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Battle of the Bands Fundraisers: Frequently Asked Questions

If you aren’t familiar with the ins and outs of a battle of the bands, it can be difficult to know where to start with this fundraising idea. Check out these frequently asked questions to learn everything you need to go to get on the road to success! 


What is a battle of the bands?

A battle of the bands is an event in which multiple music groups sign up to compete. Attendees enjoy each band’s performance and then vote for their favorite at the end of the night. One group is declared the winner of the battle!


How does a battle of the bands work? 

There are a lot of different ways to set up your battle of the bands fundraising event. You could, for example, have each band sign up to perform only one song, or you could give each band an allotted amount of time to perform multiple songs. Similarly, there are many ways to determine the winner. To boost your fundraising efforts, you could have attendees vote with their dollars, or you could recruit a panel of judges to deliberate and announce the winner. 


However you decide to run your battle of the bands, make the rules of the competition clear for every group that signs up, and be sure to walk your audience through how it will work before you kick off your night of music!


Is a battle of the bands right for my donors? 

A battle of the bands fundraiser is definitely a fun, high-octane fundraising idea, but it might not appeal to every donor. To determine whether a battle of the bands is right for your organization, review what you know about your donors. This might include: 

  • Demographic information, such as age
  • How your donors have responded to past fundraising events
  • Your donors’ giving preferences
  • Average donation size 

As you review the hard data and anecdotal information you have about your donors, you’ll be able to determine if they would be interested in attending a battle of the bands event. For example, if you know your donors respond well to musical performers at your fundraising events and that they prefer to give in small amounts over time, a battle of the bands fundraiser where they pay a small ticket fee to attend might be just the thing for your next fundraising push.


Is a battle of the bands an expensive fundraiser? 

Depending on how you decide to run your battle of the bands fundraiser, there may be a few start-up costs on your end. You should budget for the following when planning this fundraiser: 

  • Venue rental fee
  • Decor (optional)
  • Marketing and promotion materials 
  • Concessions or branded merchandise to be sold at the event


How do you make money with a battle of the bands fundraiser? 

There are many ways to make money with a battle of the bands fundraiser, and the best part is that you can employ a multiple strategies to boost your overall success with this idea: 

  • Charge bands a competition entry fee
  • Charge attendees a ticket fee
  • Sell concessions or branded merchandise 
  • Have attendees vote with their dollars for their favorite band 
  • Raffle or auction off the “best seats in the house” 
  • Sell VIP Backstage Passes to attendees who want to meet the performers before or after the show 
  • Offer paid valet parking or coat check 
  • Secure event sponsorship deals with local businesses 


Can I host a battle of the bands fundraiser as a virtual or hybrid event? 

Absolutely! Like many fundraising ideas, a battle of the bands fundraiser can be moved to an online setting very easily. You’ll just need plenty of time beforehand to work out any technological difficulties. 


Instead of selling tickets at the door, you’ll want to sell access to the event’s livestream link. And once you have all of your online attendees ready to go in your virtual concert setting, make sure to build up the excitement and hype using interactive features like a chat box or emojis! 

Setting Up an Unforgettable Battle of the Bands Fundraiser: 5 Steps

A successful battle of the bands fundraiser will require some thoughtful planning beforehand. Check out the five steps we recommend you complete to pull off an unforgettable night full of music and fun. 


1. Secure a concert venue. 

Not every venue is conducive to an evening of rock ‘n’ roll. For example, choosing to host your battle of the bands in your church’s chapel might not sit well with all of your parishioners. Likewise, hosting your event in the spacious open field behind your local high school might seem like a great idea at first, but might not be the best choice when you realize the sound equipment you have access to can’t accommodate a large outdoor space. 


Where you host your battle of the bands will set the tone for the entire event, so it’s worth getting the setting right. Reach out to local concert venues, performing halls, and schools or churches with roomy auditoriums or gyms to get an idea of all of your options. Remember to consider the rental fee for each space as you budget for your event. If you need to offset the cost of the venue, you might ask the owner of the venue to sponsor your organization and donate the use of the venue to your organization for the night.


2. Reach out to local bands. 

You can’t have a battle of the bands without some excellent musicians! Scour your local music scene for up-and-coming performers who want to get their names out in the public eye, and invite them to perform for the chance to be crowned the champion of your event. Once you’ve gotten one band to sign up, encourage those performers to invite other groups they know to join in on the fun. By tapping into your musicians’ personal networks, you’ll soon have a lineup of incredible talent slated for your big night. 


If you want to include judges as part of your battle of the bands, you’ll also want to start reaching out to potential participants at this point in the process. You might recruit local music teachers or professors, retired performers, or local celebrities. To add even more fun to mix, you might ask each judge to take on a character. For example, many of your attendees would likely get a kick out of seeing one of your judges mimic Simon Cowell’s famous sarcasm throughout the night. 


3. Advertise your event. 

Once you have the who, what, when, and where of your battle of the bands fundraiser planned, it’s time to start promoting your event to your supporters. To be truly effective, your marketing strategy should target your donors where they already are. We recommend taking a segmented approach when deciding how best to make your marketing dollars stretch. Employ strategies that have worked before. For example, if you know your audience responds well to social media posts about upcoming fundraisers, make sure to leverage that strategy. 


One great tool for a battle of the bands fundraiser is an event landing page on your organization’s website. On your landing page, you can include all of the information your supporters need to know and the online tools necessary for securing tickets. You can direct your supporters to this resource when they have questions or concerns about your event and link to it in email newsletters, blog posts, social media posts, and text reminders. 


4. Sell concessions or branded merchandise. 

On the big night, you’ll want to employ several revenue-boosting strategies. Two of our favorites for this type of event are selling concessions or branded merchandise. 


Everyone loves a treat while listening to a great concert. Consider selling concessions like soda and water, or popcorn, cotton candy, and soft pretzels to your concert crowd. They’ll be excited to see there are refreshments available throughout the night, and they’ll be happy to spend a few more dollars knowing that they’ll be further helping your cause. 


Branded merchandise, like concert t-shirts, can also sell like hotcakes at a battle of the bands fundraiser. Many people enjoy collecting concert t-shirts and would love to commemorate their experience at your event by adding another shirt to their collection. Design a shirt that includes the date of your event, a reminder of your cause, and the lineup of bands, and sell it during the event. 


5. Have attendees vote for their favorite band and announce the winner!

Once the last chord has been strummed, it’s time to crown the champion of the battle of the bands! Give your attendees (or judges) a moment to deliberate among themselves to choose their favorite performers. To earn extra cash, you could have them place their vote by paying a dollar for their favorite group, or you could measure the cheers and applause that each group gets. 


After the winner is determined, invite them up on stage for an epic encore!

Additional Resources

Wanting to learn more about you can take your battle of the bands fundraiser to the next level? Check out these additional resources: