S5E8: John Kaplan - Fundraising Magic


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In this interview, Canadian magician John Kaplan tells us all about his career in creating fundraising shows! He really takes us into his business and gives some wonderful insight into this specialized niche.

With his Fundraising Magic program, John has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for hundreds of schools and community organizations to use in their worthwhile causes.

Not keeping his knowledge to himself, John also teaches his methods to other entertainers and has gained worldwide recognition for his books and courses and is also a sought-after speaker and trainer when it comes to producing fundraising shows.


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Success Mantra:

You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want. — Zig Ziglar

Fundraising Shows

• Not just selling a magic show, but a way for his clients to make money as well.

• Tells how he got into fundraising shows.

• Tells about his second fundraising show which proved to be a flop.

• How he developed his system.

• His fundraising shows need to: 1. make sure his overhead os covered, 2. make sure he gets paid, and 3. make sure his client makes a lot of money!

• Three pillars to a successful fundraiser: Planning, Promotion, Profitability.

• How he gives his clients all the tools they need to do the fundraiser.

• Piggyback fundraisers like souvenirs, local celebrities, and pledge contests.

• How he uses email auto responders to guide his clients along the path to their successful fundraiser.

• What a single-day event looks like for a fundraiser.

• Who his competition really is.

• Using celebrities in his fundraisers.

• Having other businesses like realtors sponsor the events to further increase his client's bottom line.

• The story of a 16 year old girl who started a foundation, used Johns services and raised $11,000 for her cause!

Failure Moment

John talks about his second attempt at a fundraising show that flopped dismally. Good thing it didn't keep him down!

Favorite Success

He created a big campaign for Merlin Motors around a "car vanish" which ended up being a wild success bringing people to their car lot.

What's worked best in growing his business?


Biggest Professional Challenge

Replacing long-term clients that for one reason or another aren't using him anymore.

What would he have done differently?

Nurture relationships with agents and event planners more.

Other Topics Covered

• Market first, product second. Sell the show, then if someone buys it, produce it.

• Going the extra mile.

Parting Advice

1. Invest in yourself.

2. Work diligently.

3. Over-deliver.

Recommended books and resources:

Note: Many of the links in this section are affiliate links, meaning we earn a small portion of any sales. If you're enjoying our podcast and decide to purchase one of the recommended resources or books, please consider using our affiliate links to help support the work we're doing here at the Successful Performercast. Thanks!


Google Maps for helping in planning his tours.


Biographies: The Great Houdini by Beryl & Epstein Jimmy: an Autobiography by Jimmy Pattison

How to Master the Art of Selling by Tom Hopkins How to Sell Yourself by Joe GirardSecrets of Closing the Sale by Zig Ziglar

Steinmeyer Books Paul Osborne Books The Great Illusions of Magic by Byron Wels

Where can we find John Kaplan?

Fundraising Magic Website

John's Products for Magicians

John's Business Building Resources for Entertainers

John on Facebook

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