Today we’re going to explain how to build your band’s Supporter Network. But before we go into how to build one, we’re going to take a step back and explain what we mean by “Supporter Network.”
What is a Supporter Network? It’s pretty simple: your Supporter Network is anyone who cares about your band and wants to see it succeed!
It’s important to surround your band with a community of people that care about your band’s success, whether that means attending concerts, sporting a band shirt, sharing your performances or pitching in to buy new instruments. The question we’re here to address is: how do you build one? The good news is you don’t have to turn very far.
Building Your Network – Where to Start?
As the band director, you are already in the middle of all band action, so the easiest way to start building a community is to take a look at who supports you. Running a band is hard work! Choosing the right songs to play, rehearsing for hours with your students, completing paperwork, planning band trips/competitions, putting out fires - we don’t need to go on. There are many reasons to be proud of the work you’re doing, and there’s a high chance your friends and family feel the same way. So next time you need help raising money for a competition, reach out to your networks!
Imagine a student in your band. Now, imagine how many people would be interested and excited to learn about that student’s extracurricular activity: parents, grandparents, mentors, cousins, neighbors, private lesson teachers, church/synagogue/mosque members, etc. (They weren’t kidding when they said it takes a village to raise a child.) Ok, now imagine that for every student in your band. That’s a lot of people - and a big chunk of your Supporter Network!
Although the students are the core of your band, don’t underestimate the power of your parents. In a survey conducted by the Association of Fundraising Distributors & Suppliers, 13% of people who supported a school or youth fundraiser did so because the student was a child of a friend or coworker. A successful band means a successful child, and parents love to share the accomplishments of their child with others!
Alumni are an underutilized group of potential supporters. Once a band kid, always a band kid. Band is more than a classroom activity. The skills and experience your students are gaining will last their whole lives. In your next round of fundraising to buy new instruments, try reaching out to former band members, you will be surprised by who gives back.
Tip: if you don’t have the contact information of old members, try searching for them on LinkedIn or Facebook!
Another potential source of support often overlooked is your school community at large. Community and school relationships go hand-in-hand: strong communities come from strong schools and vice versa. The businesses in the area are most likely to benefit from students or parents of the school community, and can stand to gain a lot of exposure and goodwill from sponsoring school activities. For your next concert, try asking a business to cover the cost of printing programs in exchange for advertising space on them.
Good band programs come from good support. We’ve given you some ideas as to where you could turn to find your Supporter Network. Wherever you find your supporters, it is extremely important that you keep in communication! Let’s repeat that one more time to show how important that is. Keep in touch with your supporters! Regularly letting them know what’s up with your band will keep them engaged. For tips on how to keep in touch, check out our guide on Communicating with Your Supporters.