Since I started my business – TaylorCare Recruitment 18months ago I have hosted 2 major charity events for the two charities our business has chosen to partner with – RUOK & A21 Campaign which has been a huge success and big learning curve too.
When I started TaylorCare Recruitment I wanted an to have Corporate Social Responsibility approach to our business where we help and create awareness for our chosen charities by hosting annual events. At first I thought how hard can his be? I love party planning and knowing I’m doing it for charity made it feel all the more worthwhile. After being involved in every area of hosting these events I have learnt many things & thought of some tips which will be helpful for people thinking of doing the same in their business in the future.
Have a detailed plan and checklist: I start any of my events with a spreadsheet outlining all the things that need to be done and break it down in order of how big or small the task is and prioritise what needs to be booked in straight away and what can wait. Another thing I always do first of all is sitting with a few friends or staff who are willing to volunteer for the event and brainstorm ideas. This is vital is coming up with ideas outside the box and get a rounded view of opinions to make it a successful event. As the manager always be prepared to lead and have the final say on what happens but always be open to suggestions of others around you.
Don’t expect volunteers to do everything while you delegate from the top: It's important to appreciate everyone’s contribution to helping you put on an event. Its also equally important that as the leader of the event you are willing to oversee everything, but ultimately be prepared to jump in and do it yourself if others don’t get the job done. I had many times where I entrusted people to do certain tasks only to find out at the last minute it wasn’t done and the person didn’t want to break the news to me. So no news is not good news with volunteers. Also, approach issues or challenges as they come up so you’re not stressed at the last minute.
Utilise volunteers in their strengths: When hosting a charity event I very quickly realised I couldn’t be wonder women and do everything perfectly. So instead I utilised friends and volunteers to help in their area of strength. One friend was great with bookkeeping, another was very creative and another worked on all the electrical and photography for the event. Together we brought the event to life all helping in our area of strength.
Raising money through tickets or donations is ultimately up to the organiser to facilitate: Each event I’ve done I’ve been responsible for promotions and marketing in order to sell tickets for my events. No matter how many friends I asked or people I know I was always surprised who let me know in advance if they could come and bought tickets and who didn’t. I tried so hard at times to sell tickets and network and it felt like I was never going to reach my goal. I utilised Social Media such as a Facebook event page, Instagram, Linked In etc to promote each event. You know what, persistence always paid off and I raised more than expected at each event. Never Give Up TRYING!
Give people at least 3 months notice in the lead up to the event: No matter how much I try and warn people in advance about one of my charity events I can never give them enough notice to put it in their diary. People are busy and have holidays, birthdays etc all planned in advance so to ensure you reach the numbers you're looking for giving people at least 3 month’s notice. Also, people have a certain budget they spend each year on charity so it's important to give people notice to plan ahead with their finances. Each event I’ve had even if people couldn’t make it they would often make a donation anyway.
Hosting a successful charity event is like a wedding but on a massive budget: Most of us plan our wedding days for 6-12months and trust me I know all about it when it was my turn. Doing a charity event was just as much work but involved everything on a massive budget. Each event I looked for the nicest but cheapest venue to hire for what I wanted. I figure the less I spend on the venue and decorations etc the more I can give the charity. So be prepared to ask businesses for discounts for charity. Ask what they can donate too as some services donated items for the event. Be prepared to make your own decorations and find the cheapest options when possible e.g collect old pasta sauce jars and turn it into a vintage vase with a ribbon on it and fresh flowers. Be thoughtful – attention to detail is important and people notice all the extra effort you put into the overall presentation.
These are some tips that have helped me along the way that I wished someone would have told me. I’m sure there are plenty more Top Tips others might have so feel free to share them with me.