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Mindpro
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On 2012-08-15 12:35, MichaelDouglas wrote:
I've had about 4 calls in a period of 2 weeks requesting a free or discounted show. I just had to explain that I get these requests often and am unable to accommodate all of these types of requests. People generally understand. However, I do them at times. It think that it is good to give back in some form or another. When I choose to give back to the community via donating a show, I make sure to get some promo pics that I can use on my web site and/or facebook.


While I no longer do these types of performance "for free" (the real term, rather than donate my services), let me share my perspective when I did do them. This would also be my advice to anyone who specifically asked me about this.

As mentioned above, others are getting paid for their services (caterer, etc.) albeit at a discount or special discounted price more than likely. The thing to remember is if you are even considering doing these types of events is to create a win-win deal between you and the charity, person or event contacting you. They must have something invested in you (and the deal) to truly value and appreciate your services.

With that understood, the next thing I point out is there are more than one way to profit in business. We often focus primarily on income or money paid for our services. However, there are other non-monetary things that could be beneficial and lucrative to you and your entertainment business. There is always the concept of offering a reduced "donation or charity" rate, but other things of value to you could also be radio, television and newspaper coverage, proper (as provided and approved by you) credit and inclusion in all printed promotional materials (ads, media, posters, fliers, tickets, signage, etc.), an exhibit booth at the event, direct affiliation and sponsorship inclusion with any celebrity or main feature highlights, on-air or newspaper feature stories with their media contacts and co-sponsors (they have the ability to arrange this with their media buys or trades), press coverage at the event, the opportunity to offer, present or distribute your promotional materials or promotional activities/contest/campaign at the event, and any other possibilities and opportunities that could showcase, promote, expose and directly present your business and offerings to all attendees and the community/public.

Let me give you an example. I once was asked to Emcee the seasonal Grand Opening Gala for a newly restored historically cherished theater (now Performing Arts Center) in the town in which I grew up. It was beautiful and the main attraction of the downtown area. It was named one of the top 10 theaters in America at the time. It was a gem. Each season they would kick off with a major celebrity performance and announce their lineup of shows and productions for the season (year). They called and asked me if I would be willing to offer my services to M.C. the show, and post performance VIP event for all the sponsors, season ticket holders and VIPs. I said yes, as I thought it would be beneficial to me. I agreed to do it because Frank Sinatra was the major celebrity (it was a secret at the time) performance booked to kickoff the season gala. I can tell you I was treated like a pee-on (sp). I did a great job and many others congratulated and thanked me, but no one from the theater or their board of directors. They specifically kept me away from Sinatra, although they of course wanted to use my sound system for the entire after event party. I was not even mentioned in the "acknowledgments and thank you's" at the event, no mention in the show program, no mention in any print or media...absolutely nothing. Not even a verbal thank you. I did receive a thank you note a couple of weeks later, not even signed by a human.

I decided that while it was cool to be part of the Sinatra event, and I did hang with my buddy Tom Dressen and Frank Sinatra Jr., I was not appreciated, respected and would not do it again if they asked, which they did again a few weeks later for another event. I said no for the next nine months each time they called.

Then about the same time the next year they called again for the celebrity Seasonal Kick-off Gala, I again said no. This time they called back on my answering machine (yes it was a while ago) and asked me why I would not be willing to work with them. Before I returned the call, I made some notes to explain my position. As I was doing so, I began thinking about what WOULD make it worth my time and interest. When I called them back and gave my reasons for declining their offer, the person apologized a dozen times and asked me if there was anything they could do to change my mind.

Here's what I said I'd be willing to agree to:

My name and logo on ALL printed materials related to and used in promotion of the event.
A 1/2 page ad (they gave me a full page) in the show/event program
Billing on the Marquee (it was small on the bottom, but nonetheless on there)
Inclusion in all media, including at least one radio segment interview and newspaper feature story
Acknowledgment on stage during the performance
A one on one interview segment with their featured celebrity at the VIP After Party.
And a photo op with the featured celebrity

Amazingly they agreed to everything I requested. I did it under these conditions annually for seven years working with George Burns, Steve Allen, Tony Bennett, Loretta Lynn, Tony Danza, and Tom Jones. It ended when the last time I did it when I got in a huge argeument with Dionne Warwick because I called her out on her uncooperative diva bulls**t. The theater agreed with me, I was asked back again but declined.

I can't tell you how much exposure, credibility and ultimately business (high end) I received from doing this arrangement. People still come up to me years later saying they remember those great events and the fine job I did. The press picked up on the Warwick story and many people sided with me on the way she treated myself and others from the theater and event.

My point is to show that we can profit from these arrangements in ways other than monetary. But it has to be win-win for both parties as each gains something valuable, and they (the client) has to have something invested, understood and executed in you and your performance, rather than you just handing your services to them free for the asking.
Dannydoyle
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The simple fact is it costs money to raise money.

We have always done fundraising on our own terms.

But if you believe in the charity or the cause or the family involved there is nothing wrong with doing it. I simply say be realistic about how this works is all.

I almost guarantee the place it is being held at is getting paid and so forth.

There are reasons magicians have this happen to them. One large one is THEY FALL FOR IT constantly. Always seem to have. I am not sure why. People do ask though, because it "seems" as if we have no real overhead accept for our time. They watch our shows and it is not like the meat guy or the hall, or DJ, it seems as if we have really nothing that costs much. This perception leads to asking to donate your time.

Also you find that when people think it is more your "hobby" than your profession they are more willing to ask you to donate stuff. Nothing against doing magic as a hobby, but this is how they think, not me.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Al Angello
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These non profit organizations pay for everything to make their event a success with the exception of entertainment because there is always a stupid free magician who want EXPOSURE, but in most cases you only EXPOSE your get is to other free jobs.
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
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http://home.comcast.net/~juggleral/
"Footprints on your ceiling are almost gone"
sb
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When someone wants you to work for free, because of all the exposure, and shows you will book as a result.... you can tell them, "that's great, pay me my full fee now, and when those other gigs come in, I will donate 10-20% of those next shows fees to your group." Oh, and be sure to explain to them, that since this is such a great opportunity for me to get more gigs, that this deal will ensure that the original group makes way more money back than the original booking fee! How can they possibly say no to their group actually making more money!



(obviously I don't practice this...lol)
Dannydoyle
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Look up The Donner Party and see what can happen from exposure. Here is a hint. You die and your friends eat you.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
espmagic
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This started by asking about money/fees. So, if you agree to do it without getting a paycheck, you still need to get something for yourself. My wife and I have done many fundraisers for tax receipts - our normal fee consedered as a donation to the charity itself - and then we use the receipt at tax time for our benefit.

You don't pocket any actual cash, but you save at tax time on what you might have spent.

Lee
Al Angello
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Lee
Just exactly how much less tax do you pay when you turn in a $100 receipt? My suspicion is that they are not even close.
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
http://www.juggleral.com
http://home.comcast.net/~juggleral/
"Footprints on your ceiling are almost gone"
Howie Diddot
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I performed a free show about a month ago for younger kids, the parents were not attending, only staff; and the deal was that I would do every trick I purchased for my show that I had not performed with yet because of various reasons, mostly I was not comfortable with and to test it out.

I mixed them in with my perfected tricks and everyone of them did quite well; now I feel more confident using the tricks I was holding back.

It was unfortunate that they were too young to understand Hospitality, I would have loved to perform that one..
Dannydoyle
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Quote:
On 2012-08-21 19:06, espmagic wrote:
This started by asking about money/fees. So, if you agree to do it without getting a paycheck, you still need to get something for yourself. My wife and I have done many fundraisers for tax receipts - our normal fee consedered as a donation to the charity itself - and then we use the receipt at tax time for our benefit.

You don't pocket any actual cash, but you save at tax time on what you might have spent.

Lee


This becomes a wash at the end of it all.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
Bill Hilly
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Quote:
On 2012-08-21 19:06, espmagic wrote:
This started by asking about money/fees. So, if you agree to do it without getting a paycheck, you still need to get something for yourself. My wife and I have done many fundraisers for tax receipts - our normal fee consedered as a donation to the charity itself - and then we use the receipt at tax time for our benefit.

You don't pocket any actual cash, but you save at tax time on what you might have spent.

Lee


Five years ago I attended a seminar on taxes for self-employed, entrepreneurs, entertainers, etc. The presenter was a tax attorney and assured us that you can not donate a service and write off the fee value against your income tax.

Anyone have info on that?
Paddy
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YES! The only way to write off the show value is to get a check from the charity for your full fee, then write them out a check for the amount they just gave you. Your check is your receipt according to IRS
Non Impediti Ratione Cogitationis

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Dannydoyle
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The deposit into your account is nice to show them as well.

It is about a paper trail today. You need to prove, not claim it was donated.

In recent years charitable deductions do not help as much as they did at one time. Usually the only way it helps if you are trying to avoid a much higher tax rate. It used to be a pretty good move but any more it is a wash. You don't make the money in the first place so you are not taxed on it. Big deal. There is hardly a benefit to not making the money. You also don't get taxed on money you don't make, does that benefit you?

If you want to try to drop your taxable income then the few dollars it is done by may save you Pennies.

Turns out the IRS is pretty good at this stuff. Believe it or not you can call and ask them. They are quite helpful.
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
TomBoleware
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When someone writes you a check for the full amount, it becomes income regardless of
what you do with the money. Donating it back doesn't reduce your income any.

Donating services can be very tricky if you trying to dodge taxes in some way.
Like Danny said, you can always ask the IRS if you have questions.

If you absolutely need paper work for your records, just reduce your fee to one dollar.
And then deduct your expenses your normal way.


Tom
Do What Others Do And You Will Become Average

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www.amazekids.com/magic-downloads/childrens-magic-ebooks/the-daycare-magician/

Tom Boleware
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Bill Hilly
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That was another point brought up at the seminar. You do a show for a charity and charge them $1,000. Then you write them a check for $1,000. You must claim the $1,000 as income. You can deduct the $1,000 as a charity gift, but you will still get taxed on the $1,000 fee. You will pay the self-employment tax (Social Security) and must count that $1,000 in any type of transaction you do that requires you to declare your income.

So doing charity work for tax purposes just doesn't work. It's not supposed to. It's supposed to be done for the sake of charity.

I'm not saying anyone here thinks or does otherwise. I'm just saying what I was taught on the tax thing.

Anyone else concur, or have info to the contrary?
Al Angello
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I thought the return was very low, and now I find out that there is no return on this hair brain scheme.
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
http://www.juggleral.com
http://home.comcast.net/~juggleral/
"Footprints on your ceiling are almost gone"
Paddy
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I will state that there is ONE organization, which will remain nameless, but their initials are Make A Wish Foundation Smile
that will get a free show anytime they call. I had a company call me saying they were doing a fundraiser, I was about to quote my standard rate until the said it was for Make A Wish, I then said "for you it's free." My wife & I both have personal reasons for supporting this group but it is the only charity I will support.
Non Impediti Ratione Cogitationis

I reject your reality & substitute my own

http://www.Scho-Lan.com
Al Angello
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Peter
I was contacted recently by the Philadelphia chapter of the homeless veterans, and I will do a free show for them any time they ask me.
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
http://www.juggleral.com
http://home.comcast.net/~juggleral/
"Footprints on your ceiling are almost gone"
Leland
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I think each one of us would do a free show if the right Charity would to call us. The one that is dear to our hearts.
Life of Magic!
glennmagi
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To add to an old post, well I received an email asking me to donate my time for renovating an old historical Church. When I read on their website this event is to raise money to PAY people to do that renovation. So my purpose there would ultimately be to help other people get paid for the time, just not me.
Dannydoyle
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Isn't the point of most charity to get money to other people?
Danny Doyle
<BR>Semper Occultus
<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
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