Donate books poster from Oxfam

Organising a charity event is a challenge – you have all the problems normally associated with organising a big event, but with the added bonus that half the people involved that you would normally pay money too are now being brought in on good will alone.

Fortunately, with this handy check list, you should be able to get everything running smoothly.

Get your dates right

A great charity event is a lot like a great joke, in that the secret to success is… timing. You’ll have plenty of people, services and even room hire all needing to come together at exactly the right time. You get the timing wrong and you’re looking at a disaster. Double check all your bookings. Double check your publicity material, including posters, the website and social media promotions.

Location, location, location

Make sure you’ve got the right venue. Ensure the owner of the venue is okay with everything that’s going to be going on there, make sure they have the correct licenses for everything you’re going to be doing (from playing music to selling booze), and that it’s of a size that will accommodate everyone you expect to be coming without being so big that it looks sparse and underpopulated when everyone turns up.

Never  stop promoting

A month in advance. A week in advance. The day before. The morning before. Constantly be reminding people that the event is going to start until it’s actually started and everybody is there. Just because someone’s clicked “Yes” on a Facebook invite two months ago doesn’t mean they’re still going to remember where they’re supposed to be eight weeks later.

Keep the sponsors happy

Businesses love looking like the good guys. Sponsoring charities is a good way to achieve this, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find someone willing to cover your costs to get their name on an event. Of course, once they’re on board it’s a good idea to keep them happy – let them know about any last minute changes, if they’re kept in the loop, they’ll be more likely to help with future events.

Contact the local media

Local newspapers, what’s on guides, radio stations. Tell everybody what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. If you’ve managed to get any celebrities involved then that’s a big plus – for instance the Joe Humphries Memorial Trust recently managed to get extra press attention by bringing Rugby legend Martin Johnson along to an event.

Enjoy the day

Organising a successful charity event is one of the most challenging fundraising jobs you could find. However, when everything comes together the results can be spectacular. Once everything is sorted and going (almost) according to plan, don’t forget to take a moment out to appreciate what you’ve managed to do. Then you can get on with the post-event jobs of sorting out how much money you’ve raised and clearing up after the event!

Featured images:

Sam Wright is a freelancer writer who regularly works with charities and non-profits.