Saturday June, 5th

The Basics


You want to put together a WM3 World Awareness benefit.  Fantastic!  Thank you. 
But where to start?  Brainstorm.  For example:

What do you have in mind?  Will you be having bands/artists perform at your benefit?  Documentary screening?  Combo? 
What venue would you like to use?
Do you have a special guest you can line up who might bring in a bigger crowd?
Do you have a team of volunteers?  Will you need one?
Do you want to have a raffle or offer auction items?
Do you know your market?  Are you prepared to promote and advertise?

The Details

Q:  What if I can't have my event on the official day, Saturday, June 5th?
Q:  What should I send to get my event listed on this site?
Q:  There's no way I can put together some huge benefit.  Is there still a way I can help?
Q:  I want to have bands/artists perform at my event.  Now what?
Q:  I want to have a screening of PL/PL2.  What do I need to do?
Q:  I have a few local venues that might work.  How do I decide?
Q:  I have the perfect venue in mind.  How do I get them to donate the space?
Q:  What should I charge?
Q:  I've thought of a special guest/emcee who would be perfect.  Anything I need to know?
Q:  I'd like to raise more money, so want to have a raffle/auction.  What items should I offer?
Q:  I want Celebrity Supporter X to attend my event/donate items.  Will you give me his/her email address or phone number?
Q:  I need flyers advertising my event and I'm no graphic designer.  Help?
Q:  What about WM3 T-shirts and other merch?
Q:  Do I really need a team of volunteers?
Q:  I've figured out almost everything else, but how do I get lots of people to show up?
Q:  What do I do when it's over?


Q:  What if I can't have my event on the official day, Saturday, June 5th?
A:  That's okay!  As long as it falls somewhere between Thursday, June 3rd (the 17th anniversary of the arrests) and Sunday, June 6th, we'll be happy to include your info here.

Q:  What should I send you to get my event listed on this site?
A:  Email [email protected] with all the obvious info -- date, time, location, type of event, any relevant details, cost if applicable, contact email. 

Q:  There's no way I can put together some huge benefit.  Is there still a way I can help?
A:  Absolutely!  We're encouraging everyone to think big, but realistically, not everyone has the time or resources to put together a large event.  It's WM3 Awareness Day -- what can you do to let more people know about this injustice?  Do you blog, have your own web site, Twitter or Facebook?  On June 5th, use your corner of the internet to tell everyone you know about the WM3.  Invite your friends over to watch the film(s) and be ready to answer lots of questions!  Willing to leave the house?  Find a good place to set up an info table, print up a pile of flyers (LINK), and be prepared to explain the case.  What's a good place?  It depends on your community.  Where do you usually see people handing out info and collecting donations?  College campus, in front of a grocery store, a mall?  Do you have First Friday in your area?  Approach the galleries and shops that participate and ask if you can have a tiny corner of space.  Pay attention to the rules and remember to get the proper permission.  Can you get your favorite local band to let you crash their Saturday night gig and score some space on their merch table for flyers?  Will they give you a few minutes on stage to talk to the crowd?

Q:  I want to have bands/artists perform at my event.  Now what?
A:  Figure out a projected start and end time for your benefit, as this will help you decide how many performers you will need.  Do you know the potential draw of each band/artist you have in mind and how well they do in your area?  As you approach them, make sure you're completely clear that this is for the WM3 and all funds raised will go to that cause.  It's not a bad idea, either, to have a back-up band or two ready to step in if one of your original choices drops out.  It happens.  If you're having more than a couple performers, you'll want a volunteer to act as stage manager.  That person will be responsible for keeping the event moving, on time, and get everyone on/off stage as necessary.  A few days before your benefit, you will want to send the final line-up to all your participants, confirming that they will be on the bill and when they are to perform (be very specific on times).  It's important that everyone involved knows precisely what is expected.

Q:  I want to have a screening of PL/PL2.  What do I need to do?
A:  If this is small scale, nothing special.  Just do it.  If you're lining up a theater, please contact [email protected], and we will help you get the necessary permission. 

Q:  I have a few local venues that might work.  How do I decide?
A:  First, does the capacity of the venue reflect the number of people that you expect to draw?  You don't want people lined up outside glaring at the bouncer because the place is too packed and they'll never get in.  You also don't want a cavernous performance area with very little audience.  You want to fill the venue comfortably, without erring too much in either direction.  Second, do you know someone there or have you actually worked at your ideal venue?  Or can one of the bands/volunteers help you with any negotiations?  Third, will your costs at that particular place be excessive?  If your venue is taking a big cut off the top, you're likely to raise nothing but awareness (which is fine, but you should know what expenses you are responsible for in advance.)

Q:  I have the perfect venue in mind.  How do I get them to donate the space?
A:  At your ideal venue, you (or one of your volunteers or performers) knows someone there with whom s/he can discuss money.  This can be very important.  People have thrown large benefits where the take at the end was negligible because of what they had to pay out to the venue.  At best, you can hope they will donate the space/staff fully.  If not, try for an 80/20 split (you taking 80%, of course).  Always start from the higher end, which gives you more potential to put money toward the WM3.  Remember -- if your line-up is solid and popular and the venue knows it will bring a crowd, you have better negotiating power.  The venue should make plenty of money from drinks (and food, if they offer), so feel free to remind them of this.  Once you've secured your venue, remember to follow up and keep them posted on any and all changes.  Be sure to be clear in your correspondence and keep all those emails leading up to your event.

Q:  What should I charge?
A:  That varies, of course.  How well known are your bands/artists and how much do they usually get for a show?  If you're having a screening, what do you think the audience will find fair?  It is a good idea to offer lower pricing on advance tickets with a higher price at the door.  Also, be sure to station someone at the door who is willing to solicit donations right as people walk in.  This can help bring in a surprising amount of additional funds.

Q:  I've thought of a special guest/emcee who would be perfect.  Anything I need to know?
A:  Well, it definitely helps if the person already knows about the WM3 and can easily talk about the situation.  If not, you can still approach him/her and explain what you're planning and what the case is about, hoping you'll get some help.  Since you're probably not going to pay this person, make sure it's very clear that all funds raised are being donated.  If you expect your special guest to bring in more of an audience, make sure this person is well-known in your community.  Just like your performers and venue, keep your special guest apprised of any changes or info s/he should know.  Confirm the appearance a few days prior and remind the person exactly what time s/he is expected to be at the venue and on stage.

Q:  I'd like to raise more money, so want to have a raffle/auction.  What items should I offer?
A:  Either you or a trusted volunteer will need to contact people about donating.  This may require some hustle and probably should not be undertaken by the shy types.  Talk to the artists who are participating in your benefit.  Will they donate any autographed posters, CDs, etc., that people may want?  Will restaurants in your area donate gift certificates?  Book store?  Music?  Photographer? Art gallery?  Pet store?  Coffee shop?  Gym?  Remember, typically silent auctions are best for items worth $50 or more.  If you have any donated items where you're not sure about pricing, use the internet to do a little research.   Raffle items should be fairly small ticket, auction items are your bigger money.

Very important:  Always thank people who donate raffle/auction items to your benefit.  Yes, might seem obvious, but you'd be surprised how many people forget this common courtesy.  Take a few minutes to send a note and let the kind and generous folks know that you've safely received the item(s) and how much it is appreciated. 

Q:  I want Celebrity Supporter X to attend my event/donate items.  Will you give me his/her email address or phone number?
A:  No.  Please don't write us and request private info, or ask us to contact someone for you.  If you want to solicit an appearance or items from someone, please realize that you will have to do it yourself.  As always, be sure to be excruciatingly polite in all your communications.

Q:  I need flyers advertising my event and I'm no graphic designer.  Help?
A:  Don't worry.  The amazing Kim will come to your rescue.  Please email [email protected] with every scrap of information you want on your flyer (date, time, venue, address, band list, whatever!) and any clip art you would like her to incorporate.  If you don't have any art work in mind, that's fine, too.

Q:  What about WM3 T-shirts and other merch?
A:   Depending on the size and type of your event, we may be able to help you obtain some raffle/auction items.  Once you've submitted your finalized information, we can discuss this further.  Please realize that WM3.org is using Zazzle now, meaning there's no longer a way to get FTWM3 shirts in bulk and at cost.  You may want to print some of these (LINK-COMING SOON) and hand them out at your event, so people know where to go and order one!

Q:  Do I really need a team of volunteers? 
A:  That depends on the type of event you're planning.  You'll probably need at least a few helpers.  You may want to ask each volunteer about his/her specific job skills and desired contribution before assigning a task.  Make sure every volunteer knows exactly what s/he is supposed to be doing and that there will be no payment.  (Yes, this may seem silly, but not all "volunteers" seem to comprehend the definition.)  We can't stress this enough:  Keep your volunteers in the loop at all times and take the time to follow-up on their activities and answer any questions.  Communication is important to a successful event.

Q:  I've figured out almost everything else, but how do I get lots of people to show up?
A:  Here's where it helps to know your market.  If you're having bands, where do their audiences usually hang out?  Are the bands willing to plug the upcoming show?  Give them a big bunch of your flyers and ask them to please put them on their tables at prior gigs and mention the benefit from the stage.  If you're having a film screening, where would you find people who might be interested?  You can promote your gig in a number of ways, but think about your target audience.  Make a list of promotional avenues based on your plans. 

Where do people in your area hear about music/film benefits like the one you are putting together?  Contact local DJs, especially if one of your bands gets play on the station.  They may be interested in what cause the band/artist is backing.  If you're really lucky, you may even be able to score an on air performance and interview for publicity.  Offer a few free tickets as enticement -- not only will you get people in the door, it's advertising.  Have one of those local (usually freebie) papers where they list all the upcoming events around town?  Get your benefit included.  If you (or volunteer/artist/speaker) has any contacts at a paper, news station, radio station, etc., angle for a write-up.  Showing one or both of the documentaries?  Check your local colleges for Amnesty International chapters or anti-death penalty groups, and let them know about your screening and the WM3.  Ask for volunteers and help with promotion.  Use the internet.  Does your venue have a web site?  Make sure your event is listed.  Get your bands to hype the benefit on their sites.  Use Facebook, Craigslist, local message boards.  If you aren't sure what sites your target audience is using to get info, google.

Q:  What do I do when it's over?
A:  As your event winds down, remember to thank everyone in sight.  Thank your performers.  Thank your venue, the bartenders, the staff.  Thank your volunteers.  Thank anyone who gave a donation.  Then relax.  You did it!  After that, send your donations to the Defense Fund.  A few days later, be polite and send a note to everyone who helped or participated and say thank you (again).

[Huge thanks to Anje Vela for a lot of the advice and suggestions included above.]


"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, commited citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." ~ Margaret Mead

Last Edited By: freethewm3stl Apr 10 10 2:53 PM. Edited 1 time.