Oh, the joys of organization! One day you are sitting on your comfortable sofa in your living room watching TV, and while flicking through the hundreds of channels you happen to stop on a channel that shows a squirrel gathering nuts. The squirrel is so adorable to you that the image becomes indelible in your mind. As the day goes on, you just can’t seem to get the picture of this precious squirrel out of your head and the fact that the poor little thing must be having an awful time trying to collect nuts and other types of food for it and its family to eat in a world controlled by those flesh-wearing monsters known as humans. Soon, your adulation turns to pity and you begin thinking that somebody needs to do something to help these poor defenseless animals. Somebody besides you needs to understand the plights and quandaries that these unfortunate mammals have to go through every single day. So, you call up one of your friends to discuss the situation and lo and behold, they know someone who knows someone who knows someone else who is a community activist. Before long you are talking to the community activist explaining the dire and hopeless situation of the poor suburban squirrel. Through a sound heart and a similar mindset,the community activist gets on board with your “save-the-squirrel mentality”and decides that the best way to make others aware that this problem is at an incredibly immense and volatile scale is to have a “Save the Squirrel Benefit” which will draw thousands of people to rally around the cause. If sea turtles, Asian tigers, and African rhinos can have benefits to help save them from extinction, why not the run-of-the-mill squirrel that runs around our streets? Sounds good enough, huh? The time has come for you and your squirrel-concerned friend to put this plan in action….
First off, you need to set a date for the event and find a venue. Unless you know someone who is willing to do a friendly gesture and let you use their venue for free, this is going to cost you some big time money no matter what the cause is for. Chances are that you need an indoor place that will protect your guests from the harsh weather elements and a place big enough to hold the number of people that are attending. Secondly, you need to find businesses around your area that would be willing to “donate” their time and services to your event. We’ll come back to this later. Third, you need to advertise your event to make sure that it gets to people who not only want to attend this grand function, but are willing to throw some extra cash your way to ease the suffering of the squirrels. Although Facebook and other internet social media avenues are now regarded as great, efficient, and economic advertising tools, they still don’t “reach out” to people like TV, radio, magazine, newspaper, and door-to-door advertising does, and once again, that is going to cost some money. However, you and your community-activist friend aren’t really worried about the cost of these factors, and why should you be? After all, you have a good amount of start-up money and you plan to take in at least $50,000 from the benefit alone to help ease the suffering of these precious animals. It’s easy to throw a cool $1,000 towards the venue and another $2000 towards the cost of advertising, not to mention another $2000 to the caterer for the food that will be consumed and yet another $1000 or more to the keynote speaker who your activist friend is flying in (first class) from New Hampshire due to his significant knowledge in the area of squirrel studies. All in all, your newly-developed squirrel relief fund should pocket up to $35,000 from this event alone (granted all of your calculations on attendance are correct).
Now this is the comical part…. As the event draws closer and your benefit starts to take form with organizers, directors, and volunteers doing their respective duties, you have to set up meetings to make sure that everyone is on the same page with what you’re doing and what you want the end results or goals of your benefit to be. Throughout these meetings, everything is discussed, debated, and final compromises are made. However, somewhere along the lines in these pre-planning meetings somebody brings up the fact that music will be needed. Not just regular music playing over a CD through a PA system inside the venue, but “live music” from a “liveband”. It will make the benefit seem more regal and much classier and the guests will have more of an extremely pleasant experience than they would have if there was to be no music playing at all. 99% of the time this will get shot down quickly in those pre-planning meetings because of one simple fact - the band WOULD HAVE TO BE PAID. This is where all of a sudden, all of the “free-flowing-throw-money-at-anything-and-anywhere” recklessness of you and your fellow benefit directors comes to a complete and abrupt stop. This is the part where you see that having music entertainment at your event is somewhat important, but not so important that you and the rest of your squirrel fund volunteers have to pay for it. To the people who use music to maintain a lifestyle it is understandable (to them) that they should get paid for their musical services and talents. After all, the years of honing and dedicating themselves to singing, playing instruments, and composing arrangements should have some monetary award at the end of the day, correct? Well, maybe it is to them, but definitely not to you and your constituents, for this is a BENEFIT which means that EVERYONE should devote their free time and services to the cause (the venue, advertising, catering, keynote speaker, etc. doesn’t count; go figure…)
When the idea with the live band falls through, the next course of action is that so-called DJ. DJ’s have more music than live bands, they tend to get paid less than live bands, and there are so many of them floating around they are easier to acquire than live bands. Who needs that expensive “live music stuff” when you can get a DJ to just play various tunes in the venue? If there was any inkling of reasonable thought in your head and the heads of your benefit directors that live musicians should get paid (at least a little bit) for their services, it totally goes out of the window for DJ’s. Paying a DJ to do a benefit is hilarious! Under no circumstances should payment ever be brought up to a lowlife degenerate DJ. DJ’s are the lowest form of “musicians”, and they should only be used at a benefit when there is no one else available or as a last resort. Hell, DJ’s don’t even sing or play instruments – all they do is put a CD or a cassette tape in an electronic playing device and hit “play” or “stop”; any baboon can do that. Now that you think about it, DJ’s should be freaking “honored” to play at a benefit for free because the best payment a DJ can get is EXPOSURE, not money. It doesn’t matter that the DJ has to keep in regular contact or work with the organizers on the order of events and how to proceed from step-to-step so that the flow of the occasion is error-free. It doesn’t matter that they have spent the past month organizing and developing a playlist for you and your patrons to enjoy. It doesn’t matter that they may have to drive up to 50 miles and use their own money to pay for mileage and maintenance to their vehicle just to participate for free at your benefit. It doesn’t matter that they have to load their equipment in this same vehicle and arrive at your benefit early so they may unload, set-up, and position state-of-the-art equipment inside the venue for precise sound for you and your guests. It doesn’t matter that they continuously have to keep the music flowing through the reception and dinner and take requests and in a broad sense, keep a sinuous order to your benefit. It doesn’t matter that they have to control the sound levels through the microphone and the mixer so that your all-too-important keynote speaker can deliver his boring 30 minute speech on squirrels living on suburban streets. It doesn’t matter that the DJ basically awakens your guests after the speech is over and gives them something to party about, let loose, and get down to until the end of your benefit. And lastly, it doesn’t matter that at the end of the night the DJ breaks down all of the equipment by himself, maneuvers it back and forth through sporadic crowds of after-guests to load it back into his vehicle, and then proceeds to drive 50 miles back home with nary a person telling him he did a good job.
Wow, what a successful night! The Save-the-Squirrel Benefit generated thousands of dollars in revenue, and everybody (from the organizers to the businesses) is paid off. There is so much money left over to help the squirrels drastically improve their lives that they may never have to forage again! Nevertheless, that money isn’t important. What is important was that the community now knows the plight of that suburban squirrel, uh…. right? Thank goodness you saved a few hundred dollars by getting that DJ to devote his time, effort, equipment, services, and Heaven knows what else for free. However, now that you think about it after the fact, that DJ was a pretty important person in the whole scheme of things, huh? That DJ was probably just as important as you, your community activist friend, the keynote speaker, and all of the volunteers combined. You know, it goes without saying… that DJ was just as important as the venue, the caterer, the advertising, and everything else you had to spend money on to get this event to take place! Wow,even though you had to spend countless amounts of money on those things, you were able to get the DJ to do a priceless job for absolutely nothing! More than likely, you’ll hire that sucker; um…DJ again next year! Thanks for reading!