The Community Concert Band would be an
open-membership band. Basically, anyone who wants to play and is willing to
make it to the rehearsals and performances, and is willing to abide by Band
Philosophies, is welcome to join.
There will be no upper limit on
membership, although if the band gets so large as to be unwieldy, we might
consider splitting off a Senior Band or possibly a Youth Band.
This will be an open membership band, including
anyone who wants to play in a marching band.
This band will be available for
any marching band requests in the communities we serve.
If the regular Community Concert Band gets large
enough to split, we might consider forming a separate band for older musicians.
The age for this band would depend on how many people were available at the
various age levels, and would be voted on by the Board of Directors.
Several other community bands have
senior bands for age 50 and up.
This would be an excellent split
to make, because this band could play a somewhat different genre of music from
the regular band, one more appealing to musicians of that generation. They
could also play concerts in more specific venues.
If the number of young players becomes large enough
to form a separate band, we should consider forming the Community Youth Band.
We could make the inclusive age 18 and below, or under 21, depending on the
number of people available.
This would be an excellent venue
for home school musicians to participate, and for other high-school age people
to have an opportunity to play with a different group.
This group could specialize in
music appropriate for the generation, and could play at specific-for-them
There are countless possibilities for MCSB-related
spinoff ensembles. We might eventually spawn such other groups as a Circus Band,
a Stage Band, a Community Orchestra, a Brass Quintet, a Woodwind Quintet, a
Flute Choir, a Clarinet Choir, a Saxophone Choir, a Brass Choir or British
Brass Band, and/or a Tuba Choir.
If there’s just one band, we will have the Music
Director be the principal conductor.
We might also consider having a
single associate conductor, so as to have a designated conductor available if
the Music Director is unable to attend a rehearsal or performance.
The Music Director will be the
primary leader, but both conductors should work closely and cooperatively to
achieve the Band Goals.
The Music Director will be the primary conductor of
the Symphonic Band, and there should be an associate conductor of this band,
who may or may not be the director of one of the other bands.
Each additional band should have
its own primary director, separate from the Music Director.
The Music Director will be in
charge of and oversee the activities of all other directors. He or she will
consult regularly on all activities of governing each band, mostly as an
approval authority to ensure the activities fall within the philosophies and
goals of the MSCBI, but the director of each group will be the primary actor in
charge of initiating and governing these activities.
Another position we might consider adding some day
is that of Conductor Emeritus. This position could be awarded to a retired
director who has contributed immensely to the MCSB or to band music in general.
It should be the goal of the entire
band, and specifically of the Publicity Team if and when we get one, to make
the MCSB the symbol of Community Pride for central
We need to get a list of all government entities and
appropriate agencies, such as cities (the mayors), state fine arts groups, and
other arts councils, parks and recreation departments (yes, many bands get
funding through them!) and approach each one of them for their endorsement and
Where possible, we should ask each of them for a
contribution, especially if it can be made ongoing.
We should consider whether it would be a good thing
to have the MCSB made into a state sponsored activity. If we are made such, it
will mean more funding and better access to state agencies, activities, and
property, but it also might incur some obligations that might be inconvenient.
We should eventually approach every single business
in the communities we serve, and ask them for their financial support and for
It might be a good idea to have
window decals or wall placards made up that say something like “We are proud
supporters of the Mississippi Community Symphonic Bands, Inc.” and give these
out to our supporters for display at their offices. We might consider putting
the year on it, or having add-on stickers with the years they have supported
Our goal here is to make the MCSB
a cause celebre, to make the band a true community representative, with the
overall attitude from everyone that “We love our band!”
We should always ask for financial
support from a business, and whether a business offers its financial support or
not, we should also ask them if they would post notices of our concerts (for
As far as financial support goes,
it could take the form of a direct contribution, or purchasing an ad in our
music programs. It could be that a particular donor would wish to purchase a
specific piece of music for the band, or a specific instrument or piece of
equipment. All is fine.
If we handle
it right, we will be able to build a list of hundreds, possibly even thousands
of individual MSCB supporters.
There should be a dedicated person
or team of people whose main job it is to maintain this list of people, to stay
in touch with these people, to let them know continually that we appreciate
their support, to let them know of upcoming events, and to remind them each
year that we would appreciate their support again.
One critical item for this area is
to always personally thank individual contributors. This would
best be done by a letter from the Music Director and/or the Chairperson of the
Board. The letter can be made up by the team and given to the Director or Chair
for signatures. Yes, these letters and signatures are a major inconvenience,
but they are critical to continued support.
We should pursue a formal
“Performance Course For Credit” affiliation with one of the local colleges.
This means the Music Director will
always need to be someone with a Master’s Degree or higher in Music, so as to
satisfy accreditation requirements.
Once we get this affiliation, then
students from any of the local colleges could perform in the MCSB and receive
college credit for it.
An officer of the band, most likely the Music
Director, should talk regularly with the local AFM union officers.
We want the union on board with us
as much as possible. We should have a goal of helping each other out as much as
we can. Such talks could uncover new ways we can help each other.
We should exploit as much as
possible any affiliation with the Music Performance Trust Funds (see www.mptf.org) and their relationship with the
union and the RIAA.
We might want to look into the
pros and cons of joining the Chamber of Commerce. At the very least we should
explore somehow letting them (and their membership) know regularly that we do
It would be a good idea for the MCSB to join the
MSCNP. There is a wealth of information, training, and local networking to be
gained from membership in this organization.
Annual membership dues are about
We should look into the possibility of having one or
more local young artists as a featured soloist with the band. There may already
exist a mechanism whereby a winner can be chosen, or we might originate one ourselves.
Additionally, we should consider having a local
singing group augment the band during a concert each year, possibly the
Christmas Concert. The group could be a high school choir, a church choir, or
an independent choral society. In Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for years they had
a group called the “Singing Principals” that was made up entrely of school
principals and assistant principals.
Also, we should consider inviting high-profile
people from outside Mississippi to perform as guest artists.
Using these types of featured presentations would
greatly enhance the community involvement and professional image of the MCSB.
We might consider offering a scholarship to the
winner of the Young Artist Competition.
The Gainesville (FL) Community Band annually
provides a new quality trumpet to a deserving middle school student.
Another wonderful activity we might consider for
some of our volunteer workers is collecting old unused band instruments and making
them available to underprivileged children who otherwise might not be able to
join a band.
We might consider sponsoring smaller subordinate
units of the MCSB, such as a Brass Quintet, a Woodwind Quintet, a Tuba Choir, a
Flute Choir, a Saxophone Choir, Dixieland Group, Swing Band, etc.
These ensembles could be available
to play in smaller venues.
We should examine everything we can find about what
other groups have done that has been very successful. Please see the Concerts section of this document, beginning on page 12, for more discussion.
For example, once a year, the Boca
Pops (Boca Raton, Florida) would have a “Christmas Sing-Along” concert that was
always packed. Other bands have played at Fourth of July Picnics on the Town
We should consider including these
sorts of events. This would be a task for a team under the Business Director.
The narrator at a concert is seen as the “Voice of
the Band,” and as such we should go to great lengths to get the right person to
do this. Ideally, it would be a local celebrity, someone well-known, but also
someone who is a professional vocal performer that will perform the narration in
a way that gets the entire audience caught up in the excitement of the event.
As important as the person doing
the speaking are the words spoken. It would be ideal to have an introduction to
each piece on the program, but the introduction must be extremely well-written.
Therefore, we should consider having a committee determine what sort of text
should be in the narration, and seeing how we can get the best possible writer
to prepare it.
Besides the business and individual
involvement mentioned above, we should also consider the following.
We really need a whole committee to handle this. We
need them to decide whether to sell ads for a whole season or by the concert. I
suggest whole-season, because we can get more for each ad, and it will be
easier to administer. However, we might get more money totally for individual
program or even quarterly ads. We need the committee to decide how much to sell
the ads for.
We need them to actually sell the
We need them to handle all the
details of getting the concert program numbers and notes from the music
committee and having the programs printed for each concert.
Another suggestion would be to
have all the ad pages printed at once, then print the program pages and
assemble the programs for each concert. The program pages could be printed on
paper of a different color so these pages would be easy to locate, or they
could be printed on plain white paper so they look more elegant.
There is a ton of money out there in foundations and
in government programs, just waiting for us to ask for it.
We need a dedicated person or team
of people to research what grants are available and to apply for every one for
which we qualify. For example, the Arlington (TX) Community Band has an officer
position “Grant Coordinator.”
This goes hand-in-hand with Business
Involvement (see page 5 above). We need a person-in-charge and a team of
people who will contact all businesses in the communities we service. We need
to give every business in our area the opportunity to contribute to the MCSB.
This will mean we need some good recordkeeping. We
need to track who we’ve called and who we haven’t. We need to track business
names and the names of the people we need to talk to. We need to track who has
given, and what the business owners say when they opt not to support us. We
need to track which businesses have given and how much, and we need to be
certain to be profuse in our thanks to those who have.
We also need to continually ask
about matching contributions. Some employers will match contributions made by
individuals. Something to check out.
This needs to be an ongoing
project, and the more people we can get to help with this, the easier it will
be for all team members, and the more contributions we will get.
We also need to consolidate all
business solicitations, so there will be only one call (per time period – year,
half year, etc.) that takes care of asking such things as (a) will you send us
a donation? (b)would you like to donate the purchase of a [stand | chair |
light | instrument | piece of music ]? (c) would you buy an ad in our
program? (d) would you be willing to post a flyer for our concerts in your
store? If so, can we send you a PDF file for you to print, or would you rather
have us get you a larger poster?
We need to coordinate our efforts
and decide on a budgetary stragegy. For example, are we going to give free
concerts and exist solely on donations? Or are we going to charge admission to
concerts and rely on fewer donations?
The business solicitations we engage in will be guided by the budgetary
strategy we decide on.
We will have two basic types of contributions: those
from people who are members of the band and staff, and those from outside. We
need to determine whether we are going to be a membership organization, and if
so, what the structure of the membership will be.
If we decide to be a membership
organization, then the structure of the membership groups (suggest players,
staff, and supporters) will guide how we solicit individual contributions.
For now, this section addresses
the issue with the band NOT being a membership organization.
Contributions from Band
Players and Staff Members. We need to determine whether there will be a
“joining fee,” which some bands refer to as a “stand fee,” and whether there
will be dues, and if so, will they be monthly or annual.
On a first impression, it seems it
would be best to have absolutely no fees for members. No joining fee, no stand
fee, and no dues. Instead, it might be better to treat players and staff as any
other band supporter, and solicit their contributions that way.
Supporters. This will require a person-in-charge and a team of people
to do the work. It can be the same individuals as those who solicit Corporate
Contributions. (See Corporate Contributions
on page 9 above.)
It is critical that all solicitation efforts be made
with superb recordkeeping. We must generate and maintain a list of prospects, a
list of contributors, and a list of who we’ve called and who we haven’t, and
what they said. For those who are willing to contribute, we need to track what
they promise and what they deliver. We need to make it easy, easy, easy for
them to give us money. There should be a “Donations” page on the website, we
should accept credit cards (the Fox Valley [IL] Concert Band accepts PayPal on
their website), and we should be ready to mail easy-response papers (including
SASE) to those who say they want them.
We must be effusive in our thanks
to our contributors, and we should tell them so often. We should attempt to
send each of them a plain and simple “Thank you” during the year, one that
doesn’t ask for more money. We should send them gifts if we can, and have at
least one special-for-them invitation-only concert per year.
We should always keep in mind that
our supporters are the ones who attend our concerts, and they are the ones who
will provide most of our financial backing. We should treat them accordingly.
We need to have a group carefully study whether we
should charge for tickets, and if so, how much. Some other groups do, some
We should record each concert, and advance-sell the
CDs right at the concerts. We should also have all prior concert CDs available
for purchase on the website.
A big caution here is to watch out
that we get copyright permissions first.
We need a special team of workers to handle the
recording, and another team of workers to handle the sales and shipping of CDs.
Any subset of the group that wants to take on a fund
raising project, ought to be able to do so with the approval of the Business
Director. Other bands have successfully raised funds through silent auctions,
pancake breakfasts, spaghetti dinners, cookbook sales, and more. The Bettendorf
Park Band (IA) gets sponsors for their summer Ice Cream Social Concerts.
In our initial planning documents, we set a goal of
having a minumum of four concerts a year. This would be done well as seasonal
However, as the band grows, as our
reputation grows, and as our supporters in our communities grow, we will be in
ever-increasing demand to perform.
The Allentown Band performs
sometimes 50 concerts a year. This is the oldest community band in existence,
and is very well organized, so they can handle it. The Florence Community Band
in Florence, KY, plays about 10 concerts a year. Other community bands
regularly play 20 or more concerts (performances)a year, ranging from formal
auditorium concerts to nursing home concerts to holiday parades.
We need to be very careful about
how many concerts we are willing to obligate ourselves for. We must regularly
poll the playing members to see how much of a performance demand they are
willing to take on.
It might be a good idea to develop
a procedure for requesting a concert and determining whether we will be able to
do it. A good chore for a committee of band members.
We want all our concerts to be fun, entertaining,
and a great experience for the audience. To do this we need three things: The
correct music, played well, and a good narration.
“Correct Music” for a concert. Traditionally, the Music Director
selects the music for the concerts. This is the way it works with most other
bands, including most other community bands.
However, it’s been shown far too
often that a single individual’s judgement in repertoire selection is sadly
lacking. Consequently, we will have a Music Committee that works with the Music
Director to select the pieces to be played at each concert. This is written
into our bylaws. The Music Director will have the final approval authority for
music selection, but with the inputs of several knowledgeable people, the
selection should be much more interesting to the audience.
We should be very careful and
diligent in formulating guidance for the Music Committee, and in selecting who
should be on this committee.
The bottom line is that we must play
music that audiences will enjoy, music that will make them want to come back to
the next concert. If we don’t, they won’t. We’ve got to keep in mind that this
is a community band, and we are here to play for the community.
The Music Well. This is the responsibility mostly of the Music
Director. But it is also the responsibility of the players. The Music Director
interprets the music, teaches the music (interpretation) to the players, and
motivates the players to become better at playing it. The Director is also
responsible for making sure the players are in tune, are playing together, and
for having the right instrumentation for the pieces being played. The players
are responsible for learning the music and putting in enough practice on their
instruments so they can execute the music well.
Make no mistake, the quality of the
music is what the audiences come for. Do it well and they’ll come back. Do it
badly and only the families of the players will show up next time.
Elements of Concert Narration. One of the most glaring distinctions
between good concerts and great concerts is great narration. When narration is
done correctly, it brings the audience into the concert and makes them feel
more like participants and less like sideline spectators. We must be careful
though, because badly-done narration is worse than no narration at all. The
elements of good narration are good copy and a good speaker.
Good Copy is not something
that happens by accident, nor is it something that you can do last-minute, or
entrust to just anyone willing to give it a stab. Good copy is itself
entertaining. It can have historical facts, surprising statements, or amusing
anecdotes. It’s always interesting to tell about some local person or group,
especially if they are involved with the band. Good copy doesn’t have to be
long or short, but it does have to be interesting.
This is something that is so
important we might consider copywriting auditions, or hiring a professional
copywriter to provide us with interesting narration copy.
A Good Speaker is essential
to effective narration. Please see the segment on Concert
Narrator (under Community Involvement) on page 8 for more discussion of this issue. The bottom line
here is the Narrator must be able to mesmerize the audience, to seize their
attention and hold them fascinated by what’s being said, and leave them
breathless and eager to hear the piece being introduced.
In addition to our regularly-scheduled concerts, we
should consider having a few specialty concerts each year. Such specialty
concerts could include performancs such as these.
Concerts for Supporters. We might have a special, one-night-only
concert that is invitation only for our supporters. We could start at the top
contribution bracket, and invite people or businesses, with a limited time to
respond and get the seats of their choice before we go to the next contribution
bracket. For example, if we have an auditorium with 800 seats, we could first
invite the $2500 + contributors, and give them a week to request tickets. If we
only got requests for 100 tickets, we would then offer tickets to the
$1500-$2500 contributors, etc.
Concerts. We might consider having a series of concerts each year
specifically targeting elementary school age children. And perhaps another
concert specifically for those considering joining their school band. When
giving these concerts, we must be sure to include home schoolers.
Music Concerts. We might consider having some concerts specifically
dedicated to broadway musicals or shows, or to Dixieland music, or Big Band
music, or “Oldies,” or even a sing-along. It might be a good idea to poll the
audiences during other concerts as to whether they would like to hear this kind
of concert, and we could also post a poll on our website.
It is quite possible that the MCSB will receive
requests to play outside our Central Mississippi area. As we grow and our
reputation builds, it is highly probable that we will be invited to perform out
We should be ready for this when
it happens, and have procedures in place to handle such requests. Probably the
best thing would be to take it to the band and see if there are enough people
who will go to make a full band.
For example, the City Band of
Fairfax, Virginia, was invited in 1996 to perform at the National Band
Association Convention in New Orleans. The Allentown, Pennsylvania band has
made three trips to Europe, and the Harbor Springs (MI) Community Band has gone
to Europe three times as well.
Membership in these organizations will very likely
increase our exposure beyond Mississippi, build our reputation, and possibly
open opportunities to perform at these organizations’ conventions.
We should join this association as soon as we can
afford the $50 fee. They have some very good resources and when we join they
will send us a book “The Band Builder’s Manual.” Joining the ACB will also give
us the opportunity to get blanket performance rights to ASCAP and BMI music, for
an annual fee of $200. Membership also entitles the MCSB to discounts at many
online music stores.
The ACB also has an annual
convention, seminars, and a newsletter.
Note: There is no ACB Regional
Membership Coordinator in Mississippi, so perhaps we have an opportunity here
to help them out as well.
Need to check this out. Possibly for the Music
They charge a fee, but don’t say how much. I’ve
asked and am waiting their reply.
Need to check this out too.
Regular membership is $50 a year, but I think it’s for individuals, not bands.
We might consider how important it is for the
players and volunteers of the MCSB to have a distinct identity, to feel they
are part of a living, vibrant group with a great and growing reputation.
One of the first critical components of group
identity is the logo. We have an iterim logo we’re using now, but it might be a
good idea to explore whatever avenues we can find to make sure we have the best
one for us.
We might consider having a logo
design competition, or hiring a designer on spec. Or we might wait until we get
enough people and see if they even want to change from what we have now.
In addition to the logo, we might
also want to consider having a mascot. As we use the term here, the word
“mascot” could mean a fictional or cartoon character. This mascot character
would represent “The Band” in publications, press releases, and announcements.
The mascot should be immediately
recognizable not just by band members, but by the entire community.
Another component of identity is the MCSB colors. We
should consider adopting a two or three color sequence as our “official”
colors. We should do this fairly early on, as just about everything else we do
will use these colors. Includng the logo.
We might consider adopting a motto. The Fresno
Community Concert Band’s motto is “You don’t stop playing when you get old. You
get old when you stop playing.”
It might be a good idea to hold a
motto contest among members.
In the early phases, we will probably need to ask
the players to supply their own black suit or long dress for concerts. But as
we grow and evolve, it might be a good idea to consider having MCSB-owned
Several bands issue only jackets
and have the players supply everything else.
The uniforms should reflect the
theme colors, and we might also consider having different uniforms for different
functions, and different uniforms for different bands.
For example, we might have formal
mess jackets for formal concerts, and polo-style shirts for informal concerts,
such as “in the park.” We might have green jackets for the Community Concert
Band and gold jackets for the Symphonic Band.
Another thing to consider might be
participation recognition. For example we could do stripes or hash marks on
jacket sleeves: a thin one for every one year, and a fat one for every five
years of participation in the MCSB.
Once we get our logo and colors, we should purchase
letterhead for official communications, and business cards for the officers.
This will lend a much stronger aura of professionalism to the MCSB.
Early on, it would be a good idea to offer window
decals (also suitable for instrument cases) and bumper stickers promoting the
MCSB. These could contain the logo and/or the mascot, and could be serious or
All members and volunteer workers would be
encouraged to purchase and display these items. They could be given away as
prizes or incentives. We could also give them to donors as a “thank-you.”
Eventually, the band may get its own trailer or
truck. When we do, the vehicles will need to have appropriate paint jobs with
the logo and/or mascot.
We should consider having three main purposes for
our publicity: Growing our audience, growing our band membership, and growing
It’s a foregone conclusion that there are thousands
of people in this area who would love to come to a concert. If they knew about
The main purpose for Audience
Attendance Publicity is to make sure as many people as possible know
about the concert, including especially when and where it is.
A secondary purpose would be to
impress on people who think they might want to come but just aren’t sure yet,
that the concert is great, the band is wonderful, and that they’ll have one of
the best entertainment experiences of their lives at one of our concerts. This
overlaps with reputation.
Of course, this also means we have
to go to great pains to ensure the audiences do indeed have a great experience.
There is no doubt there are tons of musicians in the area who
would love a chance to play their instruments with the MCSB. There must be even
more people who don’t play an instrument but would love to help the band in
some other way.
The main purpose for Membership
Publicity should be to reach out to all these people and let them know
they’re not only welcome, they’re wanted!
A secondary purpose for Membership
Publicity should be to spotlight individual members and their contributions to
the band. This could be in the band’s newsletter or it could be in one of the
We can never tell our members –
both players and volunteer workers – how much we appreciate them. We should
take every opportunity to do it publically.
It’s an accepted truth that success begets success,
and if we can establish from the outset that we are a great band, then nurture
and feed that notion, it will become our reputation, our public image.
Our goal for Reputation
Publicity is to have the MCSB become the Central Mississippi “darling,”
the group that everyone loves, that people are proud to say comes from their
community. We want everyone in the area to not just know about the band, but to
have a warm feeling in their heart for it, and to feel the band is one of their
best community representatives.
To do this, we must have all
members of the band promoting this image, this reputation. We must take every
opportunity to build up our people and what they’ve done, and the band’s
accomplishments, and spread the word as widely as we can.
As part of this element, it would
probably be a good idea to keep a history of all concerts, including the names
of the players, the names of the supporting volunteer workers, the list of
music played, and the number of people in the audience.
We are going to have to put together a three-year
proposed budget to submit with our 501(c)(3) application. To do this, we will
need a projection of what our costs are going to be, and what our income might
be. I think we’ll have a much easier time projecting our costs. The income will
depend entirely on how many people we get out there beating the bushes, and how
effective our fund raising coordinator is.
The Lakeland (FL) Concert Band says it costs about
$1500 to put on a concert, and they get their programs printed free from a
print shop. They don’t pay their players or conductors, but I imagine they pay
for a truck, for the auditorium, insurance, etc.
We can also expect the following
expenses, some for each concert, some as a once-only expense.
Sheet Music. We will
have this expense for rental music or when we buy it for our music library. I’m
in favor of us building up our music library as much as we can, but until then,
we’ll have to rent (borrow and pay postage) what we need.
Stands and Lights.
We can’t count on every place we will be giving a concert to have stands and
stand lights in the case of insufficient stage lighting. So eventually we will
need to get our own. How soon we need to get them is still up in the air. We’ll
need to address this pretty soon.
are some instruments we just can’t expect the players to provide on their own.
Particularly the percussion. We will need a concert bass drum right away, and
probably a set of timpani. We will need to look at getting one or two keyboard
percussion instruments, and eventually all the rest of the equipment needed in
the percussion pit. Finally, depending on which players have their own
instruments, we need to look at getting some of the larger instruments, such as
tubas, baritone saxes, bass clarinets, etc.
On the subject of instruments,
even though this addresses income, we should consider charging an instrument
fee to any players that do not provide their own instruments. We should give
our players the choice of providing their own instruments, or paying an
instrument fee and providing all required maintenance on their
instrument. For example, if someone uses an MCSB baritone saxophone and it gets
rained on and ruins the pads, that person is responsible for paying to get them
Insurance. We will
need liability insurance for rehearsals and concerts. We will need insurance
for the directors. We will need insurance for any and all property and
equipment we own.
Uniforms. If and when we get uniforms, this will be an
expense. Personally, I’m in favor of uniforms, but not right away.
A Podium. Many
places we play and rehearse will probably already have a conductor’s podium.
However, we can’t count on it always being there, so we should consider getting
one. This can probably be made by one of our members, just for the cost of
materials (plywood and carpet). We might even find a local shop who would do it
for free as a donation.
every concert, we will need to transport some things to the concert venue.
Percussion, large instruments, maybe music stands, lights, a podium, etc. For
this we will need to buy or rent a trailer or truck, or find someone who owns
one that we can use. If we borrow one from someone, we will need extra
insurance. In any case, we might consider always getting transportation
insurance, depending on the value of what’s being transported.
Expenses Bottom Line.
We need to write down as many projected expenses as we can think of. It must
include how much we think it will be, and when we think we will have to spend
the money. This will be the job of the BAND TREASURER. The
Treasurer may need to enlist the assistance of a number of people to help.
We need to be able to project income for the band,
so we can provide for our expenses. As of now, I envision seven possible income
stream sources: (1) Band Member dues or stand fees; (2) Concert
admission fees or donations; (3) Individual support donations;
(4) Corporate Support Donations; (5) Sales of Band Paraphernalia,
such as shirts, decals, mugs, CDs, etc., (6) Government Agency support,
such as the Mississippi Council for the Arts, city Parks & Recreation
Departments, etc.; (7) Grants from foundations and endowments that sponsor
Band Member Dues or Stand
Fees: In researching over 200 websites for various community bands
around the country, I find that about half charge their members annual or
seasonal dues, and the rest do not. We need to determine whether we will charge
dues or fees, and if so, how much.
Those bands that do charge fees sometimes have provisions for fee waivers for
members with special circumstances.
Concert Admission Fees or
Donations: In researching the websites of other bands, I find that
approximately ¾ of the bands offer totally free concerts. Most of them take up
donations at the concerts. Of those that charge admission to their concerts,
the admission fees range from $5 to $39 per person, with the vast majority
being in the $10 to $15 range.
We need to decide whether we will have admission fees or free concerts, and if
there are fees, how much should they be.
Two things to think about – If we have two bands, then we could charge
admission for the Symphonic Band, and have free concerts by the Community
Concert Band. AND it might not be a bad idea to put it to the band membership,
and hold a voting poll on our website and in the newspaper. It might be some
good publicity. Or we could hold a voting poll from everyone who sends a
contribution. Worth considering.
Individual Support Donations.
This area, along with the next (Corporate Support Donations) needs to be very
well managed. We need one strong person in charge of keeping track of who the
prospects are, who the donors are and how much they gave and when, and staying
in touch with the donors to ensure they feel warm and happy about supporting
the band and will continue to do so.
Corporate Support Donations:
This area might be combined with the individual support donations area. It
needs equally meticulous attention to tracking and giving grateful feedback.
Some of the differences are that corporations frequently will not donate
annually, while others will. We need to be sure to understand which is which
and interact with them accordingly. As with the individual supporters, we need to
strike just exactly the right balance between staying in touch with them just
enough, and not being a pest or a nag. Another thing to keep in mind is that
frequently a corporation will support a specific project (such as “We’re
raising $25,000 to buy uniforms”) when they are less enthusiastic about
supporting general operating funds.
Sales of Band Paraphernalia:
There’s no doubt members of the band and the staff will want to have several
items with the band logo on them. It would be a great idea to make these items
also available at the concerts (or any performance venue) and on the website,
We need to have one person to oversee the “Item Sales” area, to work with a
committee to decide what items to offer, what and how much to keep in stock, to
manage manage and coordinate the team that handles the sales to band members,
mans the sales booths at the concerts, and fulfills the orders that come in on
Government Agency Support:
At least one third the community bands I’ve reviewed state on their websites
that they get support from the so-and-so state commission for the arts, or from
the such-and-such city parks and recreation department. We need to look into
this as soon as we can, and we need to continue to pursue getting funding
through any state agencies we can find that might remotely support the arts and
community development. This is an area where we don’t have to worry about being
a pest or a nag. Sometimes an agency won’t support something one year and will
do a complete change of position the next and support it. We need to be there
whenever that happens.
Grants From Foundations And
Endowments: There is a huge number of foundations and endowments in the
state, the region, and the country who support the arts. We need one person in
charge and a team of people to research who these foundations and endowments
are, and apply to each and every one of them for support.
Some of these organizations will offer operational or startup support, such as
“$50,000 for five years of operations,” while others will only support specific
projects, such as “$5,500 for a double Bb Tuba.” We need to be well aware of
which organizations offer which type of support, and not waste our time
applying to them for something they won’t support.
Bottom Line on Income:
It seems each income stream will need its own team of people handling it. The
leader of each team of people will need to work up anticipated (or hoped-for)
figures and dates, and report them to the BAND TREASURER, who
will use them in compiling the Band Budget.
Building and maintaining the
budget is the responsibility of the BAND TREASURER. The Treasurer
will gather and consolidate all the projected expenses, and all the projected
income, and will use these figures to compile the Band Budget.
We will need a three-year budget
projection to apply for 501(c)(3) non-profit status, but the IRS recognizes
that for a brand new organization, this projection is mostly guesswork
supplemented by educated wishful thinking.
However, as we progress in time,
we’ll have some real figures we can use to modify what we expect of the future.
The Band Treasurer should update the current year’s budget at least quarterly,
and the budget for the next year periodically as well.