Creating an Event
What is a fundraising event?
A fundraising event is any activity with the aim of raising money for charity. This might be a sponsored activity in which you collect money for challenging yourself (such as a 10k run); or a group activity, such as a bake sale, where the profits are donated; or just a simple collection bucket round your office.
It really doesn't matter what you do, there are ways to raise funds for people of all ages and abilities. Whatever you decide to do, the important thing to remember is that the money you raise for the DEC will be used towards our members' vital work helping people in the most desperate situations imaginable.
Where do I start?
Here's a quick list of the first things you might want to think about when starting to plan your event:
- Set a date
- Select a venue – think about size, facilities, transport and disabled access
- Set a realistic fundraising target
- Set a budget and stick to it – always ask for charity discounts or donations of goods
- Ask your friends and family to help
- Register your event with us and we will send you a letter of authorisation and any fundraising materials that you need
There are lots of ways that you can raise money for the DEC. Here's a few ideas to get you started...
- Set yourself a challenge and run, swim or climb to fundraise
- Get sponsored to quit your bad habits or guilty pleasures
- Get sponsored to bathe in custard, jelly or baked beans
- Get sponsored to shave your head or dye your hair a crazy colour
- Sponsored Silence - Ask family and friends to sponsor you to zip your lips for the day
- Hold a street party with food, drink and games. Have a collection and a raffle to raise funds for the DEC
- Pub Quiz - Bring out your friends’ and neighbours’ competitive sides and donate the entry fees
- Community Funrun - Get your neighbours active and raising money for a good cause
- Zumbathon - (or another type of “thon”) Ask to be sponsored by the hour and see how long you can last!
- Cocktail or Dinner Party - Invite friends over for an evening of food and drinks and ask them to donate
- Sporting Competition - Compete to become the winning team in your favourite sport and donate the competition entry fees
- Birthday or Wedding - If you have a big event coming up ask people to donate instead of giving gifts
At Work or School
- Coffee morning or Bake Sale - Bake cakes, biscuits and buns to sell for a good cause
- Dress up day - Set a theme and charge a pound to dress up
- Raffle - Sell tickets and donate the profits
- Collection Bucket - Simple but effective!
Auctions and Sales
- Sell your unwanted stuff on eBay. Set up your account with a request that all or some of what you make is donated directly to the DEC. See http://pages.ebay.co.uk/ebayforcharity/sell.html for more details.
- Auction of Promises. Rather than selling material goods, ask locals to donate their talents and time and then hold an auction with the proceeds going to the DEC.
- Arrange a fun auction, ask people to donate items to sell and donate the proceeds.
- Take some unwanted antiques to a local auction house and donate what you make.
- Car boot sale - Raise money for the DEC while giving your home a clear out.
How Do I Setup / Create an Event / Justgiving Page?
Setting up an event is easy, use the other Community Fundraising articles within the Help section and the Get Involved section of our website to help you get started.
What you need to do to set up your event will vary quite a bit depending on what you are doing but may include booking venues, ordering fundraising materials, obtaining fundraising IDs and getting hold of equipment. However what you will always need to do is register your event with the DEC and we also recommend setting up a JustGiving page to keep track of your fundraising.
Register Your Event
Please register with us even if you are just collecting money as it helps us keep track of donations. If you contact us and let us know your name, address, telephone number and email then we will send you a registration number.
There is lots to gain by getting in contact including:
- Support and advice on setting up and running your event
- Fundraising materials including T-shirts, collection buckets and collection boxes (please be aware we carry limited stock)
- Sponsorship and Gift Aid forms (you can use these to gather donations at events and allows your individual sponsors to Gift Aid their donations)
- Fundraising IDs and letters of approval for public events/collections
- Downloadable Posters and web banners for promoting your event
Set Up a JustGiving Page
Setting up an online fundraising page with Justgiving is a great way to engage and increase your supporters, makes it easy for them to donate and makes it easy for you to keep track of your running total. Creating a page is simple, follow this link to get started. How you customise your page can affect how much, and many, people donate. Below are a few tips for making a great page:
- Choose a great photo - choose a photo that will catch your supporters' attention, one with a big smile or doing something fantastic at a previous fundraising event.
- Write a good story - Explain what you are doing and why the DEC appeal is important to you. Include a summary so that your supporters will know what you are doing as soon as they open your page.
- Choose an eye catching design - choose colours and a theme which suit your personality and make your page stand out.
- Decide on a fundraising target - Let people know how much you aim to raise, remember you can't beat your target if you don't have one to start with!
- Update your supporters - post regular updates on your social media pages to let the people who have donated know how your fundraising is going and then how your event finally went.
- Be strategic - When people donate they will often look at how much the previous person donated as a guide. Maximise your income by sharing your page with your most generous friends and family first!
How can I get a Fundraising ID or Letter of Approval?
First you need to register your event preferably by creating one on JustGiving or by contacting the DEC directly so that we can send you a registration number, you can find instructions on how to do this in the above sections. Once your event has been created we can provide you with a fundraising ID.
If you have not already received one then contact us using the contact form, or if we're available you can use live chat!
Holding an event at work
If you're holding an event at work or with volunteers, you should make sure it complies with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
Preparing for your Event
How do I collect money for the appeal?
If you wish to hold a collection for the appeal the easiest way is to set up a DEC fundraising page on JustGiving. This will allow your supporters to donate electronically and you can keep track of how much is being raised. The money is then automatically sent to the DEC. If you go to http://www.dec.org.uk/fundraise-for-us and click on 'Register Now' it will take you to the JustGiving registration page. It's easy and quick to set up your own page and you can customise it to suit your event and personality
Alternatively if you are holding a collection in a public place or just don’t want to collect money online you can download a sponsorship form with extra pages here. If you ask everyone who donates to sign individually if they are eligible for Gift Aid then this will increase their donation by 25% at no cost to themselves. When you have finished collecting go to many ways to donate to find the best way of donating for you.
Do you have any merchandise, T-shirts etc.?
Yes we do, we have T-shirts, flat-pack collection boxes, collection buckets, polybox tins and wrap-around labels. We are happy to send some out or have them collected, but be aware we carried limited stock. See How do I order fundraising materials (eg posters, buckets, t-shirts)?
How do I order fundraising materials (eg posters, buckets, t-shirts)?
You can request materials using our contact form from where you can request T-shirts and collection boxes which we can send to you in the post.
We do have a limited supply so if you do not get everything that you ordered we apologise, but there often a huge response to our appeals. The more notice you can give us before your event the better. In the midst of an appeal it is possible that we may not be able to send merchandise in time for your event, but we hope that this would not prevent it going ahead.
We do have a small supply of collection buckets and T-shirts in our offices in central London if you are able to travel here, so if this suits you please contact us beforehand to arrange to pick them up.
Can I make my own Materials?
Ideally we would rather everyone uses DEC approved merchandise, however sometimes in large appeals we are so busy we may run out of stock. If you want to mock up your own please let us know by sending us a quick picture of what you've made and we'll make a record of it so it's official.
Can you send me a fundraising pack?
We're currently re-doing our fundraising pack and we'll be posting it online once its finished.
Promoting your Event
I want to contact my local press about my event
If you write a press release about your event, the best approach is to explain what you are doing while keeping it clear, simple and concise.
A few golden rules:
- Try to tell your story concisely, if possible in the first paragraph or introduction.
- Answer all important questions – why, who, what, when, where and how.
- Keep it short! Try to aim for 20-30 words per paragraph and do not use more than 2 pages.
- Write in third person
- Include quotes from one or two of the people involved
- Get the details of everyone involved including full name, age and area people are from.
- Include your own contact details
How can I promote my event?
There are loads of ways to share your event with friends, family and colleagues to get them donating. Here's some ideas...
Online and Social Media
https://twitter.com/decappeal and use @decappeal on your tweets
Using social media is one of the best ways to share your fundraising event with as many people as possible and linking to your fundraising page makes it easy for people to donate. Here's a few hints and tips:
Share on as many social media platforms as you can
Once you have set up your fundraising page share links to it as well as photos, videos and links to DEC pages on as many social media platforms as possible to reach all your friends and family. Use @decappeal and #dec on your tweets.
Write a Blog
Write a blog and update it regularly letting people know how your preparations are going, how your event or challenge goes, how much you have raised and to say thank you for all your supporters' donations.
Email those who aren't on social media
As well as sharing on social media, send emails with links and photos to reach all those who don’t use social media.
Share at school or work
Post links on workplace message boards or an article in your school/company newsletters to let everyone know what you are doing and encourage them to support you and donate. If your employer has a charitable giving page see if you can link to that.
Keep everyone updated
Keeping people updated makes sure that they stay interested and keep donating
- Post new photos and videos as often as you can
- Share your running total and include cash raised offline so everyone can see how well you are doing
- Share stories and anecdotes about your preparation
- Post personalised thank you messages to show your appreciation for donations
- Once it’s all over let everyone know how much you raised and how successful your event was
Other ways to promote your event
Posters, Flyers and Noticeboards in the local community
Make some posters and/or flyers to publicise your event and distribute them at your workplace, school, community centre or place of worship. You could also try distributing flyers or putting a message on a community noticeboard in a local cafe, shop or supermarket.
Local Newspaper or Radio
Contact your local newspaper or radio station and tell them about your event. Let them know why and what you are doing and see if they can help you to promote your event.
How to write a good fundraising story
Everyone has different reasons for fundraising and different ways of doing it. Writing and sharing your story to let people know what you are doing and why will make people feel more connected with the cause and donate more. Here are a few suggestions to help you write a great story...
Why the DEC?
Let people know why the DEC is raising money, who their donation will help and why raising funds is so urgent. Explain why the cause is important to you. Include links to the DEC website and social media pages so people can see the important work they can help to fund.
What are you doing?
Include an explanation of exactly what your challenge or event will involve and what you will need to do to succeed. Explain why you have chosen to fundraise in this way and try to include your motivations and inspirations if you can.
What does their support mean?
Let everyone know what their support will mean to you personally. Tell them how much their encouragement will mean and how important it is to you that they are involved. Take the opportunity to thank your supporters in advance and make them feel appreciated.
Where can I find social media resources for promoting the appeal?
You can use promotional banners from the following dropbox account for use in websites etc.
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/6lhsb2kagzfcyu6/AABFMcQZFHS-OJVftz8MeqSMa?dl=0. Please be aware this may not be up to date immediately after a new appeal is launched.
You can also link to our various social media pages for up to date information and news about appeals.
https://twitter.com/decappeal and use @decappeal on your tweets
Do you have any posters etc. for promoting the appeal?
We have a dropbox toolkit which contains printable posters and strips for sticking onto collection buckets. Please be aware that this may not be up to date in the early stages of an appeal.
Can I put a link on my website to direct people to yours?
You can provide a link to the DEC on your website, as long as there is nothing on it which indicates that the DEC endorses your website or anything contained in it.
Running and Completing your Event
Keeping your event safe and legal
Nearly all events run smoothly, however occasionally things go wrong and it is important to be prepared. If something does go wrong there can be serious implications so event organisers need to plan ahead, anticipate risks and take appropriate action where necessary. The Government Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recommends carrying out a five step risk assessment (see below) to look at what in your event could potentially cause harm, and whether you have done enough to prevent an accident.
You can download and print a risk assessment template, guidance and checklist directly from the HSE website using the links below.
- Identify potential hazards
- Decide who might be harmed and how
- Evaluate the risks and decide on precautions
- Make a record of your findings and necessary actions
- Review your assessment throughout planning /set up
See the Events Health and Safety Checklist and Events Legal Checklist for a list of some of the most common issues and checks to look out for.
Events Health and Safety Checklist
This is a non-exhaustive list of Health and Safety considerations when running an event. Some of these points may only be relevant if you are running a larger event. The DEC cannot take any responsibility for problems that may arise during fundraising events.
- Are fire exits, fire extinguishers and assembly points all clearly signed?
- Are fire marshals fully briefed?
- Are clear emergency procedures displayed somewhere public and prominent?
- Are any uneven/hazardous surfaces roped off or clearly marked?
- Have you done a risk assessment of hazardous areas such as hot drink service areas, traffic routes or deep water?
- Will bad weather affect the event? Have you a back up plan and a plan to reduce any resulting hazards?
- Do you need public liability insurance?
- Is there suitable access and parking for all visitors/staff?
- Are there qualified first-aiders on site and sufficient first aid supplies?
- Have you notified the local emergency services about your event?
Volunteers / Staff
- Is there a specific person in charge of the event and has this been communicated to everyone involved?
- Are all staff/volunteers familiar with site layout, key phone numbers, first-aiders, emergency procedures and risk assessments?
- Is there enough enough staff to cope in an emergency situation?
Events Legal Checklist
This is a non-exhaustive list of legal considerations when running an event. Some of these points may only be relevant if you are running a larger event. The DEC cannot take any responsibility for problems that may arise during fundraising events.
- Does the licensing authority need to approve the event?
- If collecting money do you have permission from the local authority (if collecting on the street) or private landowner (for example if collecting outside a supermarket you will need permission from the manager)
- Have you registered your event with the DEC?
- Do you need a letter of authority or fundraising ID from the DEC (request here)
- If holding a small raffle you must comply with the following:
- tickets must only be sold on same day and premises as draw
- Total value of prizes purchased for draw is no more than £250 (donated prizes can be more)
- Prizes of alcohol must only be offered in licensed premises
- All tickets the same price (no discounts).
- If holding a larger raffle you may need to contact your local authority to obtain a licence
What do I need to do after my event?
- If your local media cannot promote your fundraising before the event, send a follow up story with a photo of the event.
- If they do promote it, send a thank-you letter to say how much money was raised and thank those that took part
- Thank your supporters by email and online
- Send in your donations (see 'Paying in Money to the DEC')
Can I send photos of my event to the DEC?
Don't forget to take plenty of photos to share online and maybe even create your own hashtag, like #Sarahcakesale. Tag us on social media:
We will try to share photos of your event on our social media channels but please complete and return a photo consent form along with your photos. Download a consent form here.
Can someone from the DEC come to my event?
We'd love to come and visit all events but as we are a very small organisation based in Central London with no regional offices or any staff around the UK, we can't always make it.
We operate with a very small number of staff (in order to keep costs low), and rely on volunteers and staff co-opted from our members when an appeal is running.
We will try and get back to you soon as possible but can't promise we will have people available.
Paying Money to the DEC
Where do I send the money I've collected?
The best way to pay in money raised is to setup a JustGiving page for the DEC and make all payments there, it will also be a lot easier for friends and family to support the event. If a JustGiving page can't be set up then donations can be sent direct to the DEC, see http://www.dec.org.uk/many-ways-to-donate
Do I need to ask permission from my local council to shake a tin on the pavement?
Many pavements are owned by the local authority but not all are, for example shopping centres are usually privately owned. Some councils do want you to register with them and ask for permission before you fundraise on the street and some don’t. Often those that do want a fundraising number from you to show that you are genuinely raising money for a charity.
If your local authority needs a fundraising number then please contact us giving your full name, address, email and telephone number and we will issue you with one.
Do I need to register with you if I’m just collecting money?
It would be really helpful if you could register with us even if you are just collecting money as it helps us keep track of donations. There are often a huge number of events taking place during an appeal and its important for us to be able to confirm everyone is raising money appropriately for the Disaster.
Once you have registered you then can request materials to help you such as T-shirts and collecting boxes (see How do I order fundraising materials? article)
Also we can send you an unique identification number that can be used in all correspondence with us so it is also easier for us to acknowledge your donation when it's been received and send you a thank you letter or other certificate.
If you let us know your name and address, telephone number and email address then we can send you a registration number. Contact us here.
- Gift Aid & Sponsorship Form for Community Events