Are you thinking of organising your own event? Looking for inspiration, advice and want to do everything possible to make sure it’s a success? Then read on to find out our top tips. When you are ready, click below to register your event with us.

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Fundraising shouldn’t be a chore but it does require some early planning and organisation to make it easier. Whether you are organising your own quiz night, golf day, ball or zumbathon, we’d love to hear about your event. And if you’re setting yourself a personal challenge or celebrating a special occasion such as a birthday or anniversary, our charity team are here to support you.

Our top tips section below is intended to give you some helpful advice and links to other external websites for information but do get in touch with our charity team if you have any questions not answered here.

An easy way to track your sponsorship online is by setting up a JustGiving page. You can also link it to Strava if you are planning a running, cycling or walking event.

Planning your own event

What’s your budget?
It’s tempting to just get on with organising your event, but when you are raising money for charity it’s important to keep your costs as low as possible to ensure as many pennies in the pound as possible are donated to the charity. Roughly speaking, plan on raising three times the amount you spend.

Work out a simple budget at the very start of your planning. Include all the costs you expect to incur (promotion, equipment, etc) and estimate how much money will come in (tickets, sponsorship, etc). Can you reduce your costs? Perhaps through donated goods and volunteer help? Perhaps local companies may be interested in sponsoring your event or be willing to donate raffle prizes? Work out what your break even point is to cover costs e.g. how many tickets will you have to sell to cover your costs? How many people do you need to attend your event? How many tickets will you need to make a profit or hit your fundraising target? Can you raise further money at your event with raffles, bingo, heads and tails etc or could you ask people to make pledges at your event? It’ll be much easier to keep track of your event if you record money received and money spent as you go along and it’ll be easier to ensure that you know who to thank after the event.

Try to think of all possible scenarios, and you’ll be ready to enjoy your event, whatever happens.

Is the venue suitable?
If you’d like to sell alcohol or have live music, make sure the venue has the necessary licences. Also think about parking and whether the venue has all the amenities you need eg toilets, disabled access etc. By organising your own fundraising event in aid of Colchester & Ipswich Hospitals Charity, you are responsible for taking adequate steps to make sure that the event poses no risk to others. Check that any buildings or equipment that you hire are covered. Insurance is often included in the hire fee but not always.

What equipment do you need?
Write a list so you don’t forget anything.

How many helpers do you need?
Remember to ask them in plenty of time.

Do you have a contingency plan?
Especially when it’s an outside event. What if it rains? Do you have a plan B? Are there extra resources or emergency cash available on the day? Don’t be afraid of cancelling or postponing an event if necessary.

Think about health & safety
Always follow the professional advice of equipment manufacturers and staff supervising any facilities. You will be responsible for carrying out a risk assessment for your event to find, reduce and control the risk to all those taking part and members of the public who may be attending.  Colchester & Ipswich Hospitals Charity cannot accept liability for any loss, damage or injury suffered by yourself or anyone else as a result of taking part in a fundraising event organised in aid of Colchester & Ipswich Hospitals Charity. Some useful information on organising your own event can be found at the Institute of Fundraising and advice on completing your own risk assessment can be found at the Health and Safety Executive.

Are you serving food?
Food hygiene is vitally important. If you are serving any food at your event please take great care when handling food and work to basic rules for safe preparation, storage, display and cooking.  The Food Standards Agency provide further information which can be found here. Additional information can be found on the NHS Choices website and further advice is available from your local authority.  You will also be responsible for ensuring that any catering supplier you use abides by the Food Standards regulations and has their own Food Safety Certificate etc.

Are you selling alcohol or organising an event that needs a licence?
If your event involves the sale of alcohol and/or live or recorded music, dancing, showing of a film or performance of a play, an indoor sporting event (including a boxing or wrestling match), or any entertainment of a similar nature, you may need a licence. Speak with your local authority, the police and other relevant parties as necessary.

Looking after people’s personal information.
Make sure any electronic or paper record you keep about people involved in your fundraising event complies with the Data Protection Act. Don’t keep information about people any longer than you have to, and don’t share information or data about someone without their permission. More information can be found at the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Arranging public liability insurance
You may need to consider arranging public liability cover for some events, which will protect you against claims made by third parties for injury or property damage as a result of negligence. In most cases, for public and/or hazardous events, you may need public liability cover in place. For private events this may not be necessary. Please seek advice if you are unsure.

Are you holding a public or private collection?
Public collections take place in a public space and are governed by strict legal requirements and must be licensed by the Local Authority. Before you approach your local authority for a license, please contact us for advice and support. You will also need to obtain permission from the owner, landlord or manager if you would like to collect on private property e.g. a pub or shopping centre. It is not permitted to make door to door collections without a licence and we would always discourage this type of fundraising. Only over 16’s may collect money. Some popular premises for public collections, such as supermarkets, train stations, etc. may also require you to arrange public liability insurance. It’s worth checking with your contact beforehand. Colchester & Ipswich Hospitals Charity has a small stock of buckets, collecting tins and security seals that should be used if you are collecting money for us. Please return these to us after the collection.

Private collections take place on private premises and do not need the permission of the local authority. If you’re organising a private collection you only need the permission of the owner of the premises.

Are you holding a raffle or prize draw?
There are strict legal requirements about the organisation of raffles, lotteries and prize draws. If you are holding a raffle on the same day as the tickets are sold and drawn you won’t need a licence. If the tickets are sold before the day of the draw then you will need to obtain a lottery licence from your local authority. Tickets cannot be bought by people under 16. You won’t need a licence if you are organising a private lottery at work or a club as long as it takes place on the premises and the tickets are only sold to members or employees. Call the charity office on 0300 770 1369 for more information and advice. We’ll be able to help you make sure you’ve thought of everything. More information about these rules can be found at the Gambling Commission.

Promoting your event and making your own posters

  • Make your event stand out from the crowd with all the promotional materials and merchandise you need. Striking posters and flyers are one of the best ways of getting noticed. Think about who is likely to attend your event and where they are likely to see your poster. We can help you create them or send you templates to make your own here. We can also send you our logo in different formats to make sure everyone knows that you are raising money for us.
  • If you need any extra items for your event like T-shirts they can be purchased here.
  • Shout about it. Don’t keep your event to yourself. Tell as many people as possible about your plans. Get in touch with your friends, colleagues, the press and your local community.
  • Spread the word on social media. We are happy for you to post your events (don't forget to tag us) and we can share your events for you on our Facebook , Twitter , LinkedIn and Instagram pages. You can use social media to keep people posted, share photos and videos of your progress and generally boost the excitement about your event.

Facebook @colchesteripswichhospitalscharity

Twitter @cihospcharity

Instagram @cihospitalcharity 

  • We can also promote your event on our website
  • Our local media are very supportive when it comes to talking about charitable events. Contact the newsdesk at your local newspaper or try to get the local radio and television stations interested in your event. You could also invite the local press to attend your event on the day if appropriate – send an invitation at least two weeks in advance. Include an invite for one of their photographers to come along too.
  • Send a brief description of your event to local online what’s on websites
  • Not sure where to start? We may be able to help you write something appropriate to send to the press – contact us for advice 0300 770 1369.
  • Don’t forget your email contacts and internal websites, newsletters or noticeboards where you work or at the gym. Your friends, colleagues and employers will often be keen to hear your news, see pictures and follow your progress.

Good luck and here’s wishing you lots of great coverage for your event.

On the day

  • Write a checklist of all the things you need to do so you don’t forget anything.
  • Double check your equipment, brief your volunteers and arrange some refreshments.
  • Decorate the event venue with Colchester & Ipswich Hospitals Charity posters and balloons and display any merchandise you have. Remember: merchandise should only be offered in return for a donation rather than sold for a fixed price, but you can suggest a minimum donation.
  • Colchester & Ipswich Hospitals Charity has a small stock of collecting pots, buckets and generic banners which may available for you to borrow for your event and return afterwards.  Please book these items by contacting us.
  • Be careful about photography. Ask people if they mind appearing in a photograph before one is taken and if children are to be in the photograph, ensure that you have parental consent and permission to use the material after the event.

After the event

  • If possible, announce the amount raised from the event, reminding everyone why the money is being raised and say a big ‘Thank you’. Don’t forget to thank everyone who helped out on the day.
  • We always suggest that money is counted in the presence of at least two people and it is banked immediately after the event.
  • You can pay in the monies raised either online or visit our donate page for other methods, if you have already set up a JustGiving page the funds will be sent to us directly.
  • Don’t forget to send us any sponsorship or Gift Aid forms.

Whichever way you choose, we will send you a ‘Thank you’ by email or in the post.

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