Three top tips for organising a fundraising event - and how these are relevant in business

This summer our Legal and Property Research Analyst, Elizabeth, organised a charity fundraising event and so here shares her top three tips and explains how they can be relevant in business.

Cream Tea 1

Elizabeth Insley is a French and Spanish student going into her second year of study at the University of Warwick. She joined E3 as a Legal and Property Research Analyst in June 2018. She has been involved in undertaking research into the legal sector and reviewing E3’s induction process, as well as attending networking events and completing a variety of other tasks. This summer she organised a charity fundraising event and so here shares her top three tips and explains how they can be relevant in business.

This July, I organised a cream tea to raise funds for the Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity and in memory of my late grandmother. We served fresh scones, cakes, tea and coffee and there was live music from a jazz trio. The event raised an incredible £1,680 - completely smashing my target of £1,000. Organising an event was something I had never done before and I learnt a huge amount from the experience, much of which is transferable to a business context.

Organise early

I first thought of holding a fundraising event around January, six months before the event took place in July. I thought that I was getting ahead of myself as I spent Easter planning and trying to secure donations from companies, but in hindsight organisation was a big part of the event’s success.

It meant that I was able to spend time carefully designing and fine-tuning my posters and flyers, and could focus on studying for my university exams without worrying about everything else that I had to do.

Being organised is rarely a drawback, but in the context of a workplace the difference it makes can substantially impact the whole team. Not only does being organised allow more time for discussing and finessing work, but having a relaxed and ordered atmosphere is much more positive and productive for the whole team than being surrounded by a constant manic urgency.

Market and publicise effectively and realistically

Cream Tea While publicising my event, I thought a lot about my audience and how they would receive it, keeping in mind the teachings of Dale Carnegie in the classic book How to win Friends and Influence People. How something is presented is often just as important as the content itself, and this is incredibly important to remember in everyday life. Just as the design of my poster impacted people’s perceptions of the event and whether or not they planned to attend, the wording of an internal email could distort the meaning and lead to a vastly different outcome. 

I was careful to design a poster which was eye-catching, informative and captured the essence of the event itself, including images which I had watercolour-painted and scanned in. I had the posters printed professionally and the result was a high-quality, bright advertisement which had a personal touch and was effective in broadcasting the care and thought that had been put into the event. I was also proactive in using social media to make contact with local organisations, ensuring I posted at least once a week in the month leading up to the event, by giving updates or thanking various supporters. My efforts to publicise the cream tea meant that many people I didn’t know heard about it and came - which really showed how effective the poster and use of social media had been.

Prepare for everything

On the day of the cream tea itself we had assumed that nobody was going to arrive until 2pm at the earliest, despite having advertised that it started at 1pm. We therefore presumed that we had an extra hour to prepare and were subsequently surprised when 1 o’clock arrived and people started flooding in.  Cream Tea

At that point we didn’t yet have any milk for the tea, my untried plan for serving tables was suddenly put to the test and amidst this our working area was cluttered with empty boxes. The first half-hour was a steep learning curve and could have had a very different outcome, and I berated myself for having made an assumption and ignoring the starting time which I had advertised.

In work as in life in general, nobody can ever know what is around the corner and plans can quickly become disrupted by a simple change in circumstances. Being aware of these potential changes means that you can be prepared for them and that you won’t end up relying on luck for everything to work out.

Organising a fundraising event was more work than I initially realised, but it was worth the time and effort to have raised so much money for the hospice in memory of my lovely grandmother. The tips I have explored here are only a small insight into my learning from the experience, and I continue to be surprised at how the skills which I developed are present in everyday life.

I also notice on a daily basis how these skills are essential in my role at E3, such as when reviewing documents, and how important it is to realise that no area of your life exists in isolation. Although the principle aim of the event was to fundraise for a cause close to my heart, I in no way anticipated that the impact would reach far beyond the money raised and that what I have learnt would benefit so much more than just the charity.

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