I’m a huge fan of 80s pop music. Let’s be honest: Huge is a massive understatement.

Heck, for my 48th birthday, I went on Zoom for 24 hours straight and counted down my top 48 songs of the 80s. Just remember it’s songs I like and not what Rolling Stone considers to be the best.

Although the 80s ended just a few short years ago (or that’s how it feels), 80s music is still popular. I got a good laugh when people “discovered” Kate Bush’s song “Running Up That Hill” by watching Stranger Things. I of course knew the song and the lyrics for the last 38 years.

Side note: I have no clue where but that song is on one of the mixtapes I made while in high school. Shoutout to those of us who tried to press record at the exact second the radio station DJ stopped talking over the song intro!

Thankfully, 80s music isn’t going anywhere.

Missed Opps

I don’t go to a lot of concerts. Costs too much. In fact, the first concert I ever attended was in 2016. Went to see Alphaville, one of my fav 80s groups.

Plenty of 80s groups are now touring, filling up small halls and large arenas with Gen Xers looking to relive their high school days.

A few years ago I missed a joint REO Speedwagon- Def Leppard concert. Last summer I didn’t pull the trigger on attending a Toto- Journey concert. (Still kicking myself over that one. If you know me, you know that I have a HUGE obsession with the song “Africa” and I should’ve gone so I could hear it live.)

Couldn’t let it happen a third time.

A few weeks ago Tears For Fears played at Madison Square Garden. Thanks to a good friend (see below), I went and sat about 20 rows from the stage. Had a fantastic time!

Of course, it’s hard to turn off my nonprofit brain even when singing “SHOUT” at the top of my lungs. Which is why I present to you…

Four Nonprofit Lessons Learned From A Tears For Fears Concert

Time to let it all out.

1) Always go with the classics

We all want to stay up on the latest and greatest. Problem is it sometimes conflicts with what actually works.

When nonprofit experts discuss best practices, some people roll their eyes as they equate best practices with the “old way” of doing things. Their attitude: Let’s try all the new stuff and see what sticks.

I’m not against trying new ideas and testing but if you’re gonna ignore best practices and what actually works, you’re looking for trouble.

Last year Tears For Fears released a new album. They could’ve played only their newer songs at the concert. There were definitely audience members who were familiar with the new stuff.

Know what got 19,000 people up on their feet, clapping and singing? When they played the classics: Everybody Wants to Rule the World, Head Over Heels and Shout. They knew their audience (another good fundraising and marketing lesson!) and what we came to hear and see.

A mix of old and new works. Try new things and test them out.

But don’t ignore best practices just because you think they’re “old” and “not hip.” There’s a reason they’ve been at the top of the charts for so long. They work.

2) Let People Know What’s Coming

Before the concert I went to Setlist to find out what songs Tears For Fears would be playing. See the mix of old and new. Get an idea of when certain songs would be played. (Ya know, for us oldies who might have to take a bathroom break during the concert.)

Know who else appreciates knowing the schedule in advance? Your event goers!

Don’t just give them the place, time and date. Let them know in advance what will be happening and when. This way they can plan to be on time for the auction or when awards are being given out.

The same could be said for your upcoming fundraising campaigns. There’s nothing wrong with giving your email subscribers, supporters and social media followers a sneak peek. Get them excited before you send out the materials so there’s more chance they’ll open it up.

Surprises are great but not everyone enjoys them. Give people a heads up.

3) Sharing Is Caring

I was hemming and hawing about going to the concert until my friend Dana messaged me and told me we’re going.

Dana Marlowe is the Founder and Executive Director of national nonprofit I Support the Girls. I am privileged to have volunteered and worked with ISTG for the last 7 years.

Dana is also one of the funnest people I know. She works hard and plays even harder. The concert was way more enjoyable because I rocked out with her.

Dana Marlowe and Ephraim Gopin rockin out at a Tears for Fears concert

Think about times when you want people to share what you’re doing:

Sharing is caring. People want social connections whether it’s IRL or online. Help make it happen.

4) Appeal To Different Age Groups

Before the concert Dana and I were hanging out in the lounge, catching up, having a bite to eat. I looked around at the crowd and told Dana, “I now understand how I looked at my parent’s generation when they would go to a concert of some band from the 60s. I said they were old. That’s now me.”

It was. All around us were people with gray hair, walking a little slower than they did in their youth. Sorry Gen X but many of us are on the other side of 50.

What surprised us a little was every time we saw someone younger than us. Why would they want to attend a Tears For Fears concert?!

The opening act: Cold War Kids.

I had no clue who they were but the Millennials and Gen Z in attendance certainly did. (And my friend Dana did as well. No surprise there.)

Your organization needs to appeal to a wide range of people, not just Boomers or Gen Xers. Your fundraising and marketing materials should target different age groups and encourage them to become active in helping impact their community.

Doing that means segmenting your audience and sending them content which appeals to them. When you send the same thing to everyone, it’s gonna miss with certain readers. That could be based on age (Zoomers and Boomers) or by donation habit (monthly givers vs. major donors).

You’re aiming for a wide appeal but that means knowing in advance what each audience is interested in and wants to hear more about.

Tears For Fears chose wisely with their opening act. They filled more seats with younger people. A chance to intro their music to a new generation.

Way Back When

I wasn’t the coolest kid in high school but I certainly knew all the songs the cool kids were listening to on their Walkmans.

It was nice, if just for two hours, to be one of the cool kids. Along with 19,000 of my people.

Does your organization want to upgrade its marketing efforts? Want to reach more people, receive more donations and have more impact in your community? I have some openings starting in September and would love the opportunity to partner with you! Find out more about my services and be in touch.