We’re seeing a lot of new indie CD projects coming out that pledge to donate a percentage of the income from the CD’s sales to a charitable organization. I think it’s admirable that you want to donate to a good cause. However, I believe you and the charity can get more out of this than doing it that way. You may be selling your CD one at a time and when you stick the money in your pocket it takes some organization to be able to remember to put that money in an account and actually send it to the charity. Then you just end up feeling guilty about forgetting.
Here are some suggestions about how songwriters can get their songs to appropriate charitable organizations, and how those organizations can find appropriate songs for their cause. This is a ‘public relations’ job and takes a little dedication and follow-through.
Basically, it takes time to ‘smile & dial’ for a few days to find which organization you want to donate to. Fortunately, there are many. Then find which person in the organization is responsible for their public relations. Ask when/how their fund-raisers work. If they use music at their events, ask if you can donate your CD (containing not more than ONE or TWO appropriate songs, i.e., ecology songs for the Sierra Club) to be included at their events. Ask if the organization will distribute your one-song CD via their mailings to people who send them a donation.
In one scenario, the only thing you get in return (which is good) is the PR from hundreds/thousands of people getting your CD into their hands w/your info on it, e.g., lyrics, name/e-mail/Web site/yada-yada, how-to-buy-more of your music. This, after all, is a version of DISTRIBUTION. And the charity is getting it to people you can’t reach on your own.
Another scenario is that if a giver donates a certain figure to the cause (above $100, for example) they receive your one-song CD as a premium, and the organization pays you a $1.00. Even if only 100 are sold, you’ve made $100 more than you had before, you’ve covered your hard costs, plus you’ve reached a new audience of future purchasers.
In fact, a charity MIGHT agree to let you have a list of names & addresses of those who got your CD. Naturally, this has to be discussed in advance with the organization.
And last but not least, can you perform your songs ‘live’ for the organization … do they do benefits? Fundraisers? Will they let you sell your CDs at those events?
There are many ways to market your songs. But as with everything else, it’s a job and you may just have to hire someone to do it for you. The idea is to get the word out to as many people as possible, right? Not to mention that you could have a song that becomes an anthem and does us all a world of good.