how to organise a succesful fundraising event

Thank you very much for your interest in organising an event for ThePromise. The following information is by no means exhaustive, but we hope it gives you some idea of how easy it is to get going!

know your market

What do your friends or work colleagues enjoy doing? Try to organise an event around this for example, everyone enjoys visiting other people’s homes and gardens, particularly at certain times of the year eg Christmas or in the summer. Many people will love a themed disco or celebration based around a particular event, eg Halloween. Don’t forget that you will probably be depending on your friends and acquaintances to support you personally so you should canvass their views before launching your event. Whatever the event, it always pays to organise a Raffle so do include this key fundraising tool in your planning. The most cost-effective fundraising generally occurs when a charity is nominated to benefit from an established event such as a carol concert, school fashion or talent show etc.  Download  Fundraising Ideas A to Z for more suggestions.

timing

People seem to have less time these days to socialise and certainly fewer opportunities.  Ask people if they would prefer an event on a Thursday or Friday evening rather than at a weekend when many people prefer to be with their families. Make sure you set a time and then keep to it as guests like to know where they stand, particularly when childcare has to be arranged (eg Christmas Cocktail Party from 6.30 – 9.00pm). Do make sure that there isn’t a clash of local events and let ThePromise know what you are planning in case something else is on that day.

the venue

Obviously it is cheaper to run an event at your own home or at a friend’s house. If you need a larger venue, say for a disco, quiz or sale, make sure that you know exactly what is included in the hire charge (cost of utilities, furniture, security staff etc.) and the length of the hiring period. You can often hire a venue with a bar at a reduced cost as you are bringing paying customers, however there is a considerable benefit in selling your own drinks (as long as the venue is licensed) so do bear this in mind. If you are planning a much larger event, for instance a Ball, get in contact with us as we have considerable expertise in this area.

volunteers and equipment

You will need to rely on friends and family to help you with your event .  How many volunteers will you need and for how long? Will you need additional equipment? At many of our events we show ThePromise DVD to motivate and thank guests. If there are only a small number of participants, a laptop with a fairly large screen will suffice.  For a larger venue, it would be best to have access to a DVD projector. At the Family Fun Day, friends lent their garden furniture and even a marquee to help out. You will need to think about a “meeter and greeter” who can welcome guests and look after the cloakroom, drinks servers and raffle sellers. You might need to request a speaker from ThePromise who can tell your guests more about our work and explain how the money raised will be used. Having a celebrity at your event would incentivise attendance, but unless they are a personal friend it is extremely difficult to tie a celebrity to a particular date, as they might be required for a paid engagement and unable to attend your event at the last minute.

ThePromise has dedicated volunteers who may well be available to help out at your event. Contact us in good time if you need extra help.

money

It is extremely important for you to prepare an initial budget for the event and to make sure that you can cover costs. If you are planning an event in your home, perhaps you could make a donation of the drinks for the party, however if you have substantial fixed costs like staff or performers at an outside venue, you must make sure that these items are covered in your ticket price. It is very important not to mislead guests/supporters of ThePromise about how much of the event income is going to the charity. It is very helpful for a larger event to set a fundraising target, although this can be difficult when you are planning an event for the first time. It is important to remember that events raise the profile of ThePromise and therefore should be organised effectively and with financial transparency. You will probably require a cash float on the night and you can arrange this through your own bank. Make sure that you give a detailed breakdown of the float to anyone who is handling cash for you to ensure there are no discrepancies at the end of the event. Make sure the cash float is kept in a secure place with limited access. ThePromise can process credit card payments through CAF (Charities Aid Foundation) but at events it is generally better to rely on cash or cheques. Donations can be taken directly or via justgiving.

As mentioned above, a Raffle is a very cost effective way of fundraising and usually everyone wants to take part. Popular prizes are bottles (spirits, champagne or wine) and perfume, hotel breaks, jewellery or other high-value items. ThePromise has a store of donated Raffle prizes (of lesser value) so do get in touch with us if you need extra items for your Raffle. If you organise your Raffle at a private event and sell cloakroom tickets on the night, you do not have to obtain a licence. Larger Raffles where printed tickets are sold in books in advance do require a licence and you need to seek permission from ThePromise.

insurance

Do ascertain whether you will need insurance cover for your event. For smaller, privately-organised events at home this should not be necessary.

legal

Do you need any licence or permit to run your event? You must give the registered charity number of ThePromise on any fundraising publicity material (registered charity no 1098771) as this a legal requirement. You will also need to use an approved logo, which is available as a jpeg from the address below.

publicity

Make sure you have potential guests’ email addresses/mobile phone numbers for an initial invite and follow-up. It is often a good idea to flag up the date even before all the details of the event have been finalised so that people save the date in their diaries. Do you have details of your local newspaper? They are always looking for interesting news items. You could place an advert with them or give them details of the event and the amount raised afterwards.

ThePromise can provide you with a wall display explaining our work, DVDs and leaflets to give to guests/supporters and we also have a limited range of Russian-themed merchandise which can be sold at events. We can include details of your event in our newsletter or on our website with photos please!

thank you

It is very important that you remember to thank not only all your guests on the night, but also to let people know how much was raised. This includes everyone who donated gifts, money or services to the event.

We’d love you to organise an event to fundraise for ThePromise. Well-planned events can be quite easy to run and you can have a lot of fun whilst fundraising for a really worthwhile cause.

For practical help and advice on any of the above, email janet.abbott@thepromise.org.uk.

Registered Office: 52 Sherland Road, Twickenham, TW1 4HD UK Tel: +44 (0) 20 8123 3290
Registered Charity No:1098771 Registered Company No: 4751873
www.ThePromise.org.uk