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Top Tips for Planning Charity Events

Last updated October 23rd, 2014

By Laura Pearson-Smith
Planning charity events are not easy, as there is even more at stake than for events in any other sector. It is important to first understand the aims of a charity event. It is, first and foremost, to make money for the chosen charity. Secondly, it must be enjoyable for all guests, and be value for money to them if they have purchased a ticket to attend.
Before beginning the planning of a charity event, you must have helping hands. You cannot do it alone. It is crucial to have people to bounce ideas off of, delegate different responsibilities to and to be your eyes and ears at the event itself. The more experience in planning charity events that they have, the better.
Then, you need to begin designing your event- keeping your aims in mind throughout. Remember that, the more fun guests are having, the more money they will part with. Consider a theme for the event, entertainment options, refreshment choices and innovative ways you can get the charity’s message across. You need to have a formal written outline of how the event will work, so that all your team are literally working off of the same page. Timings are especially important to ensure the event runs smoothly and on schedule.
When putting together your plan, make sure the whole team have visited the venue for a recce several times, so that you have a clear image of the layout (and things such as plug point locations) in your head.
As the main goal of planning charity events is to make as much money as possible, you need to minimise expenditure and maximise the ways you can draw in additional funds- could you run a raffle at the event?, have a silent auction? or add donation buckets? When it comes to booking suppliers, beg and borrow as much as you can. Many businesses will be happy to donate auction prizes or provide products for goodie bags in return for the exposure that being involved with the event will give them. Start with your friends, family and work colleagues for this- you’ll be amazed at some of the connections they have that you hadn’t realised before.
Once you have your event planned, your suppliers booked (for as cheaply as possible) and your team’s responsibilities at the event shared out, you need to start publicising the event to sell as many tickets as possible, and to generate as much press coverage as possible to garner publicity for the charity’s work. If the event format is suitable for it, this would be the point to start inviting celebrity and VIP guests to attract more attention to your occasion.
Planning a good event of any description is all about organisation and experience. Experience helps you anticipate and prepare for the inevitable pitfalls and mishaps before they happen. A good Event Manager and Event Planner is always one step ahead of the game. Don’t try to do too much yourself either- lean on your team and utilise their individual skills. Now, go forth and make money for a worthy cause.

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