Seven steps to a successful charity fundraising event

Volunteers gathered around a table at a charity event.

Charity fundraising is a great way of involving an array of different people and a community to benefit your charity.

As well as raising awareness for your cause in an inclusive and fun manner, it can help create a wider support base by reaching out to new audiences.

Fundraising does, however, need to be carefully planned and organised in order to maximise the success of the event. Here are some tips on how this can be achieved.

Time your event correctly

Choose the date and time of your event carefully. If participants are likely to bring children, make sure it doesn't overlap with mealtimes or go on too late into the evening. Also make sure you take into consideration other events happening on the day, such as big sports fixtures, to ensure they do not clash.

The elements can cause headaches for even the most experienced charity event organisers - so always have a contingency plan in place in the event of bad weather. Cake sales, raffles and jumble sales can normally be brought indoors, but if you have other attractions – such as outdoor games or sports – think about an alternative that would work inside.

Choose a popular theme

Decide on a theme that has popular appeal (this could be a seasonal event, such as a summer fete, or an event that is popular all year round, like a cake sale) and think about the kind of audience this will attract. Even if your event isn't food themed, consider selling refreshments as a way of raising more money. Invest time to create a plan and break down your fundraising target into manageable amounts.

Promote your event

Promotion is key to ensuring your fundraising event is a success. Social media gives charities an unprecedented reach for very little cost, so set up a Facebook event, spread the word on Twitter, and ask friends to re-post or re-tweet links to the event page.

Also think about selling tickets in advance (rather than on the door) to ensure a guaranteed turnout. JustGiving allows you to sell tickets online, enabling you to link directly to the purchase page from your posts and tweets.

Ask businesses and supporters for prize draw donations

The key to a successful prize draw is to get as many free prizes as possible. Contact local shops and restaurants to ask if they would be able to donate prizes and display posters for the event. Example donations include gift vouchers, a free meal for two or a % discount voucher. They might ask for something in return, in which case you could offer to mention them in the newsletter, display their logo at the event or link to their web page from the 'supporters' section of your charity's website. This can be a great way of building up relationships for further contributions.

Tell donors what their money will achieve

Communicate measurable outcomes of donations at the event. For example, "a gift of £20 provides drinking water for a family for an entire year". Donors like to know where their money is going and the changes it could make, and using a figure such as "£20" gives an indication of how much they could donate. Remember to ask everyone who pays tax in the UK to complete a Gift Aid form.

Insure against the unexpected

Although most events run without a hitch, there's always the possibility that something could go wrong, or someone could get injured – as such, it's well worth taking out insurance that can protect against these scenarios. Bad weather can make paths and stairs slippy, and if a participant or volunteer were to injure themselves, they could take legal action against your charity. Find out more on our charity insurance page.

Thank donors

Finally, do not forget to thank donors. After the event, post updates on Facebook and Twitter, send an email to all donors and write a few sentences in the next newsletter announcing the total raised. It also makes sense to give examples of what the money will be put towards and link to any JustGiving pages in case readers want to make a late donation. Thanking donors is just as important as asking for their donation in the first place, and is one of the most effective ways of building long-lasting relationships.


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