Finding a venue for your coffee morning
Planning your fundraising coffee morning
Additional coffee morning fundraising opportunities
Publicising your fundraising coffee morning
The day of your coffee morning has arrived
How to publicise your activity
The more people that know about your fundraising event or activity, the more successful it’s likely to be and the more you’re likely to raise. If you’re looking to raise a significant amount of money, you’ll have a greater chance of success if you spread the word wider beyond close friends and family. Publicising your event will help you to reach a far wider audience.
Here are some tips and ideas on getting the word about your fundraising activity out there.
Write A Press Release
If you want people to know about your fundraising activity, then tell the press and media about it – it’s very easy to do.
Click below to download our step by step guide to writing a perfect press release
Write a Press Release
It’s also a good idea to raise publicity for your event or activity yourself. There are lots of ways you can do this, beyond telling as many people as you can verbally.
Make a website: There are now many easy to build sites which are free or cost a minimal amount of money and require very little technical skill. Having a website for your event can be a good way to provide information to prospective donors and could even have a facility to donate online.
Links to other relevant sites and charities could build traffic. Include information on the event/activity, the charity and how much you hope to raise. A blog is also a good way to keep people up-to-date with your progress and any news. A blog could also be an additional way to raise money. See our article on ‘Fundraising ideas for bloggers’.
Make posters and flyers: Eye-catching posters and flyers distributed around your local area can really help raise awareness of your event or activity.
Make sure the posters and flyers are striking and also clear and easy to read. Include clear details of the event or activity time and place as well as any website address and further contact details.
Use social networking: Online spaces such as Facebook, Second Life, MySpace, Twitter and chat forums can help you spread the word about your fundraising activities quickly and widely. This type of publicity-raising activity costs nothing and the sites are easy to use.
How to hold a Coffee morning
Coffee mornings are a great British tradition. Large or small, they are the perfect activity for conversing, mingling and raising money for a charitable cause.
Finding a venue for your coffee morning
One of the great things about holding a fundraising coffee morning is that your event can be any size you like. Choice of venue plays a big role in this, so you will need to decide where you’ll hold your coffee morning before you proceed with planning.
Fundraising coffee mornings are commonly held at homes or in the workplace. These places offer a cosy setting, along with easy accessibility for those attending. Homes and most offices also have kitchens – perfect for coffee preparation – and seating areas for your guests.
If you’re planning a larger coffee morning, you can also investigate spaces within your local community. As your event is being held during the morning hours, community halls and businesses may let you use their space for free or for a reduced rate. In fact, a local business may benefit greatly from having so many guests come into their shop at a typically slow time for sales!
If you do decide to hold your coffee morning in a community area, you will need to visit the premises beforehand to determine how many people the space can accommodate and ensure it’s appropriate for your coffee morning.
Planning your fundraising coffee morning
Once you’ve chosen your coffee morning venue, you can begin planning the actual event. Choose a date that is far enough in the future so you can make adequate plans; this will also ensure that more people are able to plan ahead and attend.
Coffee mornings can be very basic set-ups, or you can choose to optimise the event for additional fundraising. Initially, all you need is a facility to make and serve coffee, and a collection box for donations.
You should plan in advance whether you’re going to sell coffee for a fixed price or accept any donation as a goodwill gesture. Determining how much it actually costs to make a cup of coffee is instrumental in making this decision.
Also, make sure you collect donations in a prominent place. Don’t be ashamed to ask for donations or talk about your fundraising cause; that’s why people are there!
Additional coffee morning fundraising opportunities
Although you can raise a decent amount of funds by holding a basic, no-frills coffee morning, you may also wish to take advantage of additional fundraising opportunities, such as selling cakes and biscuits or holding a raffle or contest.
You can double or triple your fundraising during a coffee morning by holding additional activities. The longer people linger at your coffee morning, the more money you’ll raise for your charitable cause!
Publicising your fundraising coffee morning
How, and to what extent, you advertise your fundraising coffee morning depends primarily on your choice of venue.
For a smaller gathering, like in a home or small office, you can simply invite people by word of mouth or by sending invitations. However, you should ask people to RSVP for a home or office coffee morning, so you don’t under-prepare for the number of guests who will attend.
For a community coffee morning, you’ll need a bit more publicity. Make signs to advertise your event, with the date, time and location displayed prominently. Also, ask permission from local businesses to leave fliers on the counter for interested parties. You can even go door-to-door or make announcements at other local events, such as bingo or school recitals, to publicise your event.
The day of your coffee morning has arrived
With the right preparation, the day of your fundraising coffee morning can be stress-free.
Be sure to arrive at the venue early to set up chairs and start making coffee. You want everything to be ready for the arrival of your first guests, and it’s inevitable that some people will arrive ahead of schedule!
When the time comes to start your coffee morning, it’s a good idea to have someone positioned near the doors to recommend donations and inform people of other events taking place (such as cake sales or contests). Remember, you will need to set your own policy about minimum donation amounts; however, most people who come to a coffee morning understand the process and are happy to contribute without prompting.
Once your event is in full swing, you’re well on your way to fundraising success. All that’s left to do is mingle, keep the coffee pot brewing and remind people about your fundraising cause!
How to hold a Rainbows walk or run
Charity walks and runs are popular fundraising events year-round. Organising a charity walk or run is not only a wonderful way to raise money, but it’s also a visible fundraising method that will help publicise your charitable cause to the public.
Planning your charity walk or run
The first step towards organising a successful charity walk or run is choosing a route. There are thousands of pre-planned walking routes throughout Britain, as well as unmarked walking territories in the countryside and along city streets. You can speak to a local walking or hiking club for suggestions.
The route you choose should be appropriate for your intended participants. For example, if you are planning to have many walkers or runners participating, you will need a wider path to accommodate them safely. Also, some paths are better suited for walking than running, so consider what type of event you’d like to hold before you choose your path.
Choosing your walking or running path early will also allow you to plan other aspects of the event. You will need volunteers to help on the day of the walk or run, and the length and difficulty of the course will dictate how much help is needed. You should also consider setting up an on-site medical tent and drinks stations along the course for the participants.
Legalities of a charity walk or run
There are several legalities to consider when planning a charity walk or run. First, you should obtain permission to use your planned route on the day of the event. Speak to the local council and the land owner(s) for permission, and make sure your plan does not interfere with someone else’s planned use of the land for that day.
Secondly, you should contact your charity to inform them of your plans. You will need permission to use their name and logo for your event, and if you inform them early they will be able to help you with publicity too.
Finally, you should obtain liability insurance for your event. Ideally, your insurance should cover any medical problems that occur during the event, as well as incidentals such as damage to land and property. Contact an insurance provider to discuss your event and the coverage they offer.
In addition to receiving insurance coverage for the charity walk or run, you should also notify local emergency services of your plans well in advance. Depending on the size of the event, they may provide assistance with issues like event traffic or on-site medical care.
It may go without saying, but if you are planning a road walk or run you will also need to speak to the council and police to coordinate road closures on the day of the event. To avoid disappointment, you should do this as early as possible!
Finding walkers for your charity
Once you have laid the groundwork for your charity walk or run, it’s time to get other people involved.
As you publicise your event, you should get written or verbal commitments from participants. This is essential, as you will need enough support stations and volunteers on the day of the event.
Keeping good records about your participants will be essential throughout the process. You can check in with them in the weeks leading up to the event to see if they need any help or fundraising tips, and you will need to contact them when the event is finished to collect the fundraising donations they received from their sponsors.
Publicising a charity walk or run
When you have a sense of the number of participants, contact your local media to inform them of the event. You should prepare materials for them to use in their press coverage, including information about your charitable cause, the date and location of the event, and the number of participants. It also helps if you have a unique story to tell, as they will be more likely to feature you.
Be sure to give the media enough notice that they can cover the event – the more publicity you receive, the more funds you’ll raise!
Holding a successful charity walk or run
Charity walks can be as small or as large as you like; although we may think of monumental events like the London Marathon when discussing charity walks and runs, in actuality there are thousands of smaller events across the country every year that also raise significant funds for charity.
As with most fundraising endeavours, planning is key to the success of a charity walk or run. Also, the more you can predict and organise the event before it happens, the more fun you’ll have on the day of the event!
How to organise a charity auction
Charity auctions are fantastic, community-oriented events that can raise significant funds for a charitable cause.
Types Of Charity Auctions
When you run an auction for charity, there are several ways to do it:
Silent auctions are the most popular type of fundraising auction because they are low key and easier to coordinate. In a silent auction, you publish a list of items ahead of time and accept bids in writing. At the end of a pre-determined time period, the highest bidder wins the item.
The alternative to a silent auction is a live auction. People gather at a venue to place bids and unlike a silent auction, a live auction is fast and loud; patrons either shout or hold up signs for their bids. Live auctions can sometimes become frenzied affairs, you may need an auctioneer to help proceedings run smoothly.
Fundraising Auction Venues
When you decide to fundraise by holding a charity auction, you should first decide the type of auction you wish to conduct. This decision will dictate the rest of your charity auction plans.
If you hold an in-person auction (either silent or live), you will need a large venue. Ideally you will have a larger crowd in attendance on the day of your auction, although you can also choose whether or not to accept sealed bids ahead of the auction, or phone bids from people who cannot attend the actual event. Spaces like bingo halls and school gymnasiums are large enough to accommodate most auctions.
If you are running a silent auction, you should also provide refreshments on the day of the event. Silent auctions are slower affairs than live auctions, so you will also need to keep people entertained while they examine items and place their bids.
Alternatively, you can conduct a silent auction at home by accepting email or phone bids from your friends and family. The latter may reach a smaller audience, but it is also much easier to run.
Obtaining Items For Your Charity Auction
After you pay for your auction venue, the biggest expense is in the items you sell. There are several ways you can obtain items for a charity auction:
• Second-hand items – Ask friends and family to contribute products they do not want or need. Items should be in good, saleable condition.
• Corporate donations – Contact businesses and ask them to contribute products to your charity auction. You can thank them by publishing their name in publicity materials or auction leaflets.
• Purchase items – Buy items at a sale price and sell them on for a higher bid. This can be potentially problematic, as you will need to set reserve prices to ensure your items sell for more than you paid!
How you obtain your items will make a big difference in the amount of funds you raise for your charity. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your item procurement; ask local businesses, sport teams and local celebrities to donate items or services to your auction.
Even having one big-ticket item or celebrity donation will greatly enhance the publicity you receive, which means more money for your charitable cause!
Running Your Charity Auction
Once you have organised the logistics of your auction, it’s time to get people to attend. You can publicise your event in a variety of ways. At minimum, you should inform the local media and post fliers in community areas. If you received corporate donations, you can ask the businesses to help you with this.
On the day of your auction, it’s important to stay organised at all times. Print and hand out auction leaflets with items and other important information, or inform people of the auction procedure as they enter. Also, make sure you take careful notes of the winning bids as they’re placed. You may wish to have a friend or family member run the auction from the podium while you circulate and keep the event running smoothly.
Depending on the venue, you can decide to accept payments and allow item pick-up directly after the auction. Remember to thank patrons for their donations! Alternatively, you can arrange delivery or pick-up of items at a later date; this works especially well for larger items.
After The Charity Auction
A big part of holding a charity auction is organising the event itself, but your job doesn’t end when the last gavel falls. You will need to pay all expenses, collect payment and deliver items to the bidders too.
With the right planning, a charity auction can be very profitable for your fundraising cause. The most important thing to do is stay organised; if you’re able to keep up-to-date with all of your expenses, bidders and suppliers, people will soon be asking when your next charity auction is!
How to organise a raffle or lottery
Before you run a raffle, prize draw or lottery for your charitable cause, you will need to make yourself aware of the latest lottery legislation. Even small, incidental lotteries are regulated under gambling laws, and as such there are strict rules to follow.
Here is what you should consider when organising a raffle, lottery or prize draw:
Rules and regulations for lotteries
There are many laws to consider when running a lottery. As each fundraising circumstance is different, you should contact your local authority or seek independent legal advice to ensure you are adhering to the latest lottery and gambling laws.
In general, however, the following rules and regulations apply to lotteries:
• Every ticket must be sold for the same price
• Every ticket must have the same odds of winning the lottery
• Tickets can only be sold to persons aged 16 or over
Please note that, depending on the size of your lottery, you may al
so require a licence from your local authority or from the Gambling Commission. You may refer to the Gambling Act 2005 for guidance, or contact your local council.
Organising a raffle or lottery as part of a larger event
Although raffles are great fundraising endeavours on their own, many groups and charities also run raffles as part of other events, such as shopping fairs and parties. These types of lotteries are referred to as “incidental non-commercial lotteries”; in other words, the lottery is not the main event.
When running an incidental, non-commercial lottery, you will be exempt from many of the rules and regulations governing other types of lotteries. However, although the rules are less strict, the Gambling Act 2005 still applies and you should seek guidance if necessary.
When organising an incidental lottery, you should consider the following rules:
• All lottery tickets must be sold at the event, with all participants present
• You cannot offer more than £250 in prizes, even if prizes have been donated
• You cannot offer cash prizes
• You cannot conduct a “roll-over” lottery of any type
By adhering to these rules, the process of running an incidental non-commercial lottery is actually made a lot simpler for fundraisers. You will need to print or buy ticket books, collect prizes and choose your ticket price ahead of time. Then, on the day of your event, you can move around the room and sell tickets to interested parties.
The best way to conduct a lottery as part of another fundraising activity is to leave the prize draw until the end of the event. This way, not only will you have more time to sell tickets, but people will also stay to see if they’ve won, giving you more time to fundraise with other activities too!
Four steps to a successful lottery, raffle or prize draw
Once you have decided to conduct a lottery and have reviewed the relevant legal requirements, it’s one of the easier fundraising events to plan.
Running a lottery requires four simple steps:
• Printing tickets or buying ticket books
• Procuring prizes
• Promoting the lottery and selling tickets
• Running the lottery
Once you have cleared the legislative hurdles, these steps are easy to perform and are likely to result in a fair amount of money raised for your charitable cause.
By making yourself aware of current legislation and keeping your plans organised, you are well on your way to a successful lottery, prize draw or raffle. However, if you’re ever in doubt about your plans or need assistance, you should contact your local authority, the Institute of Fundraising, the Gambling Commission, or check the Gambling Act 2005
How to produce a concert for Rainbows
Live Aid set the stage in 1985, and now charity concerts are a mainstream way to raise funds for a charitable cause. With a little help from your friends, you can organise your own benefit concert and enjoy the sweet sounds of fundraising success.
Planning a charity concert
Before you get started planning your charity concert, it’s a good idea to set a realistic goal. Charity concerts come in all styles and sizes, and having a basic understanding of what you wish to accomplish will help your planning tremendously.
A benefit concert relies primarily on three things: music, venue and audience. Whilst your charity concert must have all three in order to be successful, there is no set order in which to pursue them.
Finding a charity concert venue
Getting the support of a venue is an excellent first step. There are a variety of venues you can book, depending on the type of show you’re planning. Community halls, pubs, clubs and school auditoriums can all be great venues for a concert.
When you’re looking at venues, be sure to tell the venue owners or managers about your charity and ask for a reduced booking fee. Some companies will even offer their space for free (especially on a week night), as it’s great publicity and goodwill for their business. You will also need extra help (either volunteers or paid workers) at the door, selling food or drink and in the sound department, so also ask if the venue will provide these people.
Before you book a space, it’s important to keep in mind the type of show you’re planning. For example, if you’re planning a rock show, a community centre may seat more people than a local club, but the club will already have the speakers and soundboard that you need for the band. Renting this equipment can put a big dent in your budget, so make sure you’ve considered everything you need.
Finding a performer for a benefit concert
Having an act booked as early as possible is important for the success of your charity concert. You can find performers of all genres in a variety of places.
First, ask your friends and family if they know any musicians or other industry contacts. Having connections like these makes it much easier to convince an artist to play your show, especially if you’re offering a reduced rate or asking them to play for free.
If you don’t know anybody in the music business, you can start your search at local schools. University music departments can be especially helpful, as they have scores of young musicians who are looking for performance experience. Even if you’re putting on a larger concert, allowing a few amateur groups to play earlier in the day will give you lots of free entertainment for your concert.
To find professional bands, the only way to do it is to contact them (or their agents) directly. All regions have local, professional acts who might play your show, and these bands are also more likely to bring their own following to the show.
Alternatively, you can pursue larger national acts, but remember; these bands usually charge many thousands of pounds to play a show whilst on tour, so your charity concert might be a tough sell. Still, it doesn’t hurt to ask!
Benefit concert publicity
Once you’ve chosen your location and booked the talent, you can begin publicising your event.
Prepare a press release with all of the relevant information, and remember to feature your charity prominently (you can find templates for press releases online). Once you send the press release, contact local media by telephone to follow-up.
The media will hopefully publicise your concert, thereby doing some of the promotion for you, but you will also need to promote the show yourself. Place fliers, run ads in the newspaper and use social networking websites like Facebook and MySpace to tell people about your benefit concert. Along the way, you can also ask for people to volunteer at the event.
The show must go on
The day of the event will be hectic but, with the right amount of planning, hopefully things will run smoothly.
Remember to lean on your volunteers for support; you can’t do everything, so don’t try. If you assign jobs to people to do at the concert, such as collecting donations, taking tickets, or selling food and drink, you will be free to manage and troubleshoot the show.
Finally, keep in mind that, although putting on a charity concert is your primary goal, there are other fundraising opportunities at the show too. You can sell food and drink, collect donations and distribute charity leaflets before and after the show, raising even more money for your charitable cause.
How to raise money through sponsorship
Sponsorship is a very popular way of fundraising. Sponsorship basically means that a sponsor agrees to pay money to someone if they do something. An example is you may be sponsored for a sponsored walk. Sponsors may say they will pay £50 (for example) if you finish the walk. Alternatively they may sponsor you £5 for every mile you walk.
Sponsorship can be used for all kinds of fundraising activities, for example:
• Sponsored walk, run or swim
• Sponsored silence (good for children!)
• Sponsored shave (men often shave off a beard they have had for a long time in return for sponsorship)
• Sponsored sit in a bath of beans/custard
Really, imagination is the only limit for what you could be sponsored for.
Here are some tips on how to raise the maximum amount of sponsorship money for your chosen cause:
Keep your sponsorship form on you at all times. You never know when you might bump into someone who might sponsor you. Don’t forget a pen too! Use both an online sponsorship form and a paper one. This way you can send a link to potential sponsors anywhere.
Start your sponsorship efforts as early as possible and be organised. This way you have the best way of raising the maximum amount of money without the process being stressful or rushed.
Look into matched giving, either through the company you work for, or another business. Through matched giving, someone, usually a business, agrees to donate a pound for every pound you raise (or match the money you have raised in a similar way).
Write to local companies to ask if they would be interested in sponsoring you. A well written letter or email will increase your chances of success. Our article ‘How to Write a Fundraising Letter’ will help with this.
Raise publicity for your sponsored event. Contacting local and national papers, magazines and radio stations could help raise awareness of your cause and also to attract many more sponsors. Our article ‘How to Publicise Your Fundraising Activity’ will provide ideas on publicising your event.
If you have a particular reason for raising money for a certain charity, for example a personal experience, be honest with sponsors about it. Avoid preaching or being pushy but giving people some background information about the charity or the event may make them more likely to sponsor you.
Leave a sponsor form in a prominent place such as a staff room at work, a gym changing room or a church notice board. People can still sign up for sponsorship without you being there and this is also a good option for those who find approaching people directly for sponsorship a little awkward.
Give sponsorship forms to friends and family as well so that they can try and raise sponsorship amongst their contacts. Widen the pool of potential sponsors and the numbers will soon start to add up.
Think about how you will collect the money as this can often be harder than attracting sponsors in the first place. Consider asking for a post-dated cheque or allowing people to donate by Paypal or online bank transfer.
How to run a raffle or prize draw
Lotteries, raffles and prize draws are some of the most popular types of fundraising, and for good reason – they require a minimal investment from participants (with a sizeable potential windfall) and can be quite profitable for charities and organisations too.
Rules and regulations for lotteries are stricter than other fundraising activities; however, do not let that put you off. You can seek advice from your local authority, the Gambling Commission, the Institute of Fundraising, or refer to the Gambling Act 2005 for legislative information.
Here’s some general advice on setting up and running a lottery, prize draw or raffle:
Running A Private Lottery
By far the most popular type of lottery is a private lottery. Tickets may only be sold to one group of people, but this type of lottery does not need to be licensed by the Gambling Commission.
The most common types of private lotteries are:
• Work lotteries
• Residents’ lotteries
• Private membership club lotteries
For example, you can conduct a lottery at work provided you are an employee of that company and you are only selling tickets to work colleagues. The prize draw must also take place within the work setting.
Steps To Take Before Holding A Lottery Or Raffle
Before you can run a lottery, raffle or prize draw, you will need tickets to sell. You can purchase books or raffle tickets from print shops or games’ retailers, or you can print the tickets yourself using a home computer. Alternatively, you can have tickets printed by a professional printing company, with your charity information included on the ticket.
In addition to tickets, you will also need prizes to give away. Whilst it may be tempting to give away cash as a prize (such as a 50/50 draw), there are stricter regulations for cash prizes, so proceed with caution.
Although you can buy prizes at retail price, you should also consider asking local businesses to donate items for the lottery. Even if they can’t give you an item for free, this will open up the lines of communication and you may be able to purchase the item at a discount, which means more money saved for your charity!
Selling Lottery Or Raffle Tickets
Because lottery rules state that, in most cases, you must hold a private lottery, it’s a lot easier to sell tickets. Unlike other fundraising activities, you do not have to worry about marketing or promotion, since you can only sell tickets to certain people at work, school or in a club.
However, that doesn’t mean you should just show up at work with a ticket book and some prizes. Let people know in advance about your fundraising endeavours so they can have money to purchase tickets on the day of the prize draw. This will also create a buzz around your event, and you will also draw in people who normally might not have participated.
We Have A Winner!
All that’s left once you’ve gotten prizes and sold tickets is to do the prize draw. You should do this in front of an audience and be clear about the rules that will be followed. For example, you should ask someone who has not purchased a ticket to do the draw, or blindfold a random participant.
If you are giving away multiple prizes, be sure to announce which prize is up for grabs before each draw. You don’t want your donors to go away disappointed!
Final Considerations For A Lottery, Raffle Or Prize Draw
There are a variety of fundraising activities you can do to raise money for a charitable cause, and a lottery may not seem like the easiest choice. Lotteries are by far the most regulated fundraising activity, and the gambling laws can seem daunting at first.
However, once you get started, lotteries, raffles and prize draws are a lot simpler than they first appear. By going through the process step-by-step and seeking guidance when necessary, your lottery will run smoothly. In the process, you’ll also be raising lots of funds for your charitable cause!
How to throw a fundraising party
People of all ages attend parties, from birthday parties and Christmas gatherings to formal affairs. Holding a fundraising party offers a fantastic opportunity to raise money for your cause whilst bringing your friends, family and community together for an evening of fun.
Decide on a fundraising party theme
Partying is a year-round affair, but there are certain times of year when a themed party might be appropriate. You can hold Christmas parties, Spring Flings or any number of other themed events; you may even wish to base your party theme around your charitable cause. Picking a theme – or deciding not to have a theme – is the first step in planning a fundraising party.
In addition to themes, you should decide early what type of party you want to hold. You’ll need to consider dress code, activities, food and who you plan to invite; a children’s game party requires vastly different planning than a winter formal for adults!
Develop your money-making plan
There are numerous opportunities to raise money for your cause at a fundraising party. You can charge admission, sell drinks and food, hold raffles and auctions, and charge for games. Whilst you don’t need to have all of these activities to make your party a success, you will need to decide your fundraising plan as early as possible.
Expenses are an inevitable part of holding a benefit party, so it’s important to decide what, if anything, you will provide for free at your party. That way, you can deduct these expenses accordingly from your fundraising profit and make more accurate projections about your potential party earnings.
Preparing for a fundraising party
Once you have your fundraising party plan in place, you can begin preparing in earnest. First, you will need to find and book a suitable venue for the evening. If you’re having a small party at your home, this won’t be too difficult; however, you can also consider local community centres, pubs, clubs, halls and school facilities. All of these venues rent their space out for a fee.
When you book your venue, remember to allow time to set up before the party and clean up afterwards. For example, if you’re holding a party from 6-9 in the evening, you should book a block of time between 4-11 at a minimum to allow adequate time. You should also find out what will be provided at the venue. You may need tables, chairs and kitchen facilities – make sure these are included if you need them!
Once you’ve booked the venue, you should have a good idea of the space you need to fill. This will impact how you decorate, how many people you invite and the amount of food and activities you provide.
For larger parties, consider hiring a caterer for the evening. They will be able to set up the venue and take care of all of the cooking. Most caterers will even provide tablecloths and cutlery, although they may charge an additional fee for this.
Finally, you will need to send invitations to your fundraising party. How you do this depends on the size of your gathering; you could opt to send paper invitations or call guests personally, but for a larger party you will also need to make fliers and signs advertising the event. Contact your local newspaper to see if they will cover the party or place an ad publicising the event. Because you’re raising money for charity, they may be willing to run your party advertisement for a reduced rate.
The day of the fundraising party
It’s important to plan and prepare for your fundraising party as much as possible ahead of time. This helps to minimise problems that may arise and will also allow you to have more fun!
If you have not hired a caterer, food should be prepared the night before the party. You should also speak with your venue to see if you can come in the morning of the party to decorate, set up tables and deliver items like drinks and games. The more you can do before the event, the better off you’ll be.
Running a successful fundraising party
As the head party planner, you may feel overwhelmed by your tasks at times. Don’t let these situations get the better of you. If you have friends, family or other volunteers available, delegate jobs to them. You can also ask your venue and caterers for assistance.
If you get stressed in spite of this, always remember: you’re doing this for your charity and it’s meant to be fun. If everything at your fundraising party is worked around these two principles, things will run a lot smoother!
How to write a fundraising letter
Fundraising letters can be sent to businesses and individuals to request a donation and raise awareness for your cause and your fundraising event or activity. Fundraising letters are a little like sales letters or copywriting in a way – you want to solicit an action from your reader; that is, a donation. Therefore your fundraising letter needs to be informative and very persuasive.
Some people ask a professional copywriter to write their fundraising letter but you can do it yourself. Even though you may not be a professional writer, you have an advantage over an outsider because you know the subject very well and are passionate about it.
Highlight the benefits
Although your fundraising letter will obviously need to clearly state what you are appealing for money for and how the money will be used, it also needs to appeal to the reader by making clear what the benefits of donating will be to them. For example, it could be a way for a local business to raise their profile and show their commitment to corporate responsibility.
People who donate may receive a gift or admittance to a performance so that they can see the good work that donated money does. Benefits to donators don’t have to be material – you can use the fundraising letter to emphasise benefits such as the money going towards improving people’s health, an operation that will provide a better quality of life for someone, or even saving lives. Quotes and images from people who have been helped by donated money can help.
Make sure your letter clearly states what you want the recipient to do. You don’t want your recipients to finish reading your letter and think that it’s an information bulletin. State throughout that you need donations. Subtly suggesting amounts can also help. For example you could say – “A donation of just £10 could provide clean drinking water for x people for x days”.
Aim for a fast reaction by saying something such as “We are trying to raise £3,000 by April of this year so that the operation can be carried out in summer.” Once people have thrown the letter away or ‘filed’ it, the chances of them donating become slimmer.
Make it clear how people can donate, whether that’s with online banking, by cheque or through a website. If people can send cheques include a pre-addressed envelope. Make sure there are contact details to prove things are above-board and so that potential donors can ask any questions.
Make the letter easy on the eye by using sub-headings and paragraphs. Long, unbroken chunks of text are off-putting. Similarly, use bullet lists if necessary – they are easy to scan and digest. Use simple and clear language with positive phrases.
Many people scan-read mail, including fundraising letters. End with a PS reiterating for a final time what you want them to do and why. This is your last chance to solicit an action from your readers.
Always follow up donations with a thank you letter. You could also consider sending a newsletter out regularly to keep donors up-to-date with projects and progress so that they can see how their money is being used. This will encourage repeat donations.