Now that we have determined potential partners and venues for our concert, it is time to start setting it up! (If you missed Part 1, you can find it here!)
You want to begin the process of reaching out at least 4 months before your ideal concert date. This is going to give you better date availability and also allows for delays in correspondence, which is absolutely something you should plan for.
BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS WITH PARTNERS
After you have decided the route you want to go for your partnership, start reaching out and trying to build a relationship. You should definitely have various options here, and it is extremely important to only reach out to one organization at a time. If you reach out to all of them at once, you could end up with multiple organizations that are willing to help you. If you have to back track and say something along the lines of, "Oh, actually never mind we are going with someone else," it is extremely unprofessional and will reflect poorly on you. Reach out to your top choice first and if they are not able to work with you THEN keep working down your list!
When you begin reaching out to people, the best way to do this is either face to face or through phone calls. I know, I know...we live in a digital world and e-mail is so much more convenient, right?! And who even makes phone calls anymore? (I'll be honest here, I sure don't. Even my GRANDPA now texts me because I hate talking on the phone so much!) BUT. When you have the opportunity to actually meet or speak with somebody, this forms a much stronger relationship versus communicating through the anonymity of the internet. Face to face meetings and phone calls are your chance to let your charming personality shine!
"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."
Make sure you take the time to do your research before you meet or speak to your potential partner. Why do you want to partner with this specific organization or person? What do they stand for that is in line with what you are doing? Why do you think this organization would be a perfect pair with your concert? How is it going to benefit them to partner with you?
If you can answer these questions as well as be able to present facts and informational tidbits about the organization or person, you are going to WOW them, my friend. So turn on the schmoozing, have some compliments ready, and go get 'em, tiger!
If your top pick is unable to partner with you for whatever reason, always always always be gracious and thank them for their time and consideration and then just move on to your next pick!
After you find your perfect match and confirm the organization or person is on board, ask them what channels they have that they would be willing to promote your event through. Most organizations are going to be willing to promote it through their social media channels, and some will even send out an email blast and/or add it to their website calendar!
REACHING OUT TO VENUES
For this portion, I don't think face to face is necessarily as important, so phone calls are completely fine. Once you have listed out in order of preference your potential venue list, (same as you did with the potential partners) start reaching out one at a time. Obviously if you already know somebody at the venue, reach out to them first! If not, just call the venue and let them know you are trying to set up a concert benefitting/partnering with/whatever (insert partner's name here), and would like to know who you need to speak to for more information.
It is important to note that some venues have policies that DO NOT allow benefit events, so if that is the angle you choose for your concert, be sure to mention that on the phone to avoid any possible issues later on. I have found it is best to give them a full overview of what you are planning up front because you need to make sure they are ultimately willing and able to accommodate (Will you need access the night before to move in large percussion instruments? Are you trying to host a reception afterwards and need a space for that as well?)
If your first venue of choice is unable or unwilling to accommodate, just thank them for their time and move on to the next!
After you find a venue that is willing to host, be sure to inquire what channels they are willing to promote your event through as well! If you can get double promotion from your partner AND the venue, not only is it free promotion, it will help you reach an audience you may not have had access to otherwise!
PAYING FOR VENUES:
Generally speaking, I would avoid booking a venue that is going to charge you anything more than $100, but ideally, you should pay nothing. With so many options available that are no cost, it doesn't make sense to shell out. Even if a church may not be your first choice, 9 times out of 10, you can book a concert for free. Some churches may ask you to perform a service or two in exchange, but hey, that is a small price to pay for a FREE concert venue with good acoustics!
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