Tips For Organising A Charity Endeavour
On the 3rd of September Greg embarked on a daunting cycle ride around oz to support Fr. Chris Riley’s Youth Off The Streets with the support of his partner April. Greg went from an overweight, unhappy binge drinker to a plant-based endurance athlete and motivational speaker.
Choose a charity
This is one of the first things you need to do after you’ve decided you want to run a charity event, after all you need to know who you’re riding for and why you are raising funds for them in the first place. No doubt you will choose one close to your heart or one through a network connection. Once you’ve decided, you need to approach the chosen charity to advise them of your plans to raise money for them. There may be a few procedures and forms to complete but bear in mind that the charity needs to make sure that you have the ability to cover the costs of organising and putting on the event - even though in the end the event is to raise money for them. There’s no point claiming that you know 2,000 people and you can get them all to a fundraising event when the likely hood is that only 10% of your network will actually attend…you won’t be able to cover your costs or make any money for the charity so it’s best to be realistic in your fundraising aims.
Devise a budget
This is particularly important in the beginning stages of organising your event. There are lots of things that will arise that will cost money, particularly in relation to promoting your event and physically holding your event, unless you can get these costs donated or sponsored by businesses. These things include room hire, catering, entertainment, merchandise, flyers and promotional collateral, other food during the event, celebrities or special guests etc. Once you’ve worked out your costs, you can then decide on the amount you want to fundraise for your chosen charity, which should be the goal after your event costs have been covered.
For this to be effective, I highly recommend leveraging the existing relationships that you have with local businesses or businesses that you have a past or present connection with. These are the people that already know you, like you and trust you so getting your message over the line will be much easier than going cold-faced to a business you have no relationship with. One thing to have a clear understanding of before you approach these businesses, is what value you can provide to them if they were to provide product or financial sponsorship to your event and fundraising cause. Sponsorship is not about ‘getting free stuff’ but rather about a win-win relationship for both parties that is clearly mutually beneficial. The value you can provide may include access to your social media network or your local business network or your ability to ‘promote’ their products in an engaging way such as with a product review in your blog, usage through a recipe creation posted to social media or even utilising your skill set such as being a speaker to offer to the businesses staff for a presentation focused on a topic that they would want to hear about. Think outside the box and you’ll get noticed more than the person who just seeks xx dollars for free product.
Once you have chosen your charity, set a budget, gained sponsorships to cover some (or all) of your costs, aside from preparing for the charity event logistically and working through your project management plan, you need to try and start the fundraising for your event prior to it happening and not relying on the funds coming through from entries in your event or ticket sales for the event on the day. This fundraising is a crucial to your marketing of the event as this is the place that you will direct people to visit to read more about your event and to see where the money is being donated to. You will need to set up a fundraising platform and I recommend doing this via an online platform like Everydayhero.com.au or similar. It’s really easy to set up and allows you to talk about the event and share your back story about why you’re fundraising for your chosen charity. Then you can share this platform link in all marketing collateral and social media promotion prior to the event itself. Don’t forget to get your charities logo so you can utilise this across your marketing and add credibility to your message. A tip here is also to try and leverage the relationships your chosen charity has with other businesses/supporters (who might want to be one of your sponsors) or media outlets which they have worked with in the past (so you have a common connection with the media outlet when you approach for about publicity of your event).
Marketing and Publicity
Marketing your event includes many different mediums from social media to press, radio, TV, publications, networking through business chambers and existing relationships as well as through physical outlets like your sponsors stores/shops and their own social media. There is so much you can do here and you just need to remember to plan out what you’re going to do in relation to the lead time these mediums need for relevance to their audience. For example there is no point approaching producers of TV shows until 2 weeks out from your event as they have a million story pitches they receive and are likely to schedule these in as they happen. Magazine publications are a little further out - about 3-4 weeks - whereas press and radio operate only 1 week out. Social media is where you can drum up awareness a lot further out so by the time press, radio and TV are made aware of your event there is already a good following on social media to add credibility to your event. A tip for social media posts is to be consistent with your photography and videos as well as your images. Make sure they look professional and are lit correctly so they are appealing and engaging to your audience. You could also run competitions in the lead up to your event to drum up extra awareness. You should also leverage whoever else you know on social media with big followings to engage with your event by tagging them in posts that are relevant.
For press, radio and TV mediums, one of the biggest tips here is to tailor your story pitch to the specific person/network/program you are engaging and to also pitch a story angle that is relevant to what is happening in society or the news at the time. It may be hard but the reality is that pitching a charity event has been done before and because there are so many worthy charities out there, the media often can’t promote any of them over another. So try to think of an angle that is engaging and particularly with your email heading, make it eye catching and out there so your email gets read the first time. In most cases, your email will be deleted so you need to get the persons attention immediately. Also don’t be afraid to follow up 3 or 4 times and to tag these people on social media so they know who you are and what you’re doing. It really is a game but a game worth pursuing to help your ultimate cause with regional or national coverage.
Event Website - www.gregmcdermott.com.au
Fundraising Website - https://ridearoundoz.everydayhero.com/au/ride-around-oz-2016
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