Putting on an event

The Eva B Foundation has run a few fund-raising events and picked up some tips from people working in the events industry. None of us are professionals and can take no responsibility for the following information for your event. Please check that all the websites we signpost to are up to date and check your local council’s guidelines.
However we hope you feel inspired to run events in your area. If you want to run an event in Berkshire and have skills to share, please contact us and we will do our best to support you. If you want to help us in running one of our events, even better! We try to share the money raised between different Mental Health charities but if you have a preferred MH charity we are open to suggestions.

Ideas for fund-raising

Basically, do whatever you and your friends enjoy doing. In business, a ‘scoping’ exercise is often done-this means asking what sort of things people like, what is the best time of day/of the week/of the year, what they would be prepared to pay, how far they would be prepared to travel etc If people have children and have trouble finding babysitters, organise a family event-you get the idea.

Another important issue is your basic outlay-if you can get a hall for free (churches are often sympathetic to good causes) and, for example, bands to play for free, any money you make is a profit, you just have to give your time. If, on the other hand, there is an initial outlay for rooms/music/food etc and then you find a clash with another event, poor weather etc all your hard work can be for very little profit.

However if you get a professional venue, they should be covered for public liability insurance, fire safety, have a suitable first aid kit plus trained first aiders amongst the staff. They will also probably know good door staff for security. If you don’t book a professional venue you must check the Health and Safety Executive website.

If your event is principally about awareness raising and supporting a community, be prepared to end up out of pocket financially but look at the other benefits.

Anyway here is a list of suggestions, depending on your person power, interests and finances. We would love to hear your ideas and especially your success stories!

Raffles - Many shops and organisations will offer prizes. For a licence go to: http://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/licensing_authorities/information_about_licensing_au/permits.aspx#prize

Incidental non-commercial lotteries - These are held at non-commercial events, such as school fetes etc. All the sales and the draw must take place during the main event, which may last more than a single day. Prizes cannot total more than £500.
You may be surprised which companies/shops will give you stuff for the raffle if you go in and explain what you’re doing. Remember to get tickets printed or buy tickets if you are just running a non-commercial lottery on the day. Make sure you have tables for displays and sales of tickets, a secure way of keeping money from sales and enough helpers!

Auction - This can be an auction of items and/or promises. If taking in items like unwanted gifts (just after Christmas is a good time to ask) you will need storage space and a hall for the auction. Most people have a skill they can offer e.g. ironing, gardening. One group offered dinner dates (meals donated) with single people in the auction and raised a lot of money!

Band nights - Many up and coming bands want to be heard outside their area so approach the bands you like and just ask! Be prepared to pay petrol money if you can.

Summer and winter fetes - a time honoured tradition!

Quiz night

Carol singing

Football tournament (or any other sport-charge an entry fee and sell snacks and drinks!)

Garden party – we are having a strawberry and scones party with beauty treatments offered free by local therapists for a small fee.

Karaoke evening or talent competition

Dinners - with famous guest speakers!

Swap shop – Get people to bring clothes/accessories they don’t want and make a donation for anything taken on the night.

Employers’ contributions – It may be worth asking your employer if they will match any fund raising you do-there is tax relief for charitable giving.

Sponsored anything! – Sky dives, trike rides, head shaves etc etc.

Pot luck supper – (everyone brings some food to share) or a house party (bring a drink) and charge a few pounds to come in!

Just Giving – Use this online site for donations.

Disco/club music night – Find a kind DJ who supports your cause!

Grow plants from seeds and sell them.

Have a poetry/acoustic evening.

Offer your cooking/gardening/bike-mending skills for a fee!

Sale of your art/crafts/cakes etc

Car boot /e-bay sales.

Making a collection – Collectors must be over 16-if collecting in places like supermarkets you need the manager’s written permission but if you collect (or busk) in the street, you need a local authority licence from the local council which can take a few months.

For further information on fund-raising, look at the following:

For best practice in running fund-raising events:

Dept for Culture Media and Sport website.
Search for temporary event licence for alcohol at events and send to the council of the town where the event is being held http://www.culture.gov.uk

The Licensing Act 2003 (“the Act”) introduced a light touch system of permitted temporary activities to replace the old occasional licences and occasional permissions previously granted in connection with short-term alcohol and public entertainment licensing.

The system involves an event organiser (the “premises user”) giving a temporary event notice (TEN) to the licensing authority and copying this to the police.
NB: the temporary event notice form is available separately.

TENs can be used to authorise relatively small-scale ad hoc events held in or on any premises involving no more than 499 people at any one time. The premises user must, no later than 10 working days before the day on which the event is to start, give duplicate copies of the notice to the relevant licensing authority, together with the fee of £21. A copy of the notice must also be given to the relevant chief officer of police no later than 10 working days before the day on which the event is to start. Anyone aged 18 or over can give a maximum of five TENs per calendar year. Personal licence holders can give a maximum of fifty TENs per calendar year. TENs are subject to other maximum limits, as set out below.
Each event covered by a TEN can last up to 96 hours and no more than twelve TENs can be given in respect of any particular premises in any  calendar year, subject to a maximum aggregate duration of the periods covered by TENs at any individual premises of 15 days in any year. There must be a minimum of 24 hours between events notified by a premises user or associates of that premises user in respect of the same premises.
Provided that the criteria set out above are met, only the police may intervene to prevent an event covered by a TEN notice taking place or agree a modification of the arrangements for such an event and then only on crime prevention grounds.

This has really useful essential information like checking your fire exits are clear and doing a risk assessment before the event.
The Health and Safety Executive event guide for music events:

Example : an evening of bands

(Please note-the fundraising and HSE sites above supercede anything we may write and remember we are not experts!)

Before the event

Friends-make sure you have enough people power! Allow for setting up, selling tickets and tidying up afterwards! If the venue you have chosen does not have an alcohol licence and you wish to sell alcohol, you must apply for a temporary events notice at least ten working days before the event.

Venue (and the date)

First thing you will have to secure is a venue – find out what night you would like to have it on – a Friday or Saturday is best but  some places are reluctant to let you have these  as Fridays and Saturdays are their busiest nights and they can make a lot of money from the bar and entry fees. A Bank Holiday Sunday may be a good choice for a late night as most people don’t have to get up on the Monday! Try to get organised a few months in advance to allow for publicity (and hiccups!)

Check for licences and insurance as discussed

Ask your local council if you’re not sure.

Bands / DJs

If you want to get bands involved, then speak to them directly. Most have some form of contact information on their Myspace, and if you are going for bigger bands (those with managers and actual record deals) then you may have to speak to their agent, but this information should also be provided on their website or on their Myspace. If they do have all the wonders of a record deal, then they may charge a performance fee. Many bands bring friends so be clear with your bands about how many friends/guests they can bring in free. If you have a smaller venue with a small fire limit this will be more of a problem than a larger venue, where friends often contribute by buying raffle tickets/food etc even if they don’t pay to get in.

If they do play for free then it might be worth getting them the odd few freebies – just like, a couple of beers or something as a thank you.

All bands must provide their own backline – if you have more than one band playing, please note that there is a limited stage and storage space at most venues  so you may want to advise them sharing equipment – you can let them contact each other. The idea is, most bands don’t mind sharing their main drum kit as long as the next drum brings his own breakables (cymbals and snare – as these are usually hit the hardest and most expensive to replace) Some bands will also share cabs although may want to change the heads as people have different preferences. The best thing to do is to suggest it to them and explain that there is a limited space for storage and you cannot be held responsible (neither can the venue) for lost equipment (therefore they don’t leave it, run off and get drunk!)

Bands might also want to know where to park. Load in should be early – late afternoon depending on what the venue normally do with band nights. Sound checks should be headline > main support > support > first support (depending how many bands you have) 

DJs are a little easier, and it MAY be possible the venue has the gear that can be borrowed. You need to ask them to check this before the night if they do, so that they can replace anything that is broken. If a DJ is bringing his own stuff he will need to load in and line/sound check before doors.

Sound Engineers/Lighting Dudes

Each venue is different-some have people who do sound. Not sure how much this will cost or whether it’s included in the normal venue rate (depends on what you get for free!) There may be students from local colleges who would love to be involved for work experience but you need to check with the venue owners if that’s acceptable.


Probably 7-7:30pm is always a good one, plus it gives you enough time to provide a full night of entertainment, enough time to help with sound checks and load ins and so on.

Door Price
If you are charging to get in, I would say no more than a fiver – although perhaps you could also be collecting contributions for other projects you may have going on.
Performing Rights Society
If you are playing music, whether DJs or bands there is usually a PRS fee that is charged – this means that performers get their royalties for the performance of their music (both in the live performed version and in the recorded performed version of a DJ playing a CD or vinyl). The venue sometimes looks after this with a blanket licence – the best thing to do is to check with them first what they have in place for PRS fees, otherwise you may have to get in touch directly with the PRS as you would formally be ‘a promoter’.

Follow the link below for a guide to costs for a licence for charity and community events:


Publicity and Promotions

(also known as marketing your event!)
You’ll need to get as many people down to the event as possible to really make any significant amount of money towards the future projects. Friends and friends of friends are the best bet. Spreading the word could involve (you don’t have to go crazy and get really nice leaflets) but black and white leaflets printed A6 on A4 paper, guillotined and then put into shops that your mates work in, put them on notice boards in places such as music shops (selling CDs or musical instruments) Advertise on Facebook, Twitter. University and College websites, student union notice boards and student radio. Local radio stations. Write an article for your local newspaper-it’s more likely to get used if you name some local people involved and add a quote from them about what they are doing and why. If it’s a big local issue, ask your local MP for a comment or photo with you for the paper.

Local newspaper and local radio websites usually allow you to add an event for free on their websites but ring the radio station if you want further publicity-they love live interviews! (But may also consider a pre-recorded one). Local TV stations may be interested but allow for being ‘bumped off’ the agenda if more  exciting news occurs that day and don’t be offended!
Advertise, if appropriate, at local community organisations (search in your local library), churches or community organisations.
For music events, giving out flyers at the beginning or end of similar events brings in like-minded people.
If you are considering spending some money to promote the event, then you may want to consider buying space in your local paper or even national music magazines like Kerrang, a week before the event. 

On the night
You’ll need to make sure you grab enough volunteers to cover: door fee / entry, raffle prize and if applicable, stage manage and cloakroom. I think the venue might be able to provide staff for door fee/cloakroom. Stage manage is just to make sure that the bands have all their gear set up at the right time throughout the day and that changeovers go alright. Also to make sure you don’t go past curfew, because it can be expensive depending on the licence the venue may have! At one big festival, they charged 75k a minute when they went over the late night curfew!


Some venues  provide security but if you are serving alcohol and  want to make the event open to all ages (probably 16+) then you will need to have security to not only check bags but check IDs because the fine you would get for under age drinking is enormous. Security personnel charge from £10 per hour and depending on how many people at your event, you will need one security person approx every 50 people. Always check they are trained and belong to a professional organisation. Anyone working as a Security Guard industry in the United Kingdom needs to hold a Licence to Practise from the SIA and in order to obtain this Licence, they will need to hold a qualification approved by the SIA. Look at http://www.sia.homeoffice.gov.uk/Pages/home.aspx    then look under ‘Licensing’ then ‘Door Supervision’

At the end of the night

Make sure that all the bands take their own gear and have arranged their own way home… make sure it’s left in a nice way, ask the venue if they have cleaners or whether you and everyone need to take care of their own litter! Also, you will need to settle with the venue on the night, if they are charging you for the use of the space or have agreed a percentage of door sales or anything like that, you will need to sit down and go through the calculations with them. 

If they are giving you the space for free you may want to consider getting up and saying a few words not only on behalf of your organisation but to say thanks to all the people who gave free stuff or gave you the room for free. Its always way appreciated more than anyone would ever say.

I think that’s it. Maybe ask for any additional charges, parking problems, or if there are any keys you might need for storage space etc! The venue owners should be able to tell you what you need to know though.

Good luck with all your events and have a fantastic time!