Organising an event
If you are going to run an event such as a Fun Day for the community, you need to be organised in advance and not leave all your arrangements and bookings to the last minute.
Here’s some tips to consider when organising an event:
Planning in advance
• Discuss what you want your event to achieve – will it raise the profile of your group? Will it bring people together? Are you aiming to raise money or just to have fun?
• Who are you hoping will come to the event? Will there be activities for a range of different people?
Getting others involved
- Put together a group of people to organise the event, with additional volunteers to help out on the day. Be clear about what you need everyone to do.
- Work together on a timetable with all the main dates on it so you know how much work there is to do and by when.
The Council and others involved may need to be told about the event. Find out who needs to be informed and let them know well in advance and it can take months for some licences to be granted.You may need to consider:
- temporary event notice.
- street collection licence.
- road closure permit.
- permission to use public land.
Put together a budget for the event. Take into account all your costs so there’s no nasty surprises along the way. For example:
- The venue.
- Hire of equipment.
- Entertainers/speakers – what will they provide and what will they expect you to provide.
- Prizes, refreshments, face paints, art materials.
- Phone bills, postage and other admin.
- First aid equipment and volunteers.
- Fees for licences and permissions.
- First aid.
- Your funder may want an evaluation of the event so make sure you understand the type of information your funder will require and ensure you collect the information as you plan and run your event.
- Take care to do what you can to avoid accidents and injuries at your event.
- Decide who will be responsible for first aid on the day. For large events, you could ask a first aid organisation to your event. Even if you are just using your own volunteers, you need to have a visible first aid point at the event and people who are taking the role of first aiders. Some of your volunteers may already have first aid training.
Letting people know about the event
- Think about the people you want at the event – where are most likely to see your publicity about the event and what will attract them to the event.
- How will the posters and leaflets be distributed? Who will do it?
- Will you be using social media? You could set up an Event on Facebook and invite people to it.
- You could also use Twitter to send out reminders about your event in the weeks and days running up to it.
- You could also try to get something in the local media, such as your local community newsletter, local paper or radio station.
- How will people get to the event? Make sure your publicity gives details of public transport and parking. Will you need to put up signs in the surrounding streets to make the event easier to find?
- If you plan to have children’s activities, be clear in your publicity whether you are providing care for unsupervised children, or whether children need to bring an adult to look after them.
- You should do what you can to ensure that people with disabilities can take part in your event. For example, if possible, choose a venue that is accessible for wheelchair users, and provide a Sign Language interpreter for speeches and performances (LCCC provides this for free).
- Put information on your publicity about how accessible your event will be, so that people will know in advance if their needs are going to be looked after.
- You could also invite people to contact you in advance if they have a particular access need, so that you can adjust your plans to make the event accessible for them.
Whatever type of event you are running, safety is the responsibly of the organisers. This includes the safety of those from the general public attending and all those involved in its organisation.It is useful to do a risk assessment to help make sure you have really thought things through. This should be done for all events whether large, small, indoors or outdoors and you need to comply with current safety standards.A risk assessment doesn’t have to be complicated – it is just about thinking about the things that might happen (the hazards), who could be hurt and things you can do to minimise the risk of them happening.Some things to consider in your risk assessment are:
- Access to your event: Possible risks could include narrow country roads making it difficult for pedestrians, vehicles and emergency services to access the event, resulting in a high possibility that a pedestrian may be hit by a vehicle.
- Your event site: The risks and hazards you are looking for range from possible risk of bacterial infection particularly for young children from animal faeces, nearby water risks from ponds, rivers and streams. Uneven ground and very steep slopes are a possible risk for those with mobility constraints. Power cables overhead and on the ground from mains are a possible risk of electrocution (balloons on string etc.).
- Equipment: Poor positioning of any hired equipment, preventing easy access for emergency services, exposed wires and cabling leading to possible risk of tripping, not enough restricted area notices, in areas such as catering facilities, gas and generators.
- Entertainment and amusements: Displays and parades involving animals, vehicles, weapons, flames, special effects, parachuting will need to be risk assessed for potential hazards. Amusements and stall operators should provide you with a safety certificate, a written risk assessment and insurance cover certification.
Disclaimer: It’s a good idea to put up a disclaimer notice in a place where people can see it such as cloakrooms or car parks, disclaiming responsibly for loss or damage to articles left there. It is not possible to disclaim liability for death or personal injury in this way.
Close to the event
- Make sure all your bookings are confirmed – the venue and your entertainers etc.
- Run through the day in detail with your core planning group.
- Where will everybody be on the day? What will each person be responsible for doing?
- Are all the jobs covered, or do you need to do a last-minute ring round to fill some gaps?
- Have you set up all the forms/paperwork that will be needed on the day e.g. forms for writing down money you take in, photo consent forms, etc.?
- How will equipment and volunteers get to and from the venue?
- Will you be able to take hired equipment directly to and from the event, or will it need to be stored?
- Who is responsible for money on the day?
- Will you need a lot of change? If so, contact your bank at least a week in advance and ask them to put some aside for you.
- What will happen if it rains?
- Do you have enough time, materials and people for setting up and clearing up?
On the day
- Photography: Do you want or need to photograph or film your event? You should put up signs informing people if they might be photographed, and you should gain signed parental consent before photographing children.
- Don’t forget to put up your Disclaimer posters.
- Record feedback from participants, stallholders and volunteers.
- Keep track of money in and out.
- Give volunteers support and encouragement, and make sure everyone gets a break.
After the Event
- If you’ve organised a fundraising event with different stalls, you might want to count takings from the different stalls separately, so that you know which activities made money and which didn’t do so well. This will help you make a more accurate budget for your next event.
- Remember to thank your volunteers and helpers, and report back to and thank funders, sponsors, etc. For example, if you are a Parent Teachers Association, you may want to let people how much your event raised for the school on the day.
- It’s always worth having a brief discussion with your group after an event is over, to talk through what went well and badly on the day, to make sure you learn from the event and make events better in the future.