Helpful tips on how to speak to clients about the financial side of performances.

Last updated: 1 March 2023

Quoting for gigs can be daunting. Often we are desperate for performance opportunities for our choir, so the idea of charging people for our time is something a lot of us grapple with.

Some clients have a budget – a magic number that will often remain a secret throughout all negotiations. Sometimes they don’t, but they could squeeze their boss for a contribution if pushed. And, unfortunately, sometimes there is no money no matter what we do.

So how do you proceed if you have been asked (or have asked to) perform?

1. Ask if they have a budget
They may come out and say “Sorry, but we can only pay you $2000”. They probably won’t, but you’ll be happy you asked!

2. Explain that the choir has costs
Most organisers simply don’t understand the fact that it COSTS the choir money to perform at their event. Explain that you need to, at the very least, cover the cost of your conductor (say $250).

3. Explain that your membership is subsidised to be inclusive of all people.
Their contribution could assist in changing the lives of vulnerable people.

4. Explain that it’s a DONATION, not a payment
A lot of businesses have a charter to donate money to charities. Our performance fees can be made in the form of a tax-exempt donation, and this could change the budget they can allocate to the event.

Creativity Australia suggests you start your negotiations like this:

    • Do you have a budget for your event?
      (If they do, and they tell you what it is, you can negotiate from there)


    • For most performances we request a tax-free donation of $800 to support our communities.
      (If they accept this you have succeeded)


  • If that’s too much, would you consider contributing to our costs to deliver entertainment  at your event ($250 for our conductor)?

If the organisers do not have the budget to cover your costs, you have some decisions to make as a choir:

  • Is it a worthwhile opportunity?
  • Will it attract new members?
  • Will it expand our membership or lead to more (paid) performances?
  • Will it energise and motivate your choir?

These are all valuable outcomes that you may wish to invest in (you’re investing the cost of your conductor for the event).


This can be used in accompaniment to an email to help explain the costs your choir needs to cover. If they don’t have a budget, at least they’ll understand the need to increase your exposure.