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Ways to Host a Comedy Night Fundraiser

Comedy night fundraisers bring your community members together for a memorable night out. But how do you plan one effectively enough to draw a big crowd?

You have two main options for how to host a comedy night:

1. Make it an open mic comedy night

If you structure your comedy night as an open mic event, you’ll ask for volunteers and end up creating a unique show full of many different comedy routines. This is the perfect option for school or drama club fundraisers! Class clowns and aspiring actors alike will jump at the chance to try out their own comedic stylings.

There are a few considerations to keep in mind when hosting an open mic comedy night:

  • You’d need to recruit volunteers. The time and effort you need to put into recruitment will vary depending on your resources and audience. If you already know multiple people who want to perform, this process will be quick. If you’re starting from scratch, however, your team may have to spend a lot of time finding volunteers.
  • Performing can help students improve their public speaking skills. Getting up on stage and telling your own jokes is nerve-wracking for anyone, but practice makes perfect. Performing at the comedy night will give your students a valuable opportunity to build stronger public speaking skills, which can translate to success in other areas like school presentations. 
  • Supporting friends and family helps engage your community. Your community members will have more interest in your event if they’re coming to support someone they know who’s performing. This also creates an encouraging, supportive atmosphere for your event.
  • It’s free! Open mic comedy nights operate on a volunteer basis, so you won’t have to spend any of your budget on performers! Save funds for other important aspects of the event, like the venue.

Make sure to thank all of your performers if you choose this option. Consider giving them small gifts like branded event t-shirts to show your gratitude.

2. Hire a professional comedian for your comedy night

If you don’t have students excited to perform their own sets, don’t worry. Many organizations opt to hire a professional comedian for their comedy night fundraisers instead.

This is a great option, but hiring a professional comes with its own pros and cons. Before making your decision, think about these factors:

  • You can support a local professional. If you choose to hire a local, up-and-coming comedian, your fundraiser will help get their name out there and give them valuable experience. They may come out of your fundraiser with plenty of new fans!
  • A professional is likely to attract more guests. While parents would be excited to watch their children perform in an open mic comedy night, it may not be as enjoyable for other supporters. By booking a professional comedian (especially if you hire one with a recognizable name!), you’ll attract more attendees with the promise of a great show.
  • Professional comedians can put on a full show. You won’t have to worry about finding enough acts to fill an hour or more. One professional comedian will have enough material to cover the entire event!
  • This option is more expensive. Comedians who are just starting out may be willing to perform for free, but most professionals will need to be paid for their time. Reach out to a few options ahead of time to see if you have enough room in your budget to cover their fees.

Hiring a professional may make promoting your comedy night easier, too! Your chosen comedian will likely do plenty of their own marketing to help you with ticket sales.

Tips for Promoting Your Comedy Night Fundraiser

To make sure you get a good turnout for your comedy night, use these event marketing tips:

  1. Market the event across multiple communication channels. Send emails, post on social media, and post flyers in prominent locations throughout your school or community. Make sure to include links to your event registration page in all of your online promotional materials.
  2. Include QR codes on any flyers and direct mail advertisements. You can set up QR codes to automatically take anyone who scans them to your event registration page. This makes it easier for anyone who sees your physical advertisements to buy a ticket!
  3. Provide performers with their own marketing materials to share. Open mic performers will want to tell all their friends and family members to attend the event. Make this easier for them by providing flyers and social media graphics to all of your performers.