As a young and impressionable child I remember watching television and seeing the commercials about starving children in Africa. I felt sad looking at the pictures but also disbelief when I found out that “just pennies a day” could feed them. As a wiser and more callous adult, I now understand the reason “pennies a day” was a good marketing campaign. I mean, who can’t spare a few cents?
Recently, I shopped at one of those grocery stores that gives you a voucher for bringing your own bag. Then I got to choose my favorite charity and drop my voucher in their bag. They had one for the World Wildlife Foundation, Make a Wish, Doctors without Borders …everything except poor starving musicians. Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against animals, sick children, or people in foreign countries, but I wanted to find a way my donation could go to those I care about most: musicians.
That is why I was so glad when Taskforce for Employment of Musicians Promotional Organization, or TEMPO, came up with a catchy new way to support musician issues. It is called the Signature Program. I found out about it last year when Alfonso Pollard approached me at the Western Conference. He explained that they were encouraging musicians to donate “just $1 a week” for a year to become part of the Tempo Club. It really did feel like a club because there are incentives; free gifts when you join and prizes for getting friends to join. I even got a TEMPO hat in the mail after I made my $52 contribution.
Click here for an application to the club.
TEMPO cannot use AFM regular funds so they need to raise their own money. They are a political action committee that champions musician causes. Key issue that effect musician’s lives come before congress and TEMPO works to turn them into favorable legislation. They also support congress members who are sympathetic to musician issues such as:
- Paying a fair wage and full performance rights on sound recordings
- Enforcing strict copyright
- Strengthening the pension system
- Advocating for more funding for NEA and other programs
- Allowing musicians to travel with their instruments
You can read more about TEMPO by Alfonso Pollard.
I used to donate to TEMPO in starts and fits throughout the year; $5 during the dues sale, $10 for golf mulligans, etc. Donating $52 all at once makes so much more sense to me. The AFM found a way to satisfy my desire to support musician’s causes while appealing to my frugal side. Don’t get me wrong – I am all for supporting starving children but I also like it when my money goes to help all musicians.