File Under: Building Your Music Business

Each year for Thanksgiving we write articles that fit the holiday. This year we’re going to focus on the giving part of Thanksgiving by sharing how you can promote both a good cause and yourself while doing good for others.

Before we jump into the giving part of Thanksgiving, it's worth reviewing the thanks part. In 2015 and 2016, we talked about what to do when you get thanked:

And that brings us to 2017 and the focusing on the second part of the holiday: the giving part. There's a long history of using music to bring people together to help the world, and you can do this with your own music. Here are just 3 ideas:

1. Hold a charity concert.

Venues, charities, and other artists usually jump at the chance to work together to stage a show to promote and raise money for a good cause. The best part is you can do this almost anywhere, since every town has a local charity of some kind. The press and media are naturally interested in charity concerts and the charity itself might have a publicist you can leverage to get the word out. Especially if there are any well-known acts which are part of the lineup -- something easier to get when there's a charity concert at stake (which can boost the draw and help you get in front of other potential fans). When you've done a charity event, add it to your press kit, booking kit, and fact sheet since it continues to highlight the charity, as well as your own contribution.

2. Donate a percentage of your sales to a charity.

Doing this can be as simple as putting up a sign on how you’re donating a percentage of your sales at your merch table for a charity. You can then remind people buying your merch is "for a good cause" which acts as a good incentive for people to purchase what you're selling. If you do this, be sure to follow through and account for the money you collected properly. When you present the money you and your fans raised to the charity at a later date, you can promote that as well since it both shows that you lived up to your promise as well as shines another light on the charity.

3. Volunteer to give the gift of music.

And then there's giving of your time and talent. There are some charities that are always seeking musician volunteers. One such charity is Musicians On Call, an organization which sends musicians to hospitals so they can perform in-room to patients undergoing treatment or can't leave their beds. Another way to give is to use your music skills to help a charity. If you're a songwriter, you can write and record a song for one since they often need to promote themselves on videos and radio. Or you can use your studio to let them record a high-quality audio spot for their promotional purposes.

Keep in mind there’s another incentive to help others: if you have a music business, any of the methods above where you raise money for a charity can offset your business income and reduce its taxes. So, after you give thanks this Thanksgiving, see if you can find ways to give back with your music as well!

Challenge: Try one of these giving ideas, and have a great Thanksgiving!


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Photo credit: Newtown grafitti