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10 tips on achieving a smooth running fundraising event

Howard Lake | 23 February 2015 | Blogs

Natasha Thakkar of iBid Events offers advice on how key elements that help make a fundraising event successful.
Do any fundraising events run smoothly? We know that live events inevitably involve a hug amount of organisation and there are always last minute stresses. Yet a combination of effective planning and some simple procedures can ensure that “it will be alright on the night”.
It takes a certain type of person to organise an event well but, after years of working in the events industry, we have discovered there are a few key things to note to ensure your event runs as smoothly as possible. (That said, natural disasters and unruly guests can throw even the best planned event off course!).

1. Good host

A good host is crucial. This is someone who has the ability to keep the event moving naturally in a timely manner and can also deal with unforeseen circumstances with a great sense of humour.

2. An event manager who communicates and delegates

Like the host, the specific event manager behind the event plays a key role. It is easy to let the event you are planning morph into something you feel solely responsible for, and often you are. However, it is crucial to keep everyone in the picture and to delegate effectively. You will be pulled in many directions on the night, so it’s important to let other team members take some of the responsibility from you.


Why your supporters are wealthier than you think... Course by Catherine Miles. Background photo of two sides of a terraced street of houses.

3. Work with the venue

Maintain a great relationship with the venue. London venues are incredibly oversubscribed and are getting increasingly expensive but whichever venue you decide to use, in London or not, ensure that every element of the agreement is specified.
Getting the right venue in the first place can make everything so much easier for the event as a whole. It really is all about location, location, location!

4. Work with suppliers

Take their expert advice and keep in touch, provide them with a project plan so they can see the deadlines they have to meet, so any last minute panics can be avoided.

5. Loading in/out schedule for supplier

This schedule is a key document so make sure it is accurate. A smooth set-up to the event can often influence the rest of the day or night event.

6. Invite the right people

It can be easy to get carried away when creating the guest list. Understandably it’s vital to get the names down that are going to help you achieve your fundraising target but try and put yourself in their shoes to help you create the perfect fundraising guest list.

7. Remind guests why they are there

Before and during the event, it is key to remind guests gently but often why they are there. Is it to raise money or awareness, or both? They will be enjoying themselves, many will have enjoyed some drinks, so a good host should slip in as many reminders as possible as to the reason behind this enjoyment.

8. Finish formal proceeding before entertainment

Guests naturally get carried away as soon as the entertainment starts so get what you need done before you have lost everyone to drinks and music.

9. Contingency plan

It is always a good idea to have a plan B. To cater for this eventuality, ask suppliers what their plan B is if the unpredictable happens to them and set them tight deadlines for the deliverables you need to help you keep to your timelines.

10. Be flexible

Despite all the planning, sometimes things just need to take their natural course. The best events are actually the most smooth running events. Factor into the running order time for slippage to help with this. At the end of the night, if the guests have enjoyed it then so should you.
Natasha Thakkar (+44 (0)20 7524 7813) is Marketing Manager of iBid Events, the winner of the 2013 and 2014 Institute of Fundraising, Best Digital / Technology Partner – Charity Facing award. They are a leader in interactive silent pledging technology and thrive on being able to help charities maximise their fundraising efforts.
Photo: pouring wine at an event by Moving Moments on Shutterstock.com