Statistical Findings: How Often Do A Cappella Groups Serve the Community or Charities?

In the fall of 2010, The A Cappella Blog invited every collegiate a cappella group we could find to participate in a survey. Our objective was to develop a better understanding of current trends in a cappella—what groups are or are not doing and to what degree.

Over 300 groups from across the US and abroad responded to the survey. Throughout our 2010 publication season, we will review results from this survey and talk about what our findings mean. We welcome and encourage groups to look over the information to learn, to benchmark and to satisfy their own curiosity.

This edition’s questions:
How many times did your group perform at a community event, local school, or similar event outside your college or university this year?
How much money did your group raise or donate to or for any charitable or community cause over the last year?

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As the sheer number and the profile of collegiate a cappella groups has grown, has their social consciousness grow in kind? Of the groups surveyed, 88 percent reported that they performed in their local communities twice or more in the last year. Just under half of the groups reported they had raised money for charities last year, including 12 percent that had donated $1,000 or more (and note, 20 percent didn’t know how much they had raised, which means it is possible they also raised some—perhaps even a great deal—of money).

And so, it’s fair to say that groups are giving back. Understandably, using a group’s natural talents for performance is more common that raising money. This is, usually, logistically easier to do and marks a terrific hands on way for an a cappella group to serve its community, whether they visit a school, or attend a community event.

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It can be a sticky thing to raise money in the collegiate setting. College students are often strapped for cash, and reluctant to pay to attend a show; parents are often tapped out on their sons and daughters’ tuition payments. Nonetheless, if a group remains focused and saves accordingly from an assortment of private gigs, and CD and ticket sales, and/or makes a point of advertising that the money they raise is going toward a good cause, it is possible to make financial contributions to the larger community as well.

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Mike Chin

Mike Chin co-founded The A Cappella Blog in 2007. He continues to share leadership responsibility for the site, overseeing columns, reviews and features as the content manager. He currently lives in Baltimore, MD.