You could easily argue that recruiting has never been more important than it is right now. After more than one year of isolation, we are all coping with the same sets of issues. We are all nostalgic for normalcy, as we seek to end this loneliness and monotony and start filling our scrapbook with thrilling new adventures and experiences. We want to spend time with our friends, families, co-workers, and ensemble mates once again. We look forward to enjoying the activities in our lives that bring us joy and satisfaction.
For many of us, there is no greater joy than performing with our ensembles. However, many ensembles have not been able to rehearse or perform together in a long time and are now facing an uphill battle. That is why this is the time to step up your recruiting game as you work on rebuilding your program.
Regardless of your own habits, it is important to remember that everybody has reacted differently during this pandemic. While some members of your ensemble have remained active during the pandemic, many members of your ensemble have been at home, have not seen their friends or ensemble mates in over a year, and have started to grow increasingly apathetic. If you have not kept active with weekly Zoom calls or virtual performances, there is a good chance that they have not participated in any musical activities for a long time. Make sure you engage all members of your ensemble and enlist their help in your recruitment efforts. If you can also find a way to incentivize their hard work, you can increase your likelihood of growing your numbers.
You can always create a rewards program where members receive a prize for every new candidate that comes to the meeting, but we believe there are more unique ways to generate excitement. Having something to look forward to, like an exciting international performance tour, is an important part of self-care and leads to improved mental health. That is particularly true now, as excitement for the return of travel has soared following a year of lockdown and confinement.
Not only can we provide that shared objective to help generate excitement, but we can also bring travel right into your office or living room. For the first time ever, our knowledgeable tour managers and tour consultants will be available to your group to assist with recruitment meetings. They will Zoom in live from destinations throughout the world and virtually guide you through the itinerary so that everyone can better understand the music, adventure, and fun that is looming just over the horizon. As the months pass and your departure date nears, a tour manager can Zoom in again to answer any pre-departure questions and keep your ensembles enthusiasm high.
We know you want to travel, and we are making it easier than ever to make that happen.
For youth groups in particular, fundraising does more than just help generate the money needed to your ensemble afloat, it also helps teach students responsibility, imparts the importance of organization, and can unify ensembles. Our eBook, Fundraising on a Major Scale, is a valuable resource featuring hundreds of free, out-of-the-box fundraising ideas for your ensemble. However, we realize many of these fundraisers are ideal for in-person fundraising, and your ensemble may be more interested in hosting a virtual event. If that is the case, there are still several fundraisers that can easily be moved online.
- Host a watch party through Facebook (or your preferred online platform) and charge for tickets. We would recommend selecting a movie that takes place in your upcoming travel destination. Thinking about taking a tour to Italy? You could always watch Roman Holiday, A Room with a View, or even Eat, Pray, Love. Planning a tour to Austria? You cannot go wrong with The Sound of Music. Not only can you watch the movie with your fellow ensemble members and their families, but you can also interact just like you would at the theatre!
- Whether you want to break into teams or play individually, hosting a game night is a fun and simple option for your virtual event. Games like Charades or Pictionary are easy to play via video conference, but you could just as easily host a trivia night or create a tournament around an online game like Scrabble. You can even have people sponsor the game night, so money is donated for every question that you get right! It is a fun and easy way to generate money for your upcoming tour.
- Hosting a virtual auction is another great way to raise money for your tour. There are many different platforms available to run online auctions and raffles which makes this an easy event to take into the virtual world (RallyUp is free and easy to use, but you should also check out Chorus Connection’s list of the six best auction platforms). Consider auctioning off live performances, offering naming rights to a new song, or simply selling unneeded household items. This is also an opportunity to partner with a charity or non-profit and splitting the proceeds from your fundraiser. People will be more receptive to donating if they know that part of the proceeds are going to people that really need it.
There are so many ways to raise money for your performance trip, and we are dedicated to making it easy for everybody in your ensemble to travel. In addition to our new scholarship opportunities, all groups with at least 30 travelers receive Encore’s “Fabulous Fundraiser.” This unique offering provides groups a free trip for two to Paris or London to raffle off. Using this one-of-a-kind benefit, we have seen ensembles raise over $35,000 for their tour!
Looking for some inspiration about the best ways to utilize Encore’s Fabulous Fundraiser? Diane Linn, Executive Director and Board President of the Community Choir of Detroit, outlined how her ensemble has maximized the benefits of our raffle fundraiser.
Select the Right Fundraising Channels
Fundraising is an essential part of planning a successful performance tours, and crowdfunding is a great way for both individuals and ensembles to collect online donations to help achieve their fundraising goal. There are a variety of crowdfunding options available for ensembles that are looking to increase their financial contributions, including GoFundMe, Fundly, FundRazr, and Network for Good.
Additionally, Encore provides each passenger with their own personal fundraising page, where individuals can send emails to friends and family and post on social media to crowdfund for their trip. This provides enrolled passengers with an opportunity to demonstrate their enthusiasm for an upcoming trip and encourage their friends and family to invest in their tour. It is also a valuable tool for directors, as it allows them to show potential participants that the trip may be more affordable than they realized.
Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Social Media
Developing a social media strategy for your ensemble is one of the best ways to your ensembles activities and engage with the community. Additionally, most social media platforms (including Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube) allow you to accept donations on behalf of your organization.
If you are planning to tour with a youth group, you already know how much time students invest in social media. Make sure to provide the latest updates, share your travel plans, post scenic pictures, and videos from your destination, and provide links to all your fundraisers. It is also important that you do not create social media platforms without need. Trying to manage too many social media platforms can be overwhelming and may limit your ability to streamline your fundraising efforts. Only use the platforms that make sense for your ensembles needs.
This also does not need to be a one-person job! Consider forming a committee to plan your social media campaign and flood your target audience timelines with the benefits of your ensembles. Your group members will be excited to share their plans, and by getting your message out to a wider audience, you can increase the likeliness of recruiting new members to your ensemble.
Get on the Road
As they say, there is no time like the present! If you are working on rebuilding your program, now is the time to announce your trip! Whatever destination you decide on, we know that ensemble members and their families are ready for new experiences – especially if it brings them far from the confines of their own home. With new safety protocols, increased flexibility for group leaders, and our new Worry-Free Guarantee, there has never been a better time to travel.
As we see the end of the pandemic on the horizon, you can reshape your program and organization. It is easy to be deterred by the events of the past year, but by being active and vocal in your recruitment efforts, you can increase your numbers and positively impact the lives of your members.
If you are recruiting for a youth group, international performance tours are unique in their ability to immerse students in a foreign culture. Your students can use foreign languages they have studied in school, and they can explore life as a student in a foreign country. Of course, there is no glossing over the fact that many ensembles have not had the opportunity to rehearse much (if at all) over the past year, which is why all our itineraries can be adapted into music education or music appreciation tours. By taking out the performance aspect and replacing them with other fabulous musical highlights, you can generate excitement, re-engage your group members, assist with recruitment, and start a tradition of touring.
We hope to see you back on the road whenever you are ready!
Interested in learning more about how a performance tour can jump start your ensemble? Speak with one of our dedicated tour consultants and receive a free quote for your next tour.