There has been quite a discussion lately in the Community Choirs section of Choral Net. One choir leader has asked for advice on how much to charge for choir membership. Most of these choirs are in the U.S.A. so they talk about tax forms for none profits and other area specific details.
Personally, I am thrilled that our choir is totally without membership fees. We pay for our own transportation and our shirts. We volunteer our time to be at our concerts and we hire no paid personnel. We started by borrowing music but have been given a number of donations and now we are able to purchase music to use. We have 2 treasurers who keep track of our money and we decide collectively how to spend the money. I love this method of co-operative management.
The choir I belonged to previously started out this way and now they charge for membership and pay soloists etc. I find that difficult to swallow. I know all things change but I truly believe that fees can close the door to come people being able to participate. There has been discussion about scholarships for those unable to pay but some would not like to have to disclose that I would think.
Part of my not wanting to be paid is that I don't want to "work" for anyone. I am self-employed and so I love the freedom to choose. I want to continue that freedom in my volunteer time. Do I feel that my time and talent are not worthy of being paid. Absolutely not. However, my pay comes in the great enjoyment, and fun we have. I can make mistakes and we just laugh and carry on.
There must be a case for high fees (some over $200 a year). I just cannot justify it in my own mind. what do you think? What does your choir do? I would love to hear your perspective.