How To: Organise A Fundraising Event

Get some fundraising tips from the Heart Sussex Team behind the ‘Sound of Laughter’!

Global’s Make Some Noise is back and want you to get involved to help raise funds to help smaller charities across the UK to get heard!

There are lots of ways that you can get involved such as Dressing Loud or Baking Some Noise but why not get involved in a way that can not only help an amazing cause but also help build your CV!

By organising your own fundraising event, you can build your professionals connections, develop your skills, get your name out there AND help make a difference! The event can be an open mic night, a live music gig, a fashion show, a comedy night or whatever you can think of!

We had a chat with Heart Sussex’s Jack Hayes and Rishma Smith, who organised an amazing fundraising comedy night ‘Heart Breakfast’s Sound of Laughter’! Find out what you can learn from their experiences and put it towards your very own fundraising event!

Tell us a bit about the event you organised for Make Some Noise.

Jack: We organised a comedy night in The Hawth in Crawley with some big name acts like Stephen K. Amos, Romesh Ranganathan, Seann Walsh, Kerry Godliman and Matt Richardson! I was really lucky because my good friend is a compare and was able to connect me with these amazing comedians! I mentioned the venue to Stephen and he told me Romesh Ranganathan lives nearby and if I secured him, I could secure other acts.

Once one big name act commits, other acts will look at it and want to get involved.

What were the costs associated with the event?

Rishma: There were no costs involved as a client of ours The Hawth Theatre gave us the venue for free so the only costs we incurred was some travel, food and drinks for the comedians.

Jack: We got the theatre completely for free and we secured it early on. It helped that we were a charity but we could also offer on-air support to the venue, which outweighs hire fees. People remember when people do something for free or for a good cause!

What was the most difficult part of organising the event?

Rishma: Organising the comedians and their availability as they were giving up their time for free! We also had a bit of a nightmare as the week of the comedy show the trains were up the spout as there was a big sink hole along the line out of London. We were worried as Crawley is a commuter town that half the audience wouldn’t make it and also the comedian wouldn’t be able to get to the venue.

Jack: I’m a perfectionist. It’s a case of covering every detail. The acts we had were big name acts so they had to be treated like big name acts. You want it to be hassle free for them. Every little thing you can think of to make the acts comfortable… do it!

What was the easiest part of organising the event?

Rishma: The venue and ticket sales were the easiest part of organising this event, as the client is an advertiser of ours so they handled this and gave us the venue for free. They had their own staff that orchestrated the lighting and mostly importantly the bar!

Jack: For me, it was sitting down and watching the show! Although, I made sure I was backstage just before the interval, making sure everyone was comfortable! I wanted the acts to see me making the effort to make this as great for them as possible!

Did you find it easier or harder to get acts involved because it was for a charity event?

Rishma: It was definitely easier because it was for a good cause. Jack is friends with a lot of people and Stephen Grant helped with getting the huge acts on board.

Jack: Be up front and honest that it’s a charity event. If someone is doing it for free, it shouldn’t cost them any money. It’s about making the talent feel appreciated and them knowing you’re grateful. It’s about making the people who are helping you feel special. Do this and you can build your reputation for the next event!

Why do you think the event was so successful?

Rishma: The acts we had were of a high calibre and the venue seated over 850 people.

Jack: The acts we had involved were great and we also worked really hard! There was an incident where Seann Walsh was in London and Southern Trains were up the swanny so we had to call taxis and trains and luckily we managed to get him into the venue 35 seconds before his set!

Did you raise funds just through ticket sales or did you use other methods?

Rishma: We had ticket sales and then donations buckets at the end if people felt they wanted to donate more to the charity they could.

Jack: For an event like this, people have bought tickets, I’ve always thought you’ve done your bit. I don’t think they should be constantly asked for money. At the end of night, if they had a brilliant night and there are buckets at the back, people will donate! Don’t hammer them for money. Word of mouth is the most powerful form of advertising in the world, so if they had an amazing event they’ll tell people but if you pester them for money, they’ll tell people that too!

What advice would you give someone thinking of organising a charity event?

Rishma: I would say to get someone involved who has great connections! We had Jack and Stephen Grant who both have loads of contacts.

Jack: Pay attention to detail! Think about everything! Think of the night you want! Think about the audience you are targeting. Especially from a music perspective, you need to know who you are targeting so you know what acts to book, what language to use! No point putting on a night with Bloc Party & Bon Jovi & Katherine Jenkins. Who are you targeting then?

Want some more advice on organising a successful event, click here! Or learn about what it takes to organise an open mic night!