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Running successful events: top tips for charities

Events can be a successful way of fundraising, and help raise the profile of your charity. They can be time consuming and costly to organise though, so it is essential to ensure you have a strategy in place to maximise their effectiveness. We’ve put together some top tips for charitable organisations, to help with your next event or exhibition.

Have clear objectives

You need to decide what you are hoping to achieve, and then build your event plan around these objectives. Are you looking just to fundraise on the day, or to gain new long-term supporters? Do you want to raise awareness of the vision and charitable activities of your organisation? The event needs to be part of your overall marketing strategy, and contribute to delivering your overall objectives.

Understand your target audience

Your event must be targeted to appeal to the audience you wish to engage with. Whether you’re running a fundraising sporting event or exhibiting at a local exhibition, understanding who you are targeting, and why, will help you create an offering that is attractive to that market.

Managing your budget

You need to ensure you manage your budget effectively, so cost out all the expenses at the start. These could include marketing collateral, event invitations, rental costs, catering, additional insurance, entertainment, transport, security and staff. Your event needs to deliver return on investment, so ensure you are clear what the total costs involved are.

Have a fundraising target

If you’re holding a fundraising event, set a target amount that you wish to raise. This should be the target you plan to raise once the expenses are deducted.

Have a marketing strategy

Your event will be far more successful if it is marketed strategically. Contact existing supporters in advance of the event, and make local and national media aware. Post details of the event on your website and use your social media channels to promote the event. Keep in mind your target audience and focus on the platforms that they are most likely to use.

Involve your trustee board

Your organisation’s trustees should support your fundraising strategy, and ensure you have the resources and capacity to meet your objectives. The board can act as fundraising ambassadors, supporting the event where they can and helping to expand the donor network.

Ensure you fulfill your legal requirements

If you are providing entertainment or selling alcohol, you will need to apply for a temporary events licence. If you are holding a raffle and selling tickets in advance, you will also need a licence. You should also undertake a risk assessment, and make sure staff and volunteers are fully briefed on correct procedures and health & safety.

Make sure you have adequate insurance in place as you may not automatically be covered by your existing policy - this will depend on what insurance you currently have and the size or type of event involved.

If you are collecting personal data such as contact details of new or potential supporters record their consent and their preferences for how they wish to be contacted going forwards. Prepare for the new General Data Protection Regulations now, by ensuring you start collecting personal data in a compliant way.

Post-event communications
Your communications strategy should continue after the event. Ensure that photographs and other press materials are available to the media, and post them on your website and social media channels.


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