Organising your own successful fundraising event

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1 Organising your own successful fundraising event The clichés are true: the key to a successful fundraising event is in the organisation. Master your what, when, where, who and how, and we re confident that you ll succeed. What? The sky s the limit in terms of brainstorming ideas for your fundraising event, but don t be over ambitious at first. Set realistic targets and stick to your plans. Remember that simple events are often the ones that make the most money. When? Always consider when people are most likely to be able to come to your event. Think about the weather and the date you want to hold your event on. Where? Consider the size of your venue. Is it easy to get to? Does it have wheelchair access? Will you have to bring tables, chairs etc? What facilities does the venue offer? Importantly how much will it cost to hire? Who? Who are you going to invite to your event? Friends and colleagues or members of the public? Do you need volunteers to support you? How? Think about how you will get people to sponsor you or come to your event. When you approach an individual or a company for support, be passionate about your reasons for raising money you ll find they are much more likely to part with their cash or their products. Remember that companies are constantly being approached to support charitable events so you ll need to sell your cause to get noticed. Will you need Mencap s help to promote the event and raise its profile?

2 Be creative... Sometimes it s hard to come up with good ideas, which can make fundraising seem daunting. Here are just a few ideas to get you started. Events at work Your work colleagues usually make great sponsors. You could organise to raffle a day s holiday or a lunchtime car wash or a collection box at reception to recycle people s mobile phones or for staff to donate via payroll giving or a swear box Events in your local community Your fundraising can help you meet new people. You could organise a cake sale or a sponsored pub crawl or a speed-dating event or a comedy night or a battle of the bands or a book sale or a pool or darts competition in your local pub or a bingo night or a cheese and wine evening or a chess tournament or a Christmas party or a Halloween event or a New Year s Eve party or a Eurovision party or a grand picnic in the park... Events at school If the kids want to get involved, you could help them organise a sponsored silence or a non-uniform day or a school pantomime or play or a conker competition or a sports day or a summer fete or a drawing competition Sports led events If you want to get fit while you re fundraising, you could organise a 24-hour fitness challenge or a sponsored go-kart event or some underwater races or a charity football match or a swim across the English Channel or a sponsored bike ride or a hike up a mountain or an aerobics marathon or sponsored walks or a five-a-side football competition or a running race Just for fun events Fundraising is a great way to have harmless fun. You could organise a sponsored head shave or a sponsored leg or chest wax or a face painting competition or a fancy dress competition

3 Tried and tested Don t be scared of the more traditional fundraising ideas. They may have been done before but sometimes the classic ideas are the best; they can still work a treat! Below are a couple of tried and tested ideas. Try organising a quiz night It s easy, and practically free to put on a quiz night, especially if you can get the venue for nothing! Just find a suitable venue (for example pubs, local halls or school halls), decide on an entry fee and start selling tickets. You can even try to get local companies to come along and compete against one another. Or a coffee morning/tea party Getting your local community involved is a great way to fundraise. Find a venue (a village hall or school hall is perfect), invite your friends and neighbours and then wow them with refreshments and fun extras like raffles, tombolas or even a bring-and-buy sale. Keep costs down by asking local bakeries and cafes to donate produce. Think big Whether you re looking to raise 500 or 5,000, why not give your fundraising efforts that little bit extra and go for gold? Host a ball or a party Grand events like a ball are more effort to put on, but you will reap the benefits if you re successful. The key to putting on a big event is to do it as cheaply as possible. Remember though, that your guests will have an expectation on quality, Try to get your venue at a special rate, and maybe even ask local caterers to donate their services or a local supermarket to donate food and drink. On top of your entry price, you can lay on lots of other entertainment to bring in the pounds, for example, raffles, dancing competitions or even casino tables Or a golf day at your local golf club or a summer barbecue or a garden party or a fashion show or a concert or a pantomime or a murder mystery night or a disco or a treasure hunt or a talent show or a barn dance or a car boot sale or a casino evening or a speed-dating evening

4 Tip the balance So you ve got people to your event (success!) but don t forget the little things you can do to make that extra pound. Here are our favourite ways to boost fundraising income from your event: Collect loose change in buckets, not tins Get guests to empty their pockets as they leave your event Fine people for not participating or donating enough Pass around a pint glass to be filled with pound coins Produce a souvenir programme Auction off all unclaimed prizes Hire a photographer to take and sell photos of your guests Make some noise about your event! So your plans are in place for what could be the best fundraising event ever but that might not be true, if your event is not promoted enough. Mencap can help you promote it in local newspapers or radio stations in addition to your own promotional efforts. Consider PR Press coverage can be very important to your event success. Be prepared when you contact a producer, editor or journalist, they will expect you to have all the information they ll need, for example, who you are, what you are doing, when it is happening, where it is happening, why you are doing it Think local when you tell the local media about your fundraising, always emphasise that the money you raise will support Mencap s work in your region Be different make your event stand out. If it s the same as everyone else s you re less likely to keep the media interested Be passionate the media are more likely to listen to you if you are excited about what you are doing

5 Promotional materials Striking and informative promotional materials will help people recall your event. What materials will you need and will they be used? Are there suitable places to display your promotional materials in your event area? Who will help you to distribute or display promotional materials? Where are you likely to reach the most people? What next? Please visit The fundraising pages on our website have loads of information, ideas and other materials to help you while you raise money for us. Specific resources are available at including: Free sample letters for you to use when approaching companies or individuals as well as thank you letters Free Mencap-branded sample invitations and events posters Free sample press releases and other promotional marketing materials (including Mencap s logo) Links to useful blogging websites and other sites including Justgiving

6 Making sure your event is safe and legal! Thank you for choosing to hold a fundraising event in aid of Mencap. The funds you raise will help us to continue our work as the UK s leading, learning disability charity. We are always on hand to offer event advice, should you need us, but Mencap cannot accept responsibility for your event, or event participants. Making sure your event is safe and legal are important considerations. Please see below for the key points to consider. Events Conduct an event risk assessment learn more at Do you need event insurance? Are participants fully briefed about the event? A full briefing could include outlining any risks, fitness requirements, special equipment or clothing required and standards of behaviour expected. Do you have proper and adequate event supervision for both adults AND children? Where children are included this includes parental/guardian s permission, carrying out background checks if adults are to have unsupervised access to children. Do you need special event licences? For example public entertainment or a licence to sell alcohol. Raffles and lotteries There are strict and complex laws relating to raffles and lotteries. These are governed by The Lotteries and Amusements Act 1976 (as amended). Contact Mencap for more information or visit the Gambling Commission website at Fundraising materials and publicity All of your fundraising should make it clear that you are fundraising in aid of Mencap but that you do not represent the charity. We can supply posters and an in aid of logo to help you generate interest in your fundraising activity/event.

7 Collecting funds You need a licence from your local authority to collect funds in a public place or door to door. Without a licence collecting funds in this way is illegal. Further rules govern collection buckets. Please contact us directly for further information and guidance on collecting funds. Remember to ask people to Gift Aid! Gift aid can be claimed on donations made by cheque, cash, credit card, bank credit, and foreign currency. The gift aid scheme means Mencap can claim an extra 28p from the government for every 1 donated by a UK taxpayer, provided they tick the gift aid box and declare their address and postcode. It really is that simple. Mencap can supply you with as many gift aid forms as you need! Transfer of funds All funds collected in aid of Mencap should be sent to the charity within one month of collection. Expenses must not be deducted from the sums collected unless you have approved this with us and provided us with a receipt. For further information please contact your local Mencap fundraising office, address details can be found on our website

8 More fundraising ideas, tips hints and resources (including sponsorship forms and collection tins) are available directly from Mencap s fundraising teams. Contact your regional Mencap office for more information. Mencap 123 Golden Lane London EC1Y 0RT Telephone: Mencap Midlands 4 Swan Courtyard Coventry Road Birmingham B26 1BU Telephone: Mencap North west Ford Street Stockport SK30BT Telephone: Mencap North east Marquis Court Team Valley Gateshead Tyne and Wear NE11 0RU Telephone: Mencap Northern Ireland Segal House 4 Annadale Avenue Belfast BT7 3JH Telephone: Mencap Wales 31 Lambourne Crescent Cardiff Business Park Llanishen Cardiff CF14 5GF Telephone: Registered charity number /09

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