For the past 18 months, charities have had to turn to virtual events to increase their fundraising income. However, with lockdown eased and the events industry finally rebuilding itself, it’s a great time for the charity sector to return to traditional fundraising events.
As we head into the new year, it’s a good time for not-for-profit organisations to start planning out its event calendars. With an 89% increase in interest for the term “charity events”¹, it’s clear the industry needs to be prepared to organise in-person events. Event specialists AYRE Event Solutions gives its top ten tips for hosting a charity event for the first time:
What is your aim and purpose?
When planning your event, it is crucial to establish what you would like to achieve. Ask yourself, what is your goal for the event? Whether this is a particular amount of donations for a project or charity, increased awareness of the organisation and its work or a unique outcome, this goal needs to be clearly set and well thought out. While it is great to be ambitious, the aims need to be realistic and achievable to avoid disappointment for both the organisers and the charity.
Have you got the perfect venue?
When booking a venue for a charity event, logistics need to be considered, such as: ‘Is there enough room for parking? How many guests does the venue hold? How much will it cost?’. These questions make it necessary to visit several different destinations; and scoping out suitable locations months in advance. It is advised to have your venue decided six months prior to the event, and the target audience needs to be considered when deciding on dates and times, as this may affect the number of available attendees.
What entertainment will you have?
Entertainment is crucial when planning a charity event. Keeping your attendees engaged and entertained throughout the event makes them more likely to donate and remember the charity involved. There are many ways to hold onto your audience’s attention throughout, such as a live band, a celebrity speech, a charity auction, a comedian or an interactive game.
Have you considered your attendee’s health and safety?
All potential hazards must be considered before the event takes place. If you feel unable to undertake a health and safety assessment yourself, getting an event safety expert in beforehand to assess the venue would be a sensible decision.
How will your attendees donate?
Your charity event will most likely include raising funds for a particular cause, but you need to think about the easiest way for your attendees to donate. Since the pandemic, card and contactless payments are much more commonly used, so you may decide to have a cashless donation system. However, it may be best to have two options for your guests. For this, you could choose to have an online donation system via a QR code where guests can scan the code on their phone and donate, plus an in-person option for donation through a card machine.
What is your budget for the event?
When you have decided what you would like to achieve, you must determine a budget. Many aspects of hosting an event can be extremely costly, and you can often get carried away, but you must be careful not to waste money. You should always look for elements in which you can cut the costs down to save your money for more important features.
Who is your target audience?
Deciding on the type of audience you want to target is crucial for maximising the results of your event. Your charity choice may appeal to a particular audience; this can be affected by their generation, interests or experiences. This can also be affected by the destination focus. Is it a local fundraiser, or is it for a world-renowned cause?
Do you need additional features?
There are usually several different types of lighting involved for separate parts of an event; spotlights, moving headlights, party lights and even outdoor lighting are all necessary to create the perfect atmosphere. Another addition to consider would be staging; your key speakers will need to be seen to deliver with full effect. Staging is available for hire if your venue does not facilitate it.
Are you fully organised?
Once all of your ideas have been reviewed, organisation becomes key. Rules and regulations are a huge part of event planning; licences, permits, and insurance are all non-negotiables that need to be sorted ahead of any event taking place. It is suggested that you have a session with a legal advisor or your insurer to discuss what you do and don’t need for the day of the event.
How will you promote and market the event?
Now that your event is thoroughly planned and arranged, you need to start thinking about how you will promote it to the wider public. Firstly, be sure to have set aside money for the promotion of the event so you can reach as many people as possible. In more traditional promotions, you can contact radio stations, get into your local news and create posters and flyers. In terms of digital marketing, you could send out email alerts, post on all social media and create a hashtag specifically for your event.
Managing director of AYRE, Chris Ayre, commented, “After the events industry suffering for a long 18 month period, we finally seem to be coming out the other side and events are back up and running. Charity events are a great way to bring people together and raise money for an amazing cause; these steps will help more people organise and host their own.
“Recently we have had more organisations from the charity sector approach us to help organise their fundraising events, and it’s great to see the sector gaining more confidence in holding in-person events for their causes. We hope to see the increase in interest for charity events continue growing throughout 2022 and are excited to be a part of it.”
For more support and information please visit https://www.ayre.events/
- Google trends data for the search term “charity events” correct as of November 2021.