How The Universal Appeal of Music Helps Nonprofits
How can nonprofits and charities can meet and exceed all their goals? One of the best ways to cause a positive association between donors and the cause is through music. We look at the psychology of giving as spurred on by what the Colorado Nonprofit Association calls “specials events".
The reputable think tank, the Colorado Nonprofit Association (CNA), has written extensively on the subject of understanding how and why people give to charities. Their scholarly approach to helping non-profits achieve their fundraising goals is cited repeatedly as the reference standard.
The association has conducted several extensive research projects on charitable giving and nonprofits, and on the causes, connections, and actions that lead to making a donation. Organization wanting to increase their donations should note what CNA calls “special events”. Special events were the second most productive method of generating donations, with word-of-mouth being the first. The special events category includes fairs, ballroom dancing, auctions, and the most popular method of all - live music events.
Music is the most unifying experience known, always has been and always will be. Music transcends political and religious convictions as a neutral, positive force understandable by everyone.
Scientific American has previously reported on a study that demonstrated music directly elicits a range of emotions: music with a quick tempo in a major key brought about all the physical changes associated with happiness in listeners. Happy people give more. Music makes people happy.
Concert for a Cause
Last week, jazz music legend Gerald Albright performed at the Jazz It Up Music Festival in San Diego, California. The festival is the primary fundraiser for The Trinity House a nonprofit helping homeless women and children with a safe place to live. As described on the website:
The mission of The Trinity House, is to provide transitional housing in San Diego to underserved individuals and families in need, and to coordinate successful re-integration of residents into the community by promoting a positive transformation of their lives.
Fundraising and donations efforts are made year round, using a variety of methods, but the Jazz It Up festival is by far the single most successful effort. Many jazz fans bought tickets for an average of $50 each to attend the event with the proceeds going to Trinity House.
The Trinity House charity tapped into the universal appeal of music in order to cause people to contribute to their cause. Jazz fans may not have even given much thought to the altruism of their actions, and simply wanted to attend the special event to see their favorite performers.
It's a small world (after all)
The universal appeal of music can be a non-profit’s best friend, so much so it becomes a self-perpetuating dynamo. An example of this can been seen in the Small World Music Society’s annual music festival in Toronto Canada. The Festival celebrates the cultural diversity of Canada’s largest city by bringing performers from across the country and around the world. The festival runs for several consecutive days, spread across multiple venues in and around Toronto.
Small World is a nonprofit organization with their stated mission as “promotion, community outreach and business development.” That goal is achieved through various live music events occurring throughout the year, with the Small World Music Festival being the primary event.
Noteworthy is the seeming contradiction of many festival events being free to attend. How can a non-profit hope to raise donations when the event doesn’t cost anything? It is another example of the psychology of giving cited earlier - the highly effective, universal appeal of music.
While acquiring tickets for the free event, Small World Society can accept donations using a custom donations request. The process, as seen by the music fan, is easy to understand and politely worded. The prompt for a donation taps into the excitement the patron already feels and encourages the impulsive act to give.
Live Music Event Ticketing for Nonprofits
If you are part of a charity or nonprofit organization looking for ways to increase fundraising results, a live music event should be considered. The universal appeal of music means you can raise more money while making people happy just like Jazz it Up and Small World Music have done. The ticketing software you use is just as important as the performances you book. Make sure you can accept (and retain 100% of) donations as part of the ticket buying process, even if the event is free.
ThunderTix has easy-to-use yet powerful tools for nonprofits to get the most from their charity events. Our experience with for-profit live music events is directly applicable to your not for profit event.