Charity Single: How To Release One

As a family, friend, and member of the human race, being helpful and giving to others is our most important responsibility. One of the ways we express this sense of responsibility is by donating to a charitable organization. We can also express it by comforting people who are in pain. But, regardless of how we choose to do it, music is often a way we connect as a family scattered around the world. Music, especially a charity single, sometimes reminds us we need to love one another. Sometimes it tells us precisely how we can give to people in need around us when the opportunities open up.

It’s a fact that the chance to give to others will always be open to us, and it’s going to be a part of our everyday life forever. So, it makes sense when talented music artists try to use their talent for charity purposes. As a musician, if you’ve not considered this opportunity, now is the time to think of how to make it happen. However, if you’ve been thinking of it but don’t know how to go about it, Here is a guide on releasing a charity single. Read on to find details about this subject.

  • What is a Charity Single?
  • Some All-Time Best Charity Songs
  • How to Release Charity Single

What is a Charity Single?

Sometimes, a music artist or band decides to release a song for charity. The idea behind it is to direct all proceeds raised from that song towards a charitable cause. Foundations sometimes approach music artists with this proposal for help, to release a charity single for philanthropic purposes. This single can also facilitate donations from various quarters. The first being the time and talent of the celebrity or musicians in particular. The consumers of the song who bought the song play the second part, regardless of their motivation.

In 1971, George Harrison released the song known to be the first purpose-made charity single. The song he released back then, “Bang Desh,” raised money for UNICEF, which got channeled into helping the refugees from the 1970 Bangladesh Liberation War and Bhola cyclone. The song climbed the chart till it goes to Number 10 on the official singles chart, and it quickly became the centerpiece for the Charity Concert for Bangladesh. Even since then, thousands of other charity songs have sprung up, most of which we have come to see as both a tool to inspire people in general to donate and an inexpensive way for artists to contribute.

Some All-Time Best Charity Songs

There have been thousands of singles released for charity purposes ever since the first one. Let’s see some of them;

“Do they know it’s Christmas” by Band-Aid

This song is the most famous Charity song ever produced. It first got released in December 1984 and later went produced three other times after it blew up. Band-Aid itself is a charity supergroup, and they did many of their songs for charity purposes.

Bangla Desh by George Harrison

This song is the very first charity single ever released. It was inspired by the refugee situation many people found themselves in 1970 due to the Bhola cyclone followed by the Liberation War of Bangladesh. To raise money for those who were affected, George Harrison recorded this single. 

That’s what friends are for

Various artists put their creativity together to produce this song. Artists like Dionne Warwick, Gladys Knight, Stevie Wonder, and Elton John were the recording artists that had the song itself written by Burt Bacharach, all for charity. The aim was to raise awareness and funds for the American Foundation for AIDS Research.

Candle in the Wind

This single is a 1997 hit by Elton John for Princess Diana. The world knew the princess for a lifetime for her many humanitarian works and support for nonprofits organizations. When she died in August of that year, Elton decided to re-record this song as a tribute. Little wonder this song became an all-time best-selling charity song.

Heal the World

When the King of Pop throws his weight on charity singles, do you know what that means? Of course, that’s another way to describe a worldwide success. The song was a track on Michael Jackson’s eighth album; “Dangerous.” However, the proceeds from the sales went to the “Heal the world” foundation that he set up, intending to end poverty generally.

How to Release Charity Single

There is music almost everywhere we turn, and we naturally tend to love music. With this much potential, it only makes sense to release a charity single when the opportunity arises. Here is how to go about it;

Make it Memorable

Most successful songs for charity have had a remarkable effect on people—creating a lasting impression. Take the “Heal the world” single as an example; it had so much effect on people—the world at large that they had to create an all-star version of the song recently for Haiti. That version also made so many waves. Think of ways you can create a song that can spur immediate actions from listeners. The aim of a not-for-profit song is usually to create awareness. Do it in such a way that you achieve the aim, and people can come forward to tell stories about how they took action from listening to your song.

Be Creative

When Peter Kay was to release his song for children in need, he thought of creative ways to entice the audience and decided to call his band “The Animated All Star Band.” In it, we saw an animated cast of well-known cartoon stars in the past few decades and himself. The feel-good song quickly went to the top of the chart and became a reminder of happy times and childhood. In other words, because it’s a charity single doesn’t mean you only have to put some group of singers together and have them sing along. You have to make it so much more. Think of ways to add creativity to the mix and make the song fun, especially the music video. Check out creative music video concepts and ideas you can emulate.

Make it Funny

Jamie Clement and Bret Mckenzie, the comedy duo behind Flight of the concord, made a charity song to help raise funds for children suffering from life-threatening illnesses. The funds went to Cure Kids’ Red Nose Day in New Zealand. The special effects of the song “Feel Inside” came from the group’s thoughtfulness of quick-witted and charming primary school children. They took what they had said and turned it into a song with several different producers and artists. The catchy tune helped the foundation raise over $1.3 million for the needed research into various illnesses affecting children in New Zealand.

Build up Emotion

Have you noticed how almost all charity adverts play on our emotions? They use soft and sensitive music playing in the background of the advert to make it emotional regardless of where you hear the advert—on TV, Radio, or Websites. The use of this technique—usually championed by gentle vocals and soft piano—could melt into the heart of even the toughest people. The music will build up in the heart of listeners the negative experience of people going through tough times. Therefore, when creating a charity single—especially the video format—let the choice of tone and rhythm reflect the charity message that you’re trying to pass across. When anyone hears it, they should be able to instantly associate it to a cause—your intended cause.

Fight for a one-off Cause.

Every cause is worth the fight; however, be sure you are fighting for the more considerable good of everyone. Most of the previously successful charity singles are those created for a much-needed cause. Take the first-ever charity song to be released as an example; you’ll discover that it was for a much bigger cause—something that affected many people. Others, such as the re-recording of Heal the world by all-star artists was intended to help Haiti after the massive earthquake they went through. Little wonder these songs had significant results to show aside the master artistry put into its production. Millions of people spread the word on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and several various platforms to show support and make a difference.

Use popular Musicians

Every musician has a fan base; however, some musicians have a huge fan base. When you feature such artists, you will get many followers jumping at the idea you project. Remember, the goal of the charity song is to create a system of funding for the foundation or cause you adopted. Therefore, the more people you have pushing the cause, the more donations and funding you can access. Most artists will consent to collaboration if they find the cause worthy enough. So, make some calls, get one or two famous musicians, and let them put their weight on the single recording.

Calming Music

Several not-for-profit foundations use music as a form of therapy for those with certain illnesses. This process has been scientifically proven to be effective. Research results showed how music took people out of their comfort zone and showed them the world of possibilities, tending to their wholeness. You can make your songs available for such therapeutic effects. You may want to research how music achieves this aim to know the right chords and tone that delivers such effects. Then you take your knowledge and create something of similar effects. Though the world may not necessarily need to donate for this cause, and the song may not raise funds, the therapists or foundations that get to have your work of art will appreciate them genuinely.

Lip dubs

Most times, artists who want to convert their previously recorded songs into a charity do a re-recording. You can do the same but with a bit of twist to it. Maybe you already have songs that you consider befitting for charity purposes and want to convert the song into something of such; lip dubs are a good idea. Lip dubs work if you do an entirely different video of the song or permit the foundation to re-record the video with faces, such as their staff or the affected persons, singing along. The new video will have all over it the message you intend to pass across and the action you want the audience to perform, e.g., donate, etc.


Before now, charities usually wait in anticipation that the public will positively respond to their needs. While the method has worked so far, it is interesting that Charities and foundations are now taking matters into their own hands by using music to raise money. As an artist, it’s a great idea to partner with them in achieving this aim. Above, we’ve highlighted a few of the ways you can be a part of the movement.