PUT ON A FUNDRAISING EVENT…
NOTE: There is now an updated and more detailed version of this blog which you can find here:
You might also want to check out the other updated blogs in this series::
A couple of years ago I organised my first big fundraising event in my spare time; a charity quiz night. It sold out and I raised over £3,000!!!
It was hard work and stressful at times but so worth the effort. I had no budget so had to be really creative and resourceful to get everything for free (including food, a venue, raffle prizes, a band, etc). Seeing the event come together and counting the money at the end of the night was a great feeling. That money went on to make a real difference in the lives of unwell children.
On top of making me feel amazing, the event looked great on the CV (I’m always asked about my fundraising in interviews) and taught me so many skills. I was hooked! I know it can be hard to know where to start so here are some of my tips on how to put on your own fundraising event…
Pick a charity that you feel passionate about. This is really important as it will help you to stay motivated. Once you’ve chosen, get in contact with the charity and let them know your plans. Chances are they will have someone who can provide support and possibly even send you materials to use for your event.
WHAT TYPE OF EVENT?
The next step is to decide what event you are going to put on. Common fundraising events include dinners, concerts, quizzes or coffee mornings…but you can be as creative as you like. Make sure it is an event that you would go to yourself and would find fun.
Be ambitious! Events can be scary so it is tempting to go for the smallest easiest option but you can probably pull off more than you realise. So stretch yourself a bit and set a challenge. Equally though if you are feeling really nervous then it is fine to start with something simple….there is no donation too small for any charity!
WHAT’S YOUR PLAN?
Once you’ve got a charity and decided on an event you are ready to go. A great place to start is to make a plan, decide on details like date and timings and list all the things you will need to do. This will likely include finding a venue, someone to host the evening, raffle prizes and volunteers to help you on the night.
My top tip is to keep things simple! Sending people physical tickets for your event is a nice touch but the hassle and cost of designing, printing and sending them (not to mention replacing any lost tickets) could end up absorbing your time and energy. Make your job easier and just send a confirmation email and add names to a guest list to tick off on the night. Simple!
NAIL THOSE FREEBIES!
The fundraising event I put on was entirely on donations…this means that 100% of what people pay for their ticket and on the night goes to charity which is a great selling point.
Asking for freebies can be really daunting but from my experience, people are usually extremely generous. You will certainly get rejections but almost always people are really nice about it and often feel bad that they can’t help. Make use of the contacts you have and start contacting relevant local companies and businesses asking for donations. Be sure to tell them a bit about the charity and emphasise that you live locally.
If you are looking for raffle prizes check out this guide.
Top tip: if you are looking for a band or entertainment for the evening try contacting a music college/university as there will undoubtedly be students who have recently formed a band and would happily play for free for experience.
SELL, SELL, SELL!
Now for, possibly, the most important part; selling tickets. Ask your friends, family, colleagues and get them to pass on the details to all their contacts. Put posters up in busy locations, open a Facebook page and ask the local press to publish details on your event. Don’t get too worried if not many tickets sell straight away, people generally prefer to buy last minute so be ready for the rush.
Keep plugging the event and thinking of new places you can advertise until you are sold out.
hopefully, your event was a huge success. I’m sure there were some hiccups (there always are) but people had a good time and you raised some money. You probably feel great!
It can be tempting to pack all your event plans away and to want to forget all about it but It is really important to follow up. Count your total and make sure it gets safely to the charity and send ‘thank you’s’ to everyone who donated and to let them know the final fundraising total. Now you can relax!