiting their community.
What if my benefit is for an individual and not for an organization?
I have helped to raise money for large organizations with global resources. I have also done many fundraisers for individuals and families. I am comfortable in both situations.
Should we serve alcohol at our fundraiser?
That depends. I am a solo performer singing unfamiliar original songs. I need a concert atmosphere where I can have everyone’s attention. There have been precious few situations in the history of the world where the consumption of alcohol has increased the attentiveness of an audience. However, most people have no trouble recollecting a situation where the opposite was true. Moderate consumption of alcohol will not be a problem for me but frankly, I’d rather stay home, watch bad TV and hit myself in the head with a hammer than to try to entertain a hundred people milling around the bar at the VFW hall.
How important is the date that we choose for our event?
It’s extremely important. I am essentially a regional artist. I take great care to insure that I do not overplay a specific area. I will try to place your event in my schedule at a time when I will not be performing in the same area. In this way we can maximize our potential press support and audience draw.
Are there causes that you will not consider raising money for?
Will you list them here for the whole world to see?
Are there causes that you are partial to?
Yes. I am particularly sensitive to mental health issues. If you are in the business of making life better for those among us with mental health challenges, you have my ear. I am also interested in causes that benefit teenagers at risk. My son and I have performed in the past for young people who were spending the holidays in detox and for many other high-risk teen groups. I have always felt that the most important part of these performances is to present to these young people the possibility that a father and son can actually have a good relationship. I know that many of them have parents that are more messed up than they are but after these shows I always feel that at least now they know that there are other possibilities available to them when they start their own families.
My fundraiser doesn’t benefit high-risk teens or persons with mental health challenges. Does this mean you are not interested in it?
Absolutely not. Those are just a couple that are closest to my heart.
This sounds like a lot of work.
That’s not a question. But you are correct. This ain’t a job for no sissy. You have to ask yourself, how much do I believe in this cause? How much time and energy am I willing to put into it and am I going to need to go on antidepressants if it doesn’t turn out as good as I hoped?
Is there anything else I need to know?
You need to know that I really appreciate the fact that you are willing to take time out of your busy life to try to do something good in the world. One reason why I am putting all of this energy into trying to insure that the fundraisers I get involved with have a reasonable chance of being successful is that I absolutely love the people that I meet doing this.
If you are interested in talking about raising money for your special cause, e-mail or call 781-856-3249.