Tickets-For-Charity.com: scalping in a good way
Tearing a piece out of the hearts of college entrepreneurs everywhere, a Boston-area company buys hot concert tickets at face value, sells them at scalper's prices, and donates the difference to charity. Tickets-For-Charity.com has convinced some of the top acts on tour to give it first crack at some of the juiciest stage-side seating in venues across the country.
Interestingly, the company is a for-profit, although its avowed purpose is to raise funds to support not-for-profit organizations such as Habitat For Humanity, Malaria No More, and Partnership for a Drug-Free America (Grateful Dead tickets benefiting this charity would be ironic). According to The Wall Street Journal (subscription required), TFC makes its money on a transaction fee tacked onto the marked-up price, ala Ticketmaster.
At the moment tickets are available for upcoming performances by Coldplay, Billy Joel & Elton John, Brad Paisley, Kenny Chesney, Phish, Diana Krall, and more. If you want to catch Coldplay in Des Moines, Iowa, you'll pay $100 over list for a front-10-rows seat. Kenny Chesney in Tampa will set you back $205 ($80 face value plus $125 donation) plus handling fees. Chesney donations will go to in part to Plan!t Now. Coldplay ticket tack-ons will go to Oxfam and other charities.
In the past, the company has featured ducats from the Boston Red Sox, Rolling Stones, Barbara Streisand, and other top-name acts. It claims to have donated millions of dollars to date, even though the "donations" don't seem to be tax deductible.
I find the company's strategy to take advantage of pure capitalism to fund social programs very creative. It's much harder to resent a charity for scalping the best seats in the house than it is that troll on Craigslist.