Fundraising Diaries - "I Organised a Jazz Concert"

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Fundraising Diaries -

Fundraising Diaries - "I Organised a Jazz Concert"

An Interview with Alex Keeley

Name: Alex Keeley

Age: 18

Currently: A stoooodent!

Amount raised: £700

Hi there Alex - it seems that word has spread about your stonker of a fundraiser, so let's cut to the chase; what did you get up to, what's it all for and how much did you manage to raise?

I organised a jazz and funk concert in a local hall. To sum it up there was good music, flowing drinks and a nice atmosphere. It was really good fun and I ended up making £700, which was fantastic.

I'm going to Bolivia with Project Trust, to spend a year working with a charity providing support for street kids in La Paz. I'll have time off also to spend travelling around South America, so it should be an amazing experience.

What gave you the idea to organise a jazz and funk concert? Didn't you fancy sitting in a bath of beans?!

It was something I knew that I could organise and I also knew a lot of people who could help me out with it. I also thought that it would have broad appeal, a concert being something that a lot of people of all ages would be likely to enjoy. I figured that people's pocket empty a lot quicker when they're having a good time and when you are actively doing something that they can be part of.

It can't have been easy to organise an entire concert! How much planning did it involve and what expenses were there that people planning to do something similar should bear in mind?

If I am honest, it was quite a stressful process. First I needed a venue which cost around £120 for a hall. That was easy enough to find but then I needed to sort out getting a licence to sell alcohol on the premises, That was a difficult one and it needs to get sorted well in advance. You need to be part of a charity, so I had to send all of the relevant forms up to Project Trust in Scotland to get a counter signature to prove that I was.

The drinks can be got on sale or return which is very useful, as anything you don't sell can be returned and you don't lose any money. The band charged £200 to cover expenses, which sounds a lot but was only a quarter of their usual minimum fee.

Then I needed to sell tickets. I only had to sell around 120 because the venue was quite small, however this was still a daunting task. Of course you tell everyone, then end up selling all of the tickets and spend the last two weeks telling people they can't come - which was a real shame. I wish I could have secured a bigger venue so more people could attend and my money raising potential could increase too!

Who provided the music and how easy was it to get someone to play for the event?

I was quite lucky on this count. The music was provided by a friends jazz band and a professional funk group, who I knew because their front man used to be my physics teacher! I was really lucky in that I had the right contacts and the band provided PA and lights so we just had to help him set it up. I think it is important to think about the people you know and can get to help for your fundraiser - there is no way that I could have set up this event if I didn't know any suitable musicians!

Did the event take a lot of promoting? You also got a piece about your gap year in the local press didn't you...?

The local paper did a thing on my gap year and mentioned that I was having the gig. That turned out to be really helpful, as some people read it and got in touch about the concert while others donated money as well. I also put flyers up, but mostly it was just me trying to get everyone I knew to come along.

So how did the event go? Did you find people quite generous or will you need to carry on with the fundraising efforts?

Most people knew me so knew what I was doing anyway and that I was raising money on behalf of the charity. This meant people were very generous. Of course, you get a few jokes about donating money so you can go on holiday for a year but that is all meant in good humour. I really enjoyed the night and it was great to get loads of people I knew to come along and have a good time. The event was a great success - especially when I counted up that I'd made £700!

I had also planned to do a sponsored skydive, because that is something really impressive that lots of people would sponsor you to do. However my success in the last few weeks might mean that I don't need to something as grand as that to raise the total of £3950 for my placement. I'm now about £1000 short of this. I'll also need some of my own money to travel with once I'm there but I'll work and use savings for that. I will need to top this up though with some kind of event.

So you've proved that you can make big bucks through fundraising, got any top tips for people wanting to do something similar?

  • Get an alcohol licence (guaranteed profit!)
  • Make the venue look nice. Have an ambient feel so people can relax and enjoy themselves.
  • Organise well in advance and have a team of people to help you out.
  • Mix with people on the night
  • Enjoy yourself!

Thanks Alex for sharing the ins and outs of your fundraiser with us and loads of luck with raising the last £1,000. Have a great time in Bolivia and congrats on being crowned our fundraiser of the month for March.

Thanks guys - I'll keep you posted.

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