Before you start planning your event – think what you want it to achieve. An event can be for a single purpose or a number of different ones:
- Raise funds
- Entertain and motivate existing supporters
- Create PR and awareness
- Attract new donors
1. Plan. Plan your event well in advance. Check you’re not clashing with any major local or national events.
2. Budget. Think about all your possible income and expenditure streams, and consider whether you’ll make money on this event. Do you think you can make enough money to make it worthwhile?
3. Venue. Is your venue exciting? Is it somewhere your guests will want to visit – maybe somewhere they’ve never been before? Is there enough car parking? Is it accessible for people with disabilities?
4. Organising committee. Who is organising the event? Share the work, and make sure people have specific jobs to look after. Make detailed notes about who is doing what.
5. Piggy back. Is there another group you could put an even on with? Is your town or village already holding a festival day you could join in with? Is a new restaurant or café opening up – could you ask them if you can join in with any celebrations? Many businesses like to show they are supporting community groups.
6. Sponsorship. Try to cover all your costs with sponsorship. Will al local firm pay for your posters and leaflets? Would the venue give you their space for free in return for good publicity?
7. Selling tickets. Only sell tickets for your event if you are sure you can get good numbers. Target your audience. Aim to get money in advance. Record names and addresses of all attendees so they become part of your database for the future.
8. Publicity. Before, aim for as much publicity as possible to help with ticket sales, and this will also help with raising your profile. Do involve your sponsors as this will be one of the reasons why they got involved. After the event, use the press to help thank people, give the total raised and details/date of your next event.
9. Fundraising at your event. Make the most of while you have people ‘captive’. People expect this to happen at a charity event. With some fundraising it is better to have it later in the event when people have relaxed and when they have eaten and had something to drink.
10. Legalities. Inform and involve the necessary authorities e.g. police, local authority and obtain necessary permissions and licenses. Arrange for first aid cover. Consider Health and Safety regulations, also public liability and food safety act. If you anticipate having a large amount of cash, arrange with your bank for a ‘night safe’.
11. Sponsored events. Do note details of who takes part and amount of money pledged. Chase these people if money is not received in a few weeks. These are all the rage at the moment and in some cases, the more dangerous the better, as far as some people are concerned. Do take care. An accident can result in adverse publicity and can be very costly in financial and other ways.
12. Afterwards. Thank everyone who has been involved. Pay your bills and finalise the total. Hold a post-event meeting as soon as possible – learn from mistakes, build on successes. Write up a paper on how the event was organised and circulate round organisation – this avoids everyone re-inventing the wheel.
The Chartered Institute of Fundraising supports fundraisers, through leadership, representation, standards-setting and education.
The Directory of Social Change gives information and training for the voluntary, charity and community sectors. They offer excellent training on fundraising, and have a wide range of publications.
Macmillan has a brilliant Little Green Book of Fundraising Ideas, which you can download for free here. If you do use this, could you donate some money to Macmillan as a thank you?
Below, you can download a events checklist from the Churches Legislation Advisory Service, which looks at the legal implications of organising an event.