Corporate Choir Competition: building relationships with the corporate sector
Susanna Caudwell shares how the Hallé's Corporate Choir Competition has helped them build relationships with the corporate sector and raise over £20,000.
The Hallé ranks among the UK’s top symphonic ensembles. It has a distinguished history of performances in this country and around the world and a commitment to building audiences and developing orchestral repertoire.
The Hallé’s Corporate Choir Competition grew out of our work with Siemens. They were holding an event and their ice-breaker activity dropped out at the last minute. They contacted us to see if we could think of anything so we sent our choral director over. That experience sparked an interest in Siemens having its own choir.
Following this the Hallé submitted an application for the Lever Prize in 2013 (managed by the North West Business Leadership Team) based around our Arts Based Training work. We were awarded the Prize, which provided the cash to get the first year of the competition off the ground.
Since 2013, the Corporate Choir Competition has raised over £20,000 for the Hallé. But above and beyond that, it has enabled us to build meaningful relationships with the corporate sector.
As the appetite for the traditional Corporate Membership model has decreased in the corporate sector, we have found that the corporate choir initiative has filled the gap left by this. As with corporate membership it offers a cheaper entry level engagement for businesses, and for us it provides a route through to get to know organisations. From this we have then been able to recruit a number of sponsors — some at a high level — and build relationships with companies who otherwise we would have been unlikely to partner with.
How it works as a fundraising initiative
The Corporate Choir Competition sits within the fundraising department and consistently raises £6,000 to £8,000 each year, net of costs.
Businesses pay a fee of £2,000 to participate in the competition and all proceeds go to the Hallé Concerts Society. The fee covers five rehearsals with a conductor in the workplace. The choirs then come together to compete and the winner gets to sing on stage with the Hallé at the popular Christmas concert. Family and friends book tickets for the concert, generating additional income through ticket sales.
Although it does raise valuable funds, the benefits of the Corporate Choir Competition are much broader. The initiative is on brand, taking music to people, and it has enabled us to strengthen our relationships with the corporate sector.
All of the businesses involved are now part of the Hallé family. Some enjoyed having a company choir so much that they asked if they could continue all year round. We have developed bespoke sponsorship packages with those businesses, incorporating year-round choir rehearsals.
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Corporate Choir Competition: building relationships with the corporate sector (PDF)