Nearly 20 years ago my wife and I went to Kenya. We had been invited to come and see the work a non-profit organization was doing there.
Of course we did the “touristy” things – went on a safari trip, took an overnight train ride, experienced the Indian Ocean. But the thing that had the biggest impact on me was an 8-hour trip we made on dirt roads to a little village.
I’ll never forget the pride those villagers had when they showed us how they had planted crops, dug a clean well for themselves, and had built schools and churches (literally made out of dung!).
When we saw all the needs there were in the area and how much of a difference could be made with the right help, I thought “Somebody has to do something about this!” That’s when I decided to start working with charities who make a difference in the world.
I started looking for artists who felt the way I did – that “Somebody” needed to do something, and maybe that “Somebody” might be them. And I would help them get partnered up with a charity so they could appeal to their audiences to give ongoing support where help was really needed.
I’d go out and visit artists, helping them with their appeal, giving them encouragement. It didn’t matter if it was a weekend warrior, an emerging band, an indie artist, a professional singer…. someone who played small churches, big venues, coffeehouses, toured on the road, or played in their hometown…if they were onstage in front of people at least 25 times a year, they could qualify to partner with a charity!
So what kind of artists did I work with? Well, I remember one time as I was driving to find one of the artists, I checked their event schedule, and I saw I was going to be seeing them do a concert at a vacation mobile home park. I thought “holy cow, this is interesting!” I wanted to support the artist, but I wasn’t sure what was going to happen.
They gave their appeal that night to about 85 people in the trailer park – 5 kids were sponsored. Not much, you might say. But since that time that same group has gotten over 5,000 kids sponsored over the years, by doing small dates, by being persistent, and by appealing to each audience, one concert at a time.
And here’s the crazy thing! Not only have more than 5,000 kids been given the chance for a better life because of them; this artist group has had financial tour support they never would have gotten if they hadn’t cared enough to sign up as artist associates with a charity!
How about major tour artists? Absolutely! I’ve worked with them, too. And some of them have gotten thousands of people helped in a single event. WinterJam 2010 saw over 10,000 orphaned children sponsored through appeals made during the event.
But even better than those big numbers is a story I heard one artist tell. He had done his appeal and went back to his table after the concert. A woman was standing there crying. When he asked if he could help, her reply was “you already did – I was one of those kids; YOU CHANGED MY LIFE!“
In the years since Kenya, I have continued to look for artists that feel the way I do. My Artist Tour Support page has more of the details about the programs I work with right now. And I have a Tour Support Rep who would be happy to visit with you about how you and your show might fit with one of these causes.
I’d hate for you to miss out on this opportunity!
In these times of high prices, bad economies, and a shifting music industry, it’s a good idea for artists to find as many streams of revenue as possible. Why not use your passion for helping others, speaking from the stage you’re already on, to earn some financial support for your music?
And in the meantime, you could be the “Somebody” who does something to help!