HomeSinging Valentines – a great publicity-based fundraiser!

brodymcd's picture

If you're looking for a great way to raise a little extra cash for your group, try Singing Valentines. They are a great combination of publicity and fundraising, and are universally popular. I’ve done them with my college quartet, as an adult with my barbershop chorus, and for ten years with my high school groups. They are great fun and have the added benefit requiring no up-front investment.

We’ll divide Singing Valentines into 5 stages: planning, promotion, sales, performances and wrap-up.

Planning

  • Get permission first – well… if you have to, that is. As a high school, we have to ask the principal. College groups might need to file with their activities office.
  • Figure out in advance: how many can you do? – Take the time to realistically plan your capacity, taking travel time into account. There’s nothing more embarrassing than overselling and going back to the buyer with nothing but an apology. This might mean a few less dollars for you, but this could be the buyer’s only romantic gesture!
  • If you have a large group, consider dividing into quartets – its fun to sing together, but more groups means more money. You are doing this for money, right?
  • Have a song for guys and a song for girls – clearly post this! It seems obvious but many people are embarrassed to ask and thus will not order. OR… you can use “generic” songs like “Stand By Me” that are gender-neutral.

Promotion

  • Go on radio – We go on our student station and morning announcements. Colleges have their own stations. Your local stations are open to helping as well.
  • Put up posters – who, what, where, when, why.
  • Sales table – we sell at lunch in the cafeteria, often singing around the table or playing one of our CDs on a boom box. You could also sell at concerts.

Sales

  • Let people know where the money goes – it doesn’t hurt to promote this as a good cause as well as a fun event
  • Have upgrades available – flowers, chocolates… even your CD as a keepsake of the serenade! Upgrades are more chances to make money, and many people will gladly let you become their one-stop Valentine shop.
  • Get tons of information – don’t just get the time and place of the serenade. Make sure you get the buyers’ cell number in case something goes wrong. Find out from the buyer if there’s something you can reference that would make the serenade especially meaningful or entertaining.

Performances

  • Announce yourselves and find the “victim”
  • Play to the audience while you serenade.  – Don’t forget you are not only serenading someone, you are selling your group! Because this will be one or two songs, explode with energy. Think in advance of things you can do to get the onlookers excited. Have several members of the group “fight” over the person, or surround them as you sing until you are uncomfortably close.
  • Take business cards with you – it’s always a good time to promote!
  • Thank everyone; announce yourselves again as you leave.

Wrap-up

  • As with everything you do as a group, take notes of what went well, what could be improved
  • Circle back and thank everyone involved (your principal, radio station, etc.)

With a little forethought, you can really make Singing Valentines a hit for your group. If you do them annually, you can expect to get “regulars” and watch your sales grow. You don’t have to stop with Valentines, either. You can run similar programs around prom time (“…ask her to prom with a song!”), Sweetest Day or Christmas. No matter what you do, have a good time. Everyone loves a serenade!

Comments

We are trying this at

We are trying this at Marlborough for the first time this coming Friday! The kids are super excited as is much of the staff and student body.  Thanks for all of the helpful tips!

Shannon Phypers Choral Director, Marlborough High School Ithaca College '07 - Current slave to BU's M.M. online degree program

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