What's the Objective?
Why is this event being hosted? If the objective is raising money, this needs to be made very clear to the attendees. They are not just being invited to have fun, but to help a cause or organization gain more profit. If the objective is to inform and educate the attendees on the cause, put together a plan for speakers, presentations, and pamplets or brochures.
Choose the Concept
Choosing a concept is the most important part of hosting a charity event. Events should be welcoming and engaging. Guests should enjoy themselves while coming together for a common purpose. Will it be formal, family-oriented, or professional? Deciding on the event concept will help in determining the atmosphere, attendees, marketing, and venue.
Pick a Date
Picking the event date prior to preparing for an event is crucial because it provides the deadline for each task to be completed. This helps to prevent any procrastination and promotes promptness as well as motivation. If the event is larger or requires more preparation, plan it at least six months to a year in advance.
Create a Calendar and Budget
This is often the tricky part because resources should be spent wisely and efficiently. A budget should cover hired staff, the venue, supplies, catering, licenses, rentals, and contingencies. Create a calendar with tasks and dates to follow through to completion.
Recruiting volunteers can be difficult, but if the right resources are used, along with a good strategy, this obstacle can be overcome. Try placing an ad on a website designed for grassroots or non-profit organizations. Remember that this is a structured event and there are college students or college graduates who can use the event planning experience. They are able to use this on their resume and they also could use the professional job reference for future employment.
Locate a Venue
It is always good to choose a few different venues. There is a possibility that the first idea for a venue may not work out. It may be overbooked, they may choose another event, or there may even be an internal change. If you have a group lined up, you can find a replacement in a more timely manner. When choosing a venue, consider the weather, number of attendees, display, and catering.
Find the Funding
Funding can come in various forms: sponsorships, in-kind gifts, donations, fundraisers, or grants. In-kind gifts can be used for raffles, event supplies, or anything that will benefit your event. When approaching potential sponsors, have a few different options to provide to them. If they are not able to provide a monetary sponsorship, they may be able to help raise funds by setting up a collection box within their business or asking other people if they are interesting in helping with the cause.
Inform the Public
Audiences can be informed of events in different ways. A well planned grassroots campaign will help to build a relationship with the community and inform them of the organization or cause that is being supported by the event. Fill out as many local community calendars as possible with the date, time, venue, speakers, and ticket information. Send out invitations by email to potential attendees. Send public service announcements and press releases to local relevant and reputable new stations, blogs, or online magazines. Find local bloggers who specialize in the same cause and ask them if they will be willing to provide information to their online audience.
Make that the setup of any displays are done the night before or the morning of the event. If the event is in the evening, the morning may be enough time to prepare a larger event, but don't fully rely on it. Carefully plan the setup, catering, check-in, service, and takedown/cleanup for the event.