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How Red Rocks Amphitheater Raised $165K for Charity in 2022 By Tapping Into Artists’ Fan Bases

todayDecember 19, 2022 2

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A social impact tech platform long aligned with the music industry has found success at the iconic Red Rocks amphitheater near Denver, raising money and awareness for more than a half-dozen non-profits working with nearly 30 artists and comedians in 2022. 

Founded by CEO Brandon Deroche in 2015, Propeller was originally created for the band Incubus to help raise money for their foundation and educate donors about the various nonprofit groups the foundation was supporting, Deroche explains. It was designed to promote “a deeper level of involvement from the fans,” beyond charitable giving, he continues, educating fans on how to support causes by volunteering, advocacy work and contacting their local legislators.

“Fans might have known that a dollar per ticket from the show they attended went to a good cause, but they don’t always know who the organization is and what that organization does,” Deroche says. “It’s a missed opportunity to turn those fans into supporters of that cause. And that’s a big aspect of what Propeller tries to do – provide education and understanding of the different ways fans can take action.”

The goal for many non-profits, Deroche says, is to expand their marketing efforts to a younger audience, which is more difficult to reach in the current media landscape. By working with Propeller, non-profits are able to tap into the active fan bases of many artists, he explains.

The decision to partner with a venue was part of a larger effort to expand Propeller’s footprint and meet different types of audiences and artists. While Deroche was looking for the right venue partner, the city-owned management team behind Denver’s Red Rocks amphitheater was also looking for new charity-based partners to expand the venue’s own impact. After averaging about 80 shows a year for the past decade, Red Rocks had won approval to host 200 concerts in 2022 and was looking for ways to create a more meaningful experience for its growing audience.

“We recognize that artists want to have an impact, and venues do too,” says Brian Kitts, director of marketing & communications at Red Rocks. “When Propeller came along and said they could match the venue with the artist and the organization, we felt like it was the complete package.”

Propeller connected with every performer from the more than 200 concerts at Red Rocks in 2022, offering each the opportunity to support a cause of their choice with special activations including exclusive post-show meet and greets, memorabilia and side stage viewing access. That included an after-party with The Black Keys and Molson Coors for fans who took action to support Save The Music, with 100 winners selected from the audience at Red Rocks and chartered via private shuttle buses to a secret dive bar location. 

“They make it really easy for me to show up, participate and raise awareness and a little bit of money for a good cause,” says comedian Bert Kreischer, who gave away free tickets and airfare to see his show at Red Rocks in September in an effort to raise money for Climate Action Now.  

Before each show, a short video is shown encouraging fans to take action for the chance to win a ticket upgrade. Propeller also operates an interactive booth with a prize wheel on Red Rock’s upper deck section to engage fans. 

In total, Propeller interacted with more than 95,000 music fans and raised $165,784 in its first year, “a very impressive first year here at Red Rocks,” says Kitts.

Propeller covers the costs of the activations and getaways included in the promotions it runs and collects a fee from each charity and non-profit it represents. Deroche says Propeller will be back in 2023 and is looking to expand even further.

 “We learned a lot,” Deroche says. “We feel like we barely scratched the surface on what’s possible there. Next year we are looking to go a lot bigger with our efforts and really dive in and apply everything we’ve learned.”

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todayDecember 19, 2022

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