Wise Giving Wednesday: Charity Concerts & Contributions

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calendar icon Jul 17, 2020

With the arrival of spring my thoughts fast forward to warmer weather and a break with cabin fever.  I think of all the yard work to be done but the fun times too that attach to being outdoors.  I have promised myself that this year I will attend more outdoor concerts. Many towns have music festivals that draw popular acts and large crowds over many days. These events provide entertainment but also stimulate local economies.  Some also provide a benefit to charity. Almost 30 years ago, perhaps the mother of all fundraising concerts took place in my home town.

Live Aid was a charity benefit concert that was actually held in 2 venues – the now demolished JFK Stadium in Philadelphia, PA and Webley Stadium in London.  I still remember the buzz the event created around town.  While I was not able to attend the event in person, I did drive near enough to the stadium to hear the music and 100,000 cheering fans.  Live Aid was also broadcast so those of us who could not go were able to watch on TV. An estimated 1.9 billion of us from 150 countries did.  The concert’s 58 acts graciously took no fees and raised $283 million for famine relief. We take a closer look at charity concerts here.

Today benefit concerts are more commonplace, charities hope not only to raise funds but to increase awareness of their causes.  It also seems new challenges arise for charities orchestrating these events.  For example, a concert held in 2012 to benefit the victims of Hurricane Sandy raised $30 million. It could have taken in more if not for ticket scalpers who acquired large blocks of tickets and then sold them for many times more than they purchased them. Floor seats at Madison Square Garden were reportedly scalped for tens of thousands of dollars. Can you believe the nerve of some people? After learning this we came up with a list of things for people to consider when participating in a benefit concert. Here is a sample:

  1. Check out the benefit concert charities. Do they meet BBB Charity Standards? Visit Give.org
  2. Will gifts be restricted to a specific disaster or event? Don’t assume unless specified.
  3. Do the charity sponsors have the skills and experience to carry out the promised charitable activities?
  4. Don’t assume merchandise sold at the concert (e.g. t-shirts, etc.) will benefit the participating charities unless they are authorized and specify otherwise.
  5. Watch out for ticket scalpers. Inflated ticket prices they charge will not provide more benefit to the sponsored charity.

Hit me up on Twitter @wisegiving with some of your favorite benefit concert stories. Use #wisegivingwed to let others know, too.

We are always working with charities to publish or update reports for donors.  Visit Give.org to check out any charity before giving.  Our recently evaluated charities include:

Goodwill Industries International 

Prader-Willi Syndrome Association 

Susan G. Komen for the Cure 

World Resources Institute 

Zonta International Foundation 

Finally, remember to let us know by going to https://give.org/ask-us-about-a-charity1/ if you are interested in seeing a report on a charity not on the list and we will do our best to produce one. 

H. Art Taylor, President & CEO
BBB Wise Giving Alliance

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