Charity events are often a great way to do extra fundraising or to raise the profile of your organization. Some events intend to do both, and others only one. Even where you are intending to raise awareness, it is important to carefully plan the event to not incur unexpected expenses. There are several considerations to be kept in mind when planning the event.
Here are nine essential points to check before you open your doors to the charity event:
Promotion is key to any event. If nobody knows the event is happening, it will flop no matter how excellent the agenda is. There are several avenues of promotion, and all of these should be explored. Online is everyone’s first thought these days, it is easy to put out a tweet or announcement on the website. If you have an online following, this should alert your followers.
Also, reach out to local media, press, radio, blogs, and websites. Stress the charitable nature of the event and ask for free exposure in the form of an article or interview. If you have a mailing or email list, then be sure to send out a promotional post for the event a couple of weeks before.
Safety is both a moral and legal necessity for any event, charity or otherwise. Any organization planning an event must prepare a thorough risk-assessment, considering all potential issues. Any risk should be identified and assessed for the likelihood of the event, potential severity if it goes wrong, how to mitigate against it, and whose responsibility it is. Let’s take an example of a small outdoor fete:
We are risk assessing a petting animal area for young children. The risks involved include biting, trampling, and transmission of bacteria and viruses. Potential severity, low, these are common events, problems are rare and usually not serious. Animals will be supplied and handled by a professional mobile petting zoo firm, who are fully responsible for the animals.
This process should be repeated for all features of the event.
Making a Profit
Making a profit is often a part of running any aspect of charity work where many of us struggle. We didn’t get into this to make money! But properly running an event to maximize profit is an essential skill to master. Everything should be costed out in a mini business plan.
List everything you need to purchase for the event to run and how much revenue you intend to bring in through tickets and other sales. Look to have as many revenue-generating attractions as possible, use what resources you already have at your disposal. If you run a charity thrift store, consider setting up a portable version at the event.
Consider what level to set an entry fee at and consider competitions and raffles to raise extra funds.
Getting the venue right is the first thing on the to-do list, as it affects every decision following it. If there is one thing that’s worth paying top dollar for, it’s the most suitable venue. I spent an amount of time researching event venues in Utah before finding the perfect place for our charity Gala Ball last year. It wasn’t the cheapest place we could have found, however being a high value, formal affair, and we were able to charge a premium ticket price for a premium event.
Every charity relies on its volunteers, so treat them well. Unpaid volunteers must be given everything they need to be effective. You will need a single person to act as a volunteer coordinator. This gives volunteers a single point of contact for information before and during the event. Volunteers should also be well looked after, food, drink, and clothing should be provided. Where possible, incentives to volunteer should be considered, a package of gifts can create more interest.
Many celebrities are keen to be involved in charity work There is no harm in reaching out to some big names to see if they can lend their support. There are a few ways of going about this. You can ask locally-based stars to ask them to pop in and lend a small amount of their time. You can also request a donation of a personal item that could be offered as a competition prize. Even if they cannot gift items or make an appearance on the day, you could request that they put out a tweet supporting the event.
Consider celebrities that might have a personal connection to your cause; if you are a cancer charity, there may be a star who has had their battles with the disease.
Donations are a great way to enhance the revenues made through an event. Have volunteers do the rounds with the traditional buckets to collect coins. Also, promote any online portal to accept digital donations. Get in touch with local businesses for donations for charities that feed the hungry. Businesses making charitable donations can write off the payments as tax-deductible and it’s also great positive PR.
Even though you are a charity every event requires you to be properly insured. Public liability is a must to protect if any person attending is hurt or injured during the event. Make sure your insurance covers both volunteers and employees, considering any subcontractors as well.
It might be wise to consider cancellation insurance as well, in case of the event not going ahead. This can be particularly important for outdoor events.
Review Successes & Failures
Once you have wrapped up the event and tidied away all the mess it’s time to assess the successes and failures. Did you get the numbers you expected to attend the event? Did the attendees spend the amount of money you expected? What parts of the event were better received, and which didn’t quite work? You can find out much of this by asking your customers to fill in a survey. Take all of this on board and use what you learn to adjust for yo