Organise a successful corporate fundraising event
Corporate giving is a popular way to engage with the community and raise your company’s profile in one philanthropic fell swoop – but fundraising needs to stay innovative if staff are going to stay interested time and again.
Rather than expecting a workforce to sponsor yet another abseil/dress-down day/bake-off, organise an event that offers something more tangible to the entire company. Charge a nominal fee for participation, and donate the profits to whichever cause you’re partnering with.
Your event could be a sporting tournament – try ping pong if your employees aren’t all athletes – or perhaps something more glamorous and sociable. If your employees are fairly affluent you could try a charity auction. Look to the season or current affairs for inspiration, but remember that you’ll need to allow a good three or four months of planning before the event takes place.
If you’ve the budget to hire an event organiser, or you already hire one as part of your CSR activities, so much the better. If the DIY approach is necessary, follow this advice for a relatively painless experience.
Give yourself plenty of time
Organising an event at the last minute is guaranteed to be fraught with stress and conflict. It’s likely to end up costing more than it would do with plenty of planning and time to negotiate deals. Fewer people will be able to attend, since more of them are likely to have prior engagements in the calendar; some will need to arrange childcare, and a few may just not like doing things at the last minute.
Also remember that – unless a dedicated planner is working on this – there will be many other demands on you (or whomever you assign) during the planning period, so the number of hours available to work on this will be limited. So give your event organiser – whoever that is – plenty of time to get this right and to make sure everyone knows about it.
Work with the charity in question
Although it’s always nice to be surprised with a big wad of cash, companies are better off contacting whichever cause or charity they intend to fundraise for before starting the planning process. There may be policies to follow, and what’s more the charity may be keen to undertake mutual publicity. They can provide the most up-to-date branding and marketing materials, and may even want to put together a team of their own to compete in your Ping-Pong tournament, or send a bevy of representatives to your gala.
Spread the word relentlessly
Organising a party and not telling anybody about it is an enormous waste of effort, and is likely to leave the organiser feeling humiliated. Market your charity event relentlessly, from the moment the active organisation phase begins. The more people know about it, the greater your pool of potential participants. You’ll be far more likely to receive offers of help, attention, press coverage and so forth if you put up posters, adapt email signatures, send out press releases, call your PR contacts – everything you can think of to get people interested in this event – than if you rely on a few emails and office word-of-mouth.