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Topic: How do you deal with Not- for- Profit inquiries
Message: Posted by: randyburtis (Jun 10, 2009 01:20PM)
I live in a community with lots of these groups and get calls to do shows, you get the lines(which are basically true) of,"We don't have much money(although some groups get government funding so they are in a different class than other groups...)"

How do you handle that, do you stay with your same show price, offer a not for profit group discount, or what?

I offer a discount for that group(if they are the not government backed ones) and tend to direct them to the medium road shows rather than my full stage shows which would be out of their range to start with.
Message: Posted by: RJE (Jun 10, 2009 01:47PM)
We will do only so many NFP shows a year either for free with a tax donation receipt for a specified amount, or for a reduced rate but also with a tax donation receipt for an additional amount.

Once we reach that limit, for all other inquiries we simply say that we are unavailable to do their show, wish them all the best and leave it at that.
Message: Posted by: Al Angello (Jun 10, 2009 04:49PM)
Q. We don't have much money for entertainment, but we are paying the DJ. We just choose to not pay you.
A. If I don't have a paying job that day I'll be there. LOL

After a few calls like that the charity jobs will get the hint.
Message: Posted by: Bernie Balloons (Jun 10, 2009 05:04PM)
They got the money to spend in most cases BUT some are jut starting out so they got nada.If you like the charity and what they stand for then do it for free.If you just want a job charge them because they will call you next year and put you on the spot for an other free show and will get a bit more demanding. Also do not expect to get much work from it because most of the people who attend the function just do not have the money to spend They got medical bills or no income and that is why they are at the function in the first place They need the help not that it is a bad thing So use your best judgment on this matter. I give them the same price an agent would pay me.

Posted: Jun 10, 2009 6:11pm
Also a Not- for- Profit group does pay the employees They do not work for free .I know they got volunteers but They also make good money to be an administrator of one of these groups
Message: Posted by: Al Angello (Jun 10, 2009 05:13PM)
No Bernie
The people who attend those events will be looking for free entertainment for their pet charity too, so once you get the target on your back it is very hard to take it off.
Message: Posted by: RJE (Jun 10, 2009 05:28PM)
Can you Americans get tax receipts for doing these shows?

In Canada, registered charities can issue a tax receipt in lieu of or as partial payment for a show. The receipt then allows you to deduct money actually earned from your annual taxes. It costs the charity nothing (to the best of my knowledge) and a tax receipt for $1000.00 gets you about $300.00 back on your taxes.

So, if you would normally charge $500.00, ask for a $200.00 fee to be paid and a tax receipt for $1000.00. You then get $200.00 at the time of the performance and $300.00 next spring when you file your taxes for a total of $500.00.

Or, if they have no budget to pay you at all, ask for a tax receipt for $1500.00 and get $450.00 back at tax time.

Anything similar to this in the USA or elsewhere?
Message: Posted by: Al Angello (Jun 10, 2009 05:44PM)
These events generally occur during the busy season, and in order to do the charity job for paper I would have to turn down cash paying jobs, or they want a definite commitment from you two months in advance. My God if they called me in February I'd be easy, but these suckers want you in June, or December, when it's harvest time.
Message: Posted by: Magicalpro (Jun 10, 2009 07:12PM)
My response to those inquiries is that "80% of the jobs I do are for non profit organizations, or low income businesses and therefore I offer my best price to everyone", guess what... more than half the folks that make that inquiry end up booking me for my stated fees.
Message: Posted by: stevezany (Jun 10, 2009 07:25PM)
If the organization is a charitable 501(c)3, and asks about a non-profit rate, I usually offer approx. a 15-25% discount off my "corporate" rate. I believe that legitimate charitable organizations are often good causes worthy of supporting at some level. That being said, my fees still don't fit everyone's budgets.
Message: Posted by: Brian Lehr (Jun 10, 2009 10:36PM)
On 2009-06-10 18:28, RJE wrote:
Can you Americans get tax receipts for doing these shows?

Times, they are a changing!

I do this occasionally here in Alberta (Canada), but more and more charities are telling me that their accountants say that this is no longer legal. My own accountant checked with Revenue Canada, and there doesn't seem to be a problem, but the charities are getting different advice from their accountants.

Message: Posted by: Bill Nuvo (Jun 10, 2009 10:43PM)
Charities and NFPs are different.

I work for a NFP. It puts on a festival (actually 5 festivals in one). NFP means they end their fiscal year with a balance of zero. They have money and can make tonnes of it (grants, sponser, selling tickets, t-shirts...etc. and that money goes to pay the advertisting, the space, city rentals, staff (yes I get an income from the NFP as a staff member) and yes, entertainment).
Message: Posted by: Rodney Palmer (Jun 11, 2009 12:12AM)
As for Non_profits go I will perform 2-3 gigs per year at my choosing. I will only perform if I am the Headliner and I can Sell Merchandise. It also has to be a cause that I respect and a charity that is not under scrutiny. When I receive a call I will let them know within a few weeks. I have never been known as the FREE Entertainer as I make it clear that if they let anyone know I performed for FREE they will never receive a show from me for free.

Message: Posted by: RJE (Jun 11, 2009 05:40AM)
Hi Brian,

Occaisionally, the charity will ask for a cheque back from us.

So let's say I want $200.00 cash + $1000.00 tax receipt for a $500.00 pay out. The charity will give us a cheque for $1200.00 for the show and we then give them a cheque for $1000.00 at the same time. Cheques actually exchange hands and are drawn as cash.
Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Jun 11, 2009 07:54AM)
Randy -

There are a couple of approaches that I take.

I listen to their song and dance about not having money, and how it would be great exposure / publicity for me.

I remind them that I am pretty busy already with paying shows.

1. Then I tell them my fee. If they want to haggle, I remain polite but firm. Occassionally, I book a show, but more often they move on to someone who is easier for them to haggle with. Sometimes I have to remind them, that because I am an entertainer, I get lots of requests for donated / discounted shows. (I also have the personal philosophy that my shows aren't for everyone... some potential customers choose to exclude themselves because they aren't willing to pay my fee.)

I like Kurt's (Magicalpro) comment about "I'm already offering you my best price, because I serve many other customers just like you."

2. I tell them that I serve certain charities each year, and that I will consider their request if they put it in writing and mail it to me. This makes another hoop they have to jump through to get a free show, and most aren't willing to make the effort. If I get a form letter from them (typed, but with my name handwritten in the "Dear --------" area), I don't give it very serious consideration. If they give me a customized letter that I can take they have put some effort into, then I will consider it.

There is a saying that goes like, "There's a price for every prize." If they aren't willing to pay the price in cash, then I want to see some genuine effort / support on their part in lieu of that.

- Donald

P.S. I also agree with the idea of choosing your own favorite charities to seek out and support.
Message: Posted by: Brian Lehr (Jun 11, 2009 08:35PM)
On 2009-06-11 06:40, RJE wrote:
Hi Brian,

Occaisionally, the charity will ask for a cheque back from us.

So let's say I want $200.00 cash + $1000.00 tax receipt for a $500.00 pay out. The charity will give us a cheque for $1200.00 for the show and we then give them a cheque for $1000.00 at the same time. Cheques actually exchange hands and are drawn as cash.

The only problem with this is that you end up having to pay taxes on the amount they wrote you a cheque for. Or am I missing something here (which is quite likely).

Message: Posted by: TonyB2009 (Jun 12, 2009 03:46AM)
I get these approaches quite often, and in Ireland we cannot get a tax break for helping out. In the end of the day if you are doing this as a hobby, then they are just another audience. But if this is your living, and you have to pay your mortgage and support your family, then they are abusing you by expecting you to work for nothing. Other volunteers give up their free time, not their paid work, to help.
One group approached me recently and agreed a price. Then they rang back a week later telling me I would have to reduce my price (not asking me) because the bouncy castles were dearer than they expected. I told them I would accept the same reduction as the bouncy castle man was taking, and I have not heard back from them. Another gig bites the dust.
Another charity asked me, on the busiest day of the year, to supply two magicians, a number of face painters and balloon modellers, and perhaps a stit-walker and fire-eater, all on the house.
"We'll mention you on our website," they said. They can mention all they like, but they didn't get me.
The best advice is to pick a few charities that you personally believe in and do your best for them. The rest have to realise that you are a professional making a living, not someone they can bum free stuff off. After all, they are paying the caterers and other suppliers.
Message: Posted by: Alan Munro (Jun 12, 2009 09:59AM)
Many of these are during times when the paid shows are coming in. They'll have to pay the same rate as everyone else. If I'm available, I may do a freebie, but the group will become a test audience for new material.

Keep in mind that the late, great Monk Watson said something to the effect that charities spend money to make money. You may be hurting someone who could be making a living from such gigs.

Besides, you don't want to be the only guy who isn't being paid. You'll look like an idiot, and lose a lot of respect that way.
Message: Posted by: Al Angello (Jun 12, 2009 10:00AM)
It is good to see someone else that refuses to work for free during the busy season. Those charities do pay vendors who they can't get for free, so don't be a sucker.
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Jun 12, 2009 12:49PM)
All "not-for-profit" means is that they are not taxpayers.

Many of the events for the "Not-for-profits" are sponsored. Find a sponsor. (Don't forget that your time is usually less expensive than some company executive's time. The sponsoring company just wants recognition. A sponsored magic show is also newsworthy!

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Message: Posted by: Kent Wong (Jun 29, 2009 11:22PM)
On 2009-06-11 21:35, Brian Lehr wrote:
On 2009-06-11 06:40, RJE wrote:
Hi Brian,

Occaisionally, the charity will ask for a cheque back from us.

So let's say I want $200.00 cash + $1000.00 tax receipt for a $500.00 pay out. The charity will give us a cheque for $1200.00 for the show and we then give them a cheque for $1000.00 at the same time. Cheques actually exchange hands and are drawn as cash.

The only problem with this is that you end up having to pay taxes on the amount they wrote you a cheque for. Or am I missing something here (which is quite likely).


But this is the correct way to obtain the tax receipt. You do wind up taking a tax hit on your invoice.

Posted: Jun 30, 2009 12:24am
I personally select one or two charities to support during the course of a year. For those select charities, I may perform at a slightly reduced rate. For all others, I will either decline the show or charge my regular fees.

Message: Posted by: Stevethomas (Jun 30, 2009 05:47AM)
I had a call yesterday for an organization looking for some entertainment. It's a state-run thing, part of the Corps of Engineers. Said they needed something "non-profit". I asked if he meant "free entertainment", and he said yes. I just thanked him for calling and said that if they come up with a budget, please call me. I was NOT rude, and he knows what I do, he's hired me for 2 different birthday events for his children (might've been grandkids). He said it would be a great chance to get my name out there. Yeah, that'll pay the bills.

Message: Posted by: Potty the Pirate (Jun 30, 2009 10:43AM)
I offer a standard 10% discount to any charity, no questions. If that's not enough, I MAY consider the gig, if it fits these criteria:
The charity must be involved with helping kids, no other charitable causes are ever considered for a further discount.
The timings must allow me to work another gig the same day, if at a weekend.
There must be additional benefits to me, such as free advertising in the programme, TV or radio coverage, or a large and fairly local audience, to whom I can distribute hundreds of "crew cards".
For those who have NO money to offer, or very little, I suggest they contact the local branch of the Magic Circle, who have many amateurs desperate for gigs!
Having said that, I have volunteered for one local charity "We Play Too" - I approached them, and offered FREE shows. Why? Because the charity aims to provide playground swings, roundabouts, etc, for disabled kids, and I feel it's a very worthy cause.
The first playground will be built in my local (very beautiful) park. I roller blade through it most every day. The park has a strong pirate theme, with pirate boats, a pirate island, pirate train, and lots more. All the staff at the park know me, and I've done a couple of pirate shows in the park, they were fantastically received.
Of course, it's not all altruistic - I hope that giving free shows for the charity will increase public awareness of Potty the Pirate, as well as the charity.
I recently had one of these enquiries, asking if I could work a30-minute show - for peanuts. But the hirer planned to try to get about SIX entertainers with this arrangement. I naturally suggested that they pay ONE entertainer a normal fee, instead of trying to have all these performers working a few minutes for a tiny fee!
Potty ;)
Message: Posted by: harris (Jun 30, 2009 11:03AM)

Sponsors are wonderful "things"/people/business".

(into the show and the business)
Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (Jun 30, 2009 11:56AM)
I understand them asking. Unless it's for a group that I'm affiliated with, such as my kid's school, I simply don't do them.

I usually tell them to call cub scout troops and that there are usually some little kids that would be willing to do a free show or maybe a dad.