If you’re a musician looking for work, it can be advantageous to offer your services to nonprofit organizations. By doing so, you can gain more exposure, develop a wider audience and help raise awareness of meaningful issues. Your advertising costs will be shared with the agency when, during the course of marketing nonprofit fundraising events, the organization promotes the musical entertainment with which it has contracted. Musician jobs are not all there is, however; other types of music jobs exist in the nonprofit segment, just as they do in other businesses.
The term “jobs-for-cause” refers to artists working in support of relevant issues. You can offer your services as a musician to any number of nonprofit organizations whose sole purpose is supporting a cause. For example, you might contact environmental groups or organizations supporting music education for school children. Find out if these groups will be producing any upcoming fundraising events where you might perform. You can request payment for your services, but keep in mind that nonprofits often operate under budget constraints and will have difficulty meeting an entertainment cost that is too high. You can create a niche for yourself by working for any number of cause campaigns.
Jobs through Nonprofit Partnerships
You can develop a relationship with a nonprofit by partnering with it in support of your own focus, rather than with a jobs-for-cause connection. For example, say your music is based on an indigenous people, such as American Indians, and you perform regularly to raise awareness for this type of music. You can approach an arts council -- either locally or nationally -- and apply for a grant to help you produce shows. Foundation grant applications come with strict guidelines that must be followed to receive funding. However if your application is approved, you will receive money through the nonprofit to carry on your projects, and you will be in line for performance jobs whenever the nonprofit requires music in your genre.
Specific Music Nonprofits
You will discover through an Internet search many nonprofit organizations that provide jobs to musicians and other skilled individuals. When you become part of these organizations, through membership or via another means, you will be included with other groups to be hired out for select jobs. For instance, you might become involved with an organization that offers live entertainment to people living in institutions, or another that features regular concerts performed only by women. Still other organizations focus on exclusively offering specific types of music, such as folk or jazz. You can also take advantage of Internet directories listing places offering music jobs.
Secondary Music Jobs
The music industry is big business and, as such, requires support of a more traditional nature. Search for larger music-related organizations to find jobs, such as nonprofit record companies and arts organizations. For example, an administrative assistant position is a good one to begin a career in media or music, as office skills are always in demand. Or look for work as an artist liaison for a nonprofit, in which you will work as the go-between to strengthen professional relationships between artists and the agency by handling entertainment logistics and details. Larger nonprofits in the music industry, such as orchestras, may require booking agents, sound engineers, or marketing managers to handle media and public relations.
Michelle Reynolds has been writing about business, careers and art since 1993. She was the publisher of a newsletter, “Working Parents Monthly," as well as a graphic design guidebook. Reynolds also served as human-resources director at a resort/spa for eight years. She is an artist and promotes the arts and other artists through ElegantArtisan.com, a website she developed and maintains.