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Clowning for charity

Discussion in 'Newbies to clowning' started by Wobble the Clown, Mar 6, 2016.

  1. Wobble the Clown

    Wobble the Clown New Member

    Hey there,

    Do charitable events typically look for clowns? If so, what kind of stuff are you expected to do and does it give you any further exposure (chance to get hired for other events etc.)?
  2. Sir Toony Van Dukes

    Sir Toony Van Dukes Well-Known Member

    Any event could lead to booking future events. When it comes to charity events, it really depends on the charity and the type of event. Around the Christmas holidays, I do an event for children in hospice care where they fly to the North Pole. We make balloonsd for the kids. Other groups are there to offer face painting. The first year, I just did some walk around talking to the kids in line to see Santa.

    Groups look for entertainment and activities for the children. Some might want a clown/magician to perform a show. Others might want someone to do balloons or face painting. Some might want someone to greet the guests as they arrive, tell a few jokes or do some juggling.
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  3. Donuts

    Donuts Active Member

    Not being a Scrooge here but telling the truth. I do charities that are close to my heart. Charity work doesn't always lead to paid gigs some lead to more charity work. Everyone loves free and some abuse this. They will tell you its exposure, we'll advertise you, any number of come on's only to see: a Clown will be doing BLAH BLAH time: no exposure or advertising for you. Do the charities that you care a lot about. And be selective if you want to be paid for your work. I do some free and others that I am marginally connected to I offer discounts or shared revenue as opposed to free work. I have to leave with a feeling that I helped out in a positive way rather then leaving feeling like I was used for my soft heart.
    The Question to ask in charity work is if others are being paid to perform, and then let that guide you. I volunteered at an event for my alley as a last minute thing and left feeling abused after I was given $30 for three hours work then seen the other performers were paid full compensation. A dance group got 4 times what i got for 25 minutes, and a kid with a face paint kid that he got that day with no skill was paid more then I and did less. That was it for me. I have Value and should be compensated for my skills. So I am very selective in charities I choose.
    So yeah Charity is fine to do have fun but don't sell your self short if you want to do this for a living or are independently wealthy. I love what I do and have spent a small fortune honing my craft and the pay I receive allows me really only two luxuries: To eat and sleep indoors.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  4. Sir Toony Van Dukes

    Sir Toony Van Dukes Well-Known Member

    Some charities do have money to pay for entertainment. Our clown alley always asks if other entertainers, the DJ, etc. will be paid to be at the event. If the answer is yes, we turn it down. Usually, this limits us to the smaller charities where we are the only form of entertainment.

    There is also a difference between a local fundraiser for a student at a school with cancer and a large national charity like March of Dimes. The fundraiser for a student at a local school will mostly be local to that school, so if you get one family you will get many families from that school. People attending a March of Dimes event may come from a 50-100 mile radius of the event. The participants have a connection to the organization not location. So, future events from that event might have you drive 100 miles in any direction. I prefer the local events.
  5. Special K'z

    Special K'z Well-Known Member

    Charity begins at home. O.K. is that cynical enough for you?
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  6. tim

    tim Have red nose, will travel

    But justice begins next door.
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  7. The NORMAL One

    The NORMAL One Active Member

    I only do charity events that I personally believe in . Donuts said it well above about how it comes from the heart. I was at a seminar and one thing that came from it was any time you do a chairible events you should give them a bill just like if you were charging your full fee. Mark the bill paid in full service donated. This does a few things 1) they know how much you are worth to them,2) others people will know how much your service is,3)in future it will help them budget for you if they are willing to pay and 4) I not accountant but if you clown for a living this might help you with your taxes.
  8. Sir Toony Van Dukes

    Sir Toony Van Dukes Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately, in the US, you cannot report this on your taxes. You can report your mileage as a business expense, but not the value of your time.
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  9. Wobble the Clown

    Wobble the Clown New Member

    All good to know, I think the point about not letting yourself be abused and donating your time to causes you feel strongly about is very worthwhile.

    That being said, I sure wish I could clown full time even if I didn't get paid! Maybe I should put some more effort in to winning the lottery...
  10. Donuts

    Donuts Active Member

    wobbles give your time to things that you care about. I do lots of parades and have a blast at all, people know who i am does it get me many paid shows not really but i get a few and it really helps with your growth as a clown. Do street performing or try busking to get skills up facepainting balloons. Or offer to do splits with charitys you admire you get some in your pocket and they get free entertainment./
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  11. Simply Knute

    Simply Knute Well-Known Member

    the people who book entertainment for these events will try to tell you that you'll get exposure and will play the "we're a non-profit we don't have a budget for entertainment" card. I'll second the statement above that if it's a charity that you feel strongly about and something that you would donate real money to, it is probably appropriate to donate your time. But a lot of non-profits will try to come off like a charity. I had someone call me a week or two ago from the Historical Society of "xxxxxxx" County. They were looking for me to twist balloons for 4 hours a piece at two separate events. in the middle of August, outdoors. As I was starting to think about what I would charge for this (obviously a bit more for the heat factor) She said "but we can't pay you" I said I'm sorry but there are only a couple of charity events that I will donate time to, other than those I am not able to do freebies. She said "but you can hand out your cards" Again I'm not interested. "What if we bought the balloons for you?" I'm sorry but it takes me an hour to get ready, 40 minutes commute time each way, 4 hours at the event, and another half hour to 45 mintues to get out of clown and get showered once I get home. That's a full day's worth of work, and easily would cost $500. Plus The time or two that I've had clients offer to buy balloons for me in the past, they get the cheapest balloons they can find at Walmart. I use the high quality brands that I use for a reason. Then she said my favorite. "But we're a non-profit" I said: "I understand that, but I'm not a non-profit. I don't think I'll be able to help you."
  12. Sir Toony Van Dukes

    Sir Toony Van Dukes Well-Known Member

    The truth is you get just as much (or little) exposure at events you are paid as those you are unpaid. I prefer to be paid to hand out my business cards.

    A ballpark estimate is that an entertainer will charge $100/hour. If doing balloons, I can usually make balloons for 25 kids and use 2-3 balloons per design. That means, I am using less than 100 balloons per hour and a bag of 100 good balloons cost $5-6 which means the majority of the $100/hour is going to time and talent and not expenses. (Besides the balloons, there is the insurance, business cards, costume, and other stuff like that, but still only $10-15 of the hourly rate)
  13. WillyNilly

    WillyNilly Member

    I agree, don't sell yourself short if you are an established entertainer, but if you are just starting out, I think you need to give some out to get some back. It is good advise to choose your charitable work carefully, and not fall into the freebie trap. Like Simply Knute says, your time is worth money and people don't realize prep time, travel, return and recovery time. Other things to consider are cost of materials, overhead, (insurance, gas, etc...). Other considerations are location: I was in Eastern Pennsylvania, and there were mostly farmers, who didn't have extra $ for "Fancy Entertainment" so you have to decide if you want to work, or make less and still feed yourself, or in my case, my family. I will tell you, though, I always worked for cost for the fire company that saved my foundation...
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  14. The NORMAL One

    The NORMAL One Active Member

    There are so so many good charities out there. Let your heart tell you which event to do it. If you do this that event will be blessing to you and your audience.
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  15. V

    V Well-Known Member

    I basically do zero "work" for charitable organizations, meaning that I won't do balloons or magic without being compensated. I'll occasionally give a discount to groups, but even that is limited. Usually in the format of it they buy 2 hours at regular price, I give them a third hour free (some flexibility here but basically, that's what I do). Early on, I thought that I was obligated to give a discounted rate (or free) to these groups, but I got over that sentiment pretty quickly. Today, I won't do free if I have any new revenue going out (balloons, etc). That being said, I am a 501st/Rebel Legion (and newly chartered Galactic Academy) guy and often do work via that format for various groups throughout the year so it balances out (to me anyway) in that I'm not giving away my craft for free, but still able to work with a number of charities otherwise...
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  16. chinese buffet

    chinese buffet New Member

    I would not recommend doing anything for free, unless if you think you will have a higher return on your investment by meeting plenty of clients at this charity event. If it is a poorly produced event, then you will end up with no clients and wasting your time. If people there are getting the hint that you are working for free, then they may try to take advantage of you for future "charity" events to line their pockets off of your hard work.
    • Agree Agree x 1

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