Marching Music

March-A-Thons: Friend or Foe?
March 17, 2009, 11:59 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

I got an email from a friend of mine asking for my address so that she could send me a march-a-thon.  I can’t believe it’s that time of year already!

Anyway, this post investigates what march-a-thons mean to corps as well as to members.

Let’s start off with the corps.  The corps, as an organization, definitely benefits from march-a-thons.  That’s why they insist that members fill them out.  With 150 people filling out 20 or so forms each, they’re bound to get some gas money.  Think about it.  If each of 150 people brings in only $5, that means $750 for the corps proper.  Then they offer a small percentage back to the member (usually off of their tour fees) as an incentive to participate.

Just FYI, most corps don’t actually do a march-a-thon like they say.  Most just designate a rehearsal day and figure that they probably march about that much in a day, which is probably true.

Now for the member’s point of view:  Each member pays around $2,000 in tour and camp fees.  Some corps charge more.  A small percentage of the money brought in from a member’s march-a-thon really doesn’t make much of a dent in the tour fee.  If that member were to write a personal letter to friends and family asking for help with tour fees, he or she would probably get much more out of the deal.

So the point is, march-a-thons benefit the corps proper.  Personal letters benefit individual members much more.

High School band directors, this might be a great fundraising tool for you.  Keep a percentage of the money and put another percentage into the kids’ trip accounts or give it to a charity that supports school music.  Invite donors to watch a practice, performance or the march-a-thon itself.  Getting the community involved and showing they what you’re doing is always a great PR move toward future donations and participation.


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