Guest Blog: Planning a Fundraising Event by Jason Osborne

/Guest Blog: Planning a Fundraising Event by Jason Osborne

Guest Blog: Planning a Fundraising Event by Jason Osborne

Planning a charity event doesn’t have to be difficult –

GBSS supporter Jason Osborne has done it and will tell you how…

First Steps

You’ve decided to help those involved with the Group B Strep Support charity by raising much needed funds and awareness of the infection so it is highly likely that you or someone close to you has been deeply affected by Group B Strep .

Type of Event

The planning of your event will very much be dictated by the type and size of the event that you have chosen to host.  All events have some things in common though including the need for careful advertisement and to be done in such a way where people will feel like they want to attend.

Setting a date and venue

The selected date and venue of your event really can be the difference between success and failure.  You will need to make sure that you are aware of any key events in your local community such as other major fundraising activities, large weddings or other family based events.

What are the key objectives of the event?

  1. What is the main purpose of the event? – is it to raise awareness of Group B Strep i.e. the more people in attendance the better or is it to raise funds for the charity.
  2. What will be the measurement of success? – After the event, how will you judge whether your efforts were a success? – is it the attendance, the money raised, the fact that others are aware of something so important but not commonly known about?

Initial Planning

The event can usually be divided up into sections such as Entertainment, Refreshments, Advertising, Raffle and/or Auction, Bucket Collections, Awareness etc.  You will probably need an event team– usually people will feel honoured to be selected to be an integral part of your big day.

If you are hosting your event at a local establishment like a members club or community centre it would be highly advisable to ensure a steward and a committee member are part of the event team as it would having any DJ/compere, those in charge of a BBQ etc.

Now you have your ‘team’ you can set your event date as you’ll need to ensure that your ‘team’ can attend.  At this point discuss your proposed event with the team at Group B Strep Support – they will be able to offer you further guidance.

Regular Catch-ups

If you haven’t already worked it out by now, your event is turning into a project but that shouldn’t scare you off!  Good and effective communication is vital! Regular planned meet ups with your ‘event team’ are key.  Always ensure that you leave the catch-up with an agreed plan between then and the next catch-up.

The main event

Your event will by now have some sort of agenda to it. This will give you a basis to think about what your event promotions will entail and you will be able to design any event material as necessary.

Remember that after the event, it will be necessary to publicise what happened therefore you will need to have someone who agrees to the photography.

General outlay

You’ll need to give consideration of what needs to be purchased prior to the event to make it happen and how they will be funded – whilst many people will offer their services for free given that they get excellent advertisement some will not. You will also need to think about other things like food costs, the hire of the venue and other associated expenditure.

Advertising and promoting your event

The reality of the modern world is that everyone is busy, everyone’s time is precious.  The promotion of your event may well be the single biggest reason for the success or failure of your day.

  1. Social Media – the reach of designated Facebook, Twitter, Instagram accounts can be vast and is any easy way to keep your event in the minds of your potential audience
  2. Venue – your event will probably be one of a number of events being hosted at the venue – take advantage of those attending events prior to yours
  3. Local – Posters, fliers – most shops, cafes etc. are most obliging to help you advertise your event – keep your event in the minds of those in the area
  4. Local Radio – many local stations will regularly refer to your event free of charge
  5. Local Papers – use this opportunity to tell your story….

Consider your event having its very own personal webpage but only do if you can regularly maintain the site.

Ask for your local newspaper to send a reporter and photographer on the day of your event.  And of course, Group B Strep Support might be able to help there too.

The middle period

So the groundwork is done, your actively advertising your event and no doubt getting some feedback and hopefully a general good vibe that all will be OK.  Ensure the major entertainments are booked on the right day and your key personnel still plan on being there.  If it is an outside event is there a contingency for bad weather?  Are there any insurances that need to be paid? An example being a bouncy castle, does your nominated chef for your BBQ have the relevant current food hygiene qualifications?  What if they are ill on the day?  Do you require items like gazebos?  Where are they going to come from?  Do these types of items need to be purchased?

The Raffle

Most events will involve a raffle, this is because it is one of the major revenue sources.

To sell tickets you’ll need decent prizes…

In terms of obtaining the prizes, this is where you need to develop a thick skin – you may choose to contact many local attractions or amenities about the possibility of contributing towards your day.

If you start getting lots of small value items donated like boxes of chocolate, cheap wine etc. it may be better to consider turning them into hampers.  As the prizes start to come in, it’s a good idea to say thank you using social media – this has the added benefit of keeping the event in the minds of the community.

If you are lucky to have a highly attended event, the sale-on-the-day tickets can become problematic as it can become very difficult to keep up with demand – this is where it becomes important to have the correct pricing of the ticket and a well organised ticket sale area – my advice is to have one or more of your event team specifically in place for that purpose.

If possible task someone with updating a spreadsheet with the winning ticket number and colour if using multi coloured tickets and allocate against the prize.


You may find that some of the items you acquire for you raffle would suit an auction.  Typical examples being signed football shirts, golf days etc. Make sure they are clearly identified as being part of the auction and not the raffle.

The auctioneer must be identified before the event and it’s a good idea to promote your auction items on social media beforehand- more publicity for the event as a whole.

The week before the event

I suggest booking at least 2 or 3 days off work prior to the event – it will reduce your stress levels enormously.  Keep an eye on the weather forecast but don’t get obsessed. Get everyone together for one final meet-up and make sure there is a contingency if for any reason one of the event team cannot attend.  Just get confirmation from any entertainment of what time they will be arriving to setup and if necessary inform the venue. Little details like that need to be checked in order to avoid stress on the big day.

Ramp up the social media – get everyone you know to help share, retweet, and put posters up at their workplace anything really….

Go to the venue – get a mental picture in your head about where everything will go, identify the power sources.  Who is going to need them?

You will be feeling quietly confident by this stage.

The day before the event

If you get the agreement of those associated with the venue, do anything you can the day before such as putting up gazebos, bunting, GBS posters, blowing up balloons etc. – it all saves time.

Relax…. Early night!

The day of the event

You’ve planned and worked tirelessly for this day so keep telling yourself it’s your event and do all you can to enjoy it! Get to the venue well before the start time and try not to worry!

Good luck!  – But you won’t need it after all the planning and time you have put in.

And finally, feel proud!  You and your team have done an excellent job.