I get offers to perform at benefits all the time, and I am usually happy to do it. In fact, one of the reasons I was inspired to create Pink Light Burlesque was because I was getting requested to perform at breast cancer benefits so frequently, and although I am always thrilled and honored to do it, I also feel survivors can represent even more powerfully. Some benefit events have budgets for entertainment, and on a weekend night when I normally could not afford to cancel other gigs that make up a quarter of my monthly income to perform for free, this makes it possible. If I am not already booked, I am almost always willing to donate my time and name and services for free, if I feel that the benefit is intended to do a real service. A misunderstanding that comes up with surprising frequency is when event organizers tell me I can deduct my donation of a performance, when in fact I cannot.
Above: Julie Atlas Muz with money raised at a Starshine Benefit for Exotic World.
From Miss Indigo Blue:
Donating performances is an AWESOME way to be involved in your community, get more exposure to new audiences, and get more stage time. However, the value of your performance is not tax-deductible - even if you're donating it to a Non-Profit Organization.
REPEAT: donated performances (aka "services") are *NOT* tax-deductible.
If someone offers you a performance opportunity, and one of the "benefits" is that you can deduct the value of your guarantee, they are WRONG.
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Image from Seattle Peach.