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Splitting Proceeds in a Fundraiser

Tag Goulet

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I asked about doing a "share the gate" fundraiser for a non-profit organization.

With respect to what is a reasonable split on proceeds, every respondent answered 50/50. With respect to dividing up duties, the general consensus was that the organization is responsible for promoting the event, handling logistics, and collecting funds. The speaker is responsible only for speaking. However, it was recommended that to ensure a successful event the speaker also advise the group and assist with publicity.

Cantu offered some detailed suggestions for using a comedy show as a fundraiser:

I have produced comedy shows as fund raisers for various non-profits. Split income fifty/fifty after expenses.

I provided the venue, the comedians, and format of the show. The non-profit provided publicity, taking advantage of their ability to get radio/TV PSAs which is tremendously beneficial free advertising, and using their newsletter to promote the show with no additional postage costs.

I would find a nightclub and book the show on an off night for the club and try to work out a bar guarantee -- if we brought in Y + X amount of dollars we got the room for free.

  • Y = Amount of money they would usually do.
  • X = Amount of additional money they want to do on the till in lieu of outright rent.

If the night's bar receipts didn't equal Y + X dollar the difference was taken out of the door receipts. Oh yes, if you have a fundraiser where it's appropriate to serve alcohol and you are using a bar guarantee in lieu of rent, verify the bar total by looking at the "Z" out tape -- that's the final tape, the one the nightclub owner will keep on record for IRS verification if he/she is audited. Do not accept an "X" out tape which is used to check the till as the night proceeds.

However, I realize that an establishment that serves alcohol might not be appropriate for you and/or your organization. In that case use a room in the facilities of the non-profit or have them get some business or organization to donate the space -- otherwise rent can kill you. Have them contact and negotiate the space using their non-profit status as leverage.

In some cases, we had an information table with the organizations's literature, other times it was BOR products for sale -- but since, most comics do not have product (unlike speakers), that was the organization's products (books, bumper stickers, T-shirts, etc.). If you have product that might be appropriate to sell, let them handle the sales and let them keep a percentage -- no set formula here. It depends on how generous you choose to be.

Once, again, I realize not all of this is probably appropriate for you, but I do hope you found enough useful information.

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