Making friends and influencing people

There are a number of ways in which Making Music members could benefit from making friends, and while there are bound to be differences from one group to the next, here are some pointers for consideration….

Identifying influencers

Think about people who might have an influence over local funding

  • Leader of the local council(s)
  • Chair of the Leisure & Recreation Committee
  • Other local councillors
  • Officials from the local Council (see Liaising with Local Government)

Think about possible sponsors in the area

  • Are you home to a big multi-national?
  • Is there a local chain of stores?
  • Have you made friends with local accountants, solicitors, banks, travel agents etc.?
  • Do any of your members have these sort of contacts?

Are there others who can help your cause?

  • Your local MP(s)
  • Any local press or media contacts
  • Any celebrities who live locally, who might happen to have an interest in music
  • Other people who promote concerts in your area, amateur or professional…

​How to make an introduction

Now you should be beginning to form a list of people who may be able to make your job a little easier, by having a contact to call on for advice, to give money or at least open up some funding channels, or simply to endorse a project or have a friendly word on your behalf to one of their contacts. Making friends and influencing people is a long-term programme. People don’t become friends overnight, and so you should consider how to warm up the individuals you have identified. Some ways to do this might be:

  • Invite them to your concerts – and offer a complimentary ticket. If they care, they might even offer to pay for it.
  • Provide a friendly environment for them when they arrive – have someone at the door looking out for your guests to give them a friendly welcome.
  • Think about hosting a small reception for your guests. This could take place before the concert, at the interval, or afterwards – or a mixture!
  • Don't be over-bearing with the hospitality – a glass of wine and a "nibble" should be enough to get the conversation going.
  • Have a think about how each of your guests might be able to help you, and work out at least one thing they could do for you in advance of meeting them.
  • Try not to talk to them about your pet projects, but instead listen to what they say for themselves. Their level of interest & commitment to your organisation should become apparent.
  • If they are showing the right signs, don’t push to hard, but suggest you meet them at their office/for a drink in the pub after work/for a game of golf etc.

If you find these busy people can’t make it to your concerts, you might consider the following:

  • To keep in touch with your friends you could produce a newsletter, perhaps twice a year, which might include the latest news on your forthcoming concerts or details of your other plans e.g. Lottery submissions or grants and awards you may have won.
  • It is also worth collating all your press notices (if you don't have a member of your committee responsible for press, then think about that too!) and sending your friends photocopies of these cuttings – remember to include all articles which mention your group, and not just concert reviews.

If you have a properly worked-out plan to make friends with the people of note in your area, and you have an idea of how they might help, somewhere down the line you should be able to call on their support.

And remember, think about the key attributes of your group and be confident about what you do for the community you serve. And if you have already recognised areas where you could improve what you do, many of those you seek to make friends with will often react well to being asked for advice or ways to make the desired improvements. Some well-placed honesty about the things which may not be going too well can pay dividends if put in the right way.

Further guidance

We hope you find this Making Music resource useful. If you have any comments or suggestions about the guidance please contact us. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the content of this guidance is accurate and up to date, Making Music do not warrant, nor accept any liability or responsibility for the completeness or accuracy of the content, or for any loss which may arise from reliance on the information contained in it.