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Charity fundraising ideas: How to organise & promote a charity event

Doing your part for worthy causes is incredibly rewarding, but with so many things to consider when organising a charity event, it can be difficult to know what you need to do to ensure your fundraiser will attract people and donations. From choosing the entertainment you’ll offer to thinking about how to promote your charity event, there are plenty of things you’ll need to consider. To help you, we have created this guide to give you some great charity fundraising ideas. We’ll cover:

First things first

If you’re considering charity fundraising, it’s likely that you’ve already got a few ideas of what you’d like it to involve, whether that’s the theme, the entertainment you’ll have or what charity you want to raise money for. But, if you need a little more inspiration for the other areas, we will be sharing some helpful tips that you should be thinking about in the initial stages.

Decide on a charity

While some people might instantly know which charity they’d like to raise money for, others may feel a little overwhelmed by the sheer amount of worthwhile charities around. If you’re struggling to decide on a charity, you may want to think about the following:

What causes do you want to support?

The simplest way to decide on the cause is to choose one that is close to your heart — perhaps you’re passionate about fighting inequality and poverty, or you are particularly interested in supporting the welfare of animals or victims of natural disasters.  If you’re hosting a charity event on behalf of a business, it might be a good idea to choose a cause that is related. For example, if you’re a dog groomer you might want to fund raise for a dog shelter.

What do the charities use the money for?

Once you’ve got a general idea of the causes you want to help, you’re bound to be greeted with an overwhelming amount of charities all working towards similar goals. Instead of just picking one at random, it’s important that you check that the ones you’re considering are legitimately registered charities. Additionally, you should take a look at how much of their total raised goes towards carrying out their purposes and how much goes towards other things such as admin — consulting the charity’s online report will explain what they’ve spent the money on and how successful they have been in their goals. It will also be worth looking at the GiveWell website which is dedicated to finding the top-rated charities.

Setting a target amount

This isn’t a necessary requirement when organising a charity event, but having a minimum amount you’d like to raise can encourage people to donate more. When attendees see a set number, they feel their donations are powerful enough to tip the balance and therefore feel more inclined to help you reach your target, according to previous research into charitable giving (Karlan and List). This has since been imitated by other fundraising platforms such as JustGiving. When you’re setting this target amount, it could be good to look at how much similar fundraisers have raised in the past.

You will also need to think of the demographics for where you’re hosting your fundraiser. How much are attendees likely to spend? How many people do you expect to turn up?

It might also be a good idea to get in touch with the charities and get benchmark figures from them. They’ll be able to tell you what is possible with certain amounts of money, such as how many vulnerable people it can support. Having a specific goal in mind can be hugely motivating.

Be realistic about what you can do

Before you go onto making big plans for your fundraiser, you’ll need to decide on how much you will spend setting up the charity event. To do this, you need to be realistic about what you can afford and ensure that what you spend will be lower than the amount you raise.

Get help with your event

It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to run your charity event on your own, so it’s important to think about what help you can get. Gathering a group of honest and passionate volunteers that can help you run your event will be a great place to start, while contacting the charity themselves and asking for any useful resources or advice can also ensure success. They might even be able to provide you with charity promotional products such as banners and leaflets.

How to plan a charity event

Once you’ve figured out what charity you want to support, decided on the target amount you want to raise and recruited volunteers, you can then begin thinking about charity event ideas. What you do is completely up to you, but the more unique your charity fundraising ideas, the better. This doesn’t mean you can’t go ahead with popular ideas such as bake sales, coffee mornings and raffles, but for them to be memorable and successful, you’ll need to add a twist.

Think about the attendees

Considering the venue and the potential attendees will be important to creating an event that will be successful. You need to ensure it’ll appeal to the relevant age demographic, for example, so it’s worth finding out what’s popular by checking trending tags on social media or asking around.

Approach local businesses

If you want to get some extra inspiration, approach local businesses to see if they would like to get involved — even if this just means advertising your fundraiser. Getting more heads together for the event planning is likely to help you generate more ideas and these local businesses may have unique fundraising ideas for you to be inspired by. There are even some businesses who will want to go the extra mile to support your fundraiser and act as sponsors for your charity event.

Look at what has already been done

Familiarise yourself with what has already been done and what events have received similar total donations that you wish to. This can help you to identify what kind of event you should hold and what you can do differently to attract more people and donations. Looking at feedback on the event’s Facebook page or blogger reviews will help you to get a greater insight into how popular the event may be. As well as organising the entertainment for your fundraiser, it’s also a good idea to offer promotional products that people can buy, as a way of gaining extra donations.

How to promote your charity event

Creating an exciting charity event that will raise money is important, but need to get the word out if you want it to be a success. First things first, identify your potential attendees and consider how to target them. For example, if you’re trying to spread word of your fundraiser to teenagers and young adults, advertising via social media will be best to grab their attention. Below, we will talk about the benefits of different methods so you can find the most suitable means of marketing your fundraising campaign and to reach your customers.

Newspapers

Newspapers can be a particularly effective way of getting your business out there for people to hear about, with many papers having designated advertising spaces. There are many local newspapers to pick from, meaning you will easily be able to target people in the area you’re hosting your event in.

If you choose to go with this means of promotion, it’s important that you realise it is a disposable form of advertising, so you really need to make an impact to ensure people stop and take in the information you’re aiming to get across. Adding colour and imagery is a sure way to help you grab people’s attention but do be aware that these adverts can be costly. 

Magazines

Magazine advertising tends to be longer-term than newspaper ads, purely due to the fact that magazines are published less frequently. The glossy appearance of magazines also makes it possible for a more attractive advertisement and, as they touch on a range of topics, you will be able to reach a specific audience. For example, if you're hosting a race for charity, you could advertise in a fitness magazine.

Leaflets

If you fear your advert getting lost among the heaps of information in newspapers or magazines, creating your own pamphlet of information can be effective in making sure everything is clear and explicit for your potential attendees. There are free templates online that can help you create a professional-looking leaflet for less. Once you’ve perfected the look, you’ll need to think how best to distribute these. Handing them out in stores, giving them to business owners to put up on noticeboards or in the window and paying someone to post them through letterboxes are all effective ways of getting your event leaflets out there.

Radio

Radio advertisements can be particularly effective in generating interest about what’s going on in certain areas, especially if you get your charity events promoted on local radio stations where the information is relevant. It’s worth getting in touch with the station to see if they’ll also give your event a free shoutout as it’s for charity.

Social media

As all of the main social media platforms are free to use, this is quick and effective to get people in the know about your charity events.

Facebook: Facebook is a great way to get word out about your charity events, with this platform holding the highest market share of all UK social networks. Whether it’s creating an event page for your fundraiser, creating a shareable status to spread the news or using sponsored posts to make your event more visible to people, there are so many ways you can attract attention to your fundraiser. If you’ve created an online fundraising page for your charity event, Facebook is a good place to share the link to these and gain more donations.

Twitter: The demographic for Twitter is younger than that of Facebook, meaning it’s a great platform to use if you’re wanting to target the teenage to mid-twenties age categories. Using hashtags can help you gather exposure for your charity event, so consider using things such as the location and charity name for these. You can organise targeted advertising through sponsored posts to get your posts to appear on more timelines, however be aware that these will cost.  

Instagram: Visual campaigns can have a big impact, especially when you share them over social media. As a visual platform, using Instagram presents you with the opportunity to showcase your charity event and the entertainment that will be on offer. Try creating a new Instagram page for your charity event and following local pages, the charity you’re supporting and people from the local area. Tagging the location and venue you’ll be fundraising in will also make it easy for people from around the area to find out about your event. Interact as much as possible through likes and comments to gain attention for your page.

LinkedIn: LinkedIn is a brilliant choice for attracting potential sponsors for your charity event, and many companies will be willing to spread the word about your charity this way, too. Sharing public posts to your connections can be an effective way of gaining sponsors, as well as company donations and maybe even attracting more volunteers. If the charity you’re raising money for has a LinkedIn page, it’s worth contacting them to get them to share your post.

YouTube: If you want to make your campaign really stand out, consider making a campaign video to share on YouTube. This can show people what your charity event is all about and also help introduce the team behind it to potential donators. To make the most of this, you can embed the link onto your own website, as well as sharing the link on your social media platforms.

Choosing branded marketing materials for your charity event

While advertising communications will be useful for getting the word out about your fundraiser, it’s also important to consider what branded marketing materials you’ll use to promote your charity event. There are a number of different ways you can do this, with creating a volunteer uniform being a particularly good way of establishing awareness for your charity events. These can be worn both during the events and when you visit venues and locations to spread the word about it. If you choose to use social media marketing for your charity, it will also help to have a uniform you can show off.

There are so many ways you can brand your uniform, with colours, logos and style to think about. And, most importantly these need to match the personality of your charity event. For example, opting for a vibrant uniform shade can make people associate your fundraiser with fun and make them want to get involved. To ensure you get the perfect outfits for your team, you might want to think about:

Colour

As mentioned above, colour is particularly important for establishing certain associations and expectations for your charity event. According to colour psychology, certain shades can evoke positive or negative feelings about a business or organisation. Below, we have shared some of the do’s and don’ts for your uniform colouring.

Colours to use

Generally, any bright, statement colour is good for your volunteers’ outfits, as these can stir up feelings of positivity, energy and joy. To help you get a good idea of which ones to choose, we have shared some of the best ones below:

  • Yellow: Yellow is an uplifting shade which effectively promotes feelings of happiness, creativity, optimism and enthusiasm to your team. This is one of the most common colours used in charity campaigns due to its association with hope.
  • Orange: The brightness of orange is similar to that of yellow and so these tend to evoke overlapping feelings including happiness and optimism. However, the red tone found in the colour makes it feel a little warmer and can also be associated with adventure, so is great if you’re running an active charity event.
  • Blue: Many different shades of blue represent trust and reliability, both of which you need people to understand when you are when taking donations from them.

Colours to avoid

There are no rules as to what colours you can and can’t use but, generally, you should avoid using the following colours in excess on your uniforms when hosting your fundraiser:

  • Black: While black can be a useful colour for asserting authority in some instances, it can be a little too dark and morbid for a charity event. Stirring up excitement around your fundraiser is the aim of the game and black tends to be part of a more basic colour palette, so you might want to steer clear of this as your primary uniform colour.
  • Grey: This tends to be a colour linked to a lack of energy, as well as making the people wearing it look passive and uninvolved. These are clearly not attributes you want your event volunteers associated with, so avoiding these as the primary uniform colour is best.

Logo

No matter how small you choose to make it, the logo of your team uniform will be an important part of easily spreading the word about your charity event. It can also ensure your whole team is recognisable and can be crucial for getting donations as you will all be identifiable as charity collectors.

While some people may prefer to simply have the charity’s logo on the uniform to ensure all of the emphasis is on the cause, it’s also great to have your own team logo to show unity and commitment towards the fundraiser. The design of this is completely up to you but a play on images or using fun twists on the way letter forms are printed are all good ways to advertise the fun and light-hearted activities you’ll include at your charity event.

Once you’ve designed your logo, you’ll need to think about the colours you want it to be. The shade you choose will need to stand out enough against the base colour of your uniform: it’s no good choosing black T-shirts and navy writing as this will be difficult for people to see.

It’s also good to ensure that your logo is versatile and will be able to be printed effectively onto a variety of promotional products.

Style

Your charity event is bound to be full of carefree fun, so your volunteers’ uniforms need to match this spirit and not be restrictive. When designing their outfits, you’ll also need to account for unpredictable weather and give them plenty of options so they can stay comfortable when helping out.

Generally, T-shirts are a good place to start and providing your volunteers with both sleeveless and long-sleeved T-shirts will ensure they’re equipped for every occasion. If your fundraiser is being run during the colder months, it’ll be smart to provide your volunteers with additional layers such as custom fleeces and hoodies — as well as ensuring they’re kept warm, this also means that when your team puts these on, they are still able to promote your charity event.

If your fundraiser will take place outside, it might be worth having extra uniform items to ensure they can be seen easily. Adding a cap to your volunteers’ outfits can make it easier for people to spot them in crowded spaces, and will also protect their heads from both cold and hot weather. We have a range of headwear that can be branded with your charity event logo to ensure your helpers stand out.

It might even be worth thinking about any charity promotional products you’ll want to sell to gain additional donations, or give away as part of the ticket package. Again, T-shirts are usually a good option as many people collect these as keepsakes, but smaller promotional products such as sweatbands and canvas bags are also popular — we have plenty of inspiration in our custom accessories range.

Holding a charity fundraiser can be extremely fun while raising money for a worthwhile cause, but with so much else going on, it’s important that you get as many people as possible to hear about your event. Although this can seem like a challenge, hopefully the tips in this guide have given you a great idea of where to start, from charity event ideas to inspiration for your fundraising promotional products.

Here at Custom Planet, we are printing and branding specialists who can help you to bring your charity event to life. We have plenty of custom clothing options for teams, as well as promotional products you can offer as souvenirs, all of which can be designed to fit in with your charity fundraising. We offer a range of printing and embroidery services, so you’re sure to find one to suit you. If you want to discuss your options, don’t hesitate to contact us today. And, don’t forget to check out the rest of our helpful guides for branding inspiration and advice to push your charity event to success.

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