Blog: 7 tips for organising a successful charity event

Kirsten Smith, the Marketing & Engagement Manager here at ACOSVO chatted to partner and venue finding agency ExecSpace's CEO Emma Little, to discuss some of the most important things to consider when putting on a charity event.


1. Have a clear purpose


"First and foremost, it’s really important to make sure that you define a clear purpose for your event before you do anything else. This way, you can constantly refer back to this and make sure that each decision you make supports the main purpose of the event," says Kirsten Smith, marketing and engagement manager at ACOSVO. "Whether it’s an event targeted at fundraising, generating awareness, promoting education and learning through training and workshops or simply celebrating, keeping this purpose at the centre of everything that you do will make it a lot easier to decide on smaller details later down the line."


2. Plan for time constraints


There are times when events need to be turned around quickly in response to other things going on within a business, so it’s important to select a venue that will be able to work with you on all of your respective time constraints. Founder and CEO of ExecSpace Emma Little says: "Try to give yourself as much lead time as you can, but, if you are running short on time, make sure that you book a venue that’s able to support a fast turnaround for you."


3. Manage your budget


"Managing a budget is perhaps one of the most important elements of planning an event, especially when, chances are, the event will be financed solely through charitable donations," Little says. "Budget dictates every element of an event, from venue choice to catering and transport decisions. So be realistic both with income and expenditure, and stay on top of your budget throughout all stages of the planning process."


4. Find the right supporters and sponsorship


"If you’re seeking sponsors or additional support for your event, remember that it doesn’t always have to be about cold hard cash," says Smith. She adds that supporting businesses can offer a lot by way of donations, which could include things such as venues providing complimentary refreshments for your event, or a business providing marketing support and assistance to get the word out. "There are a lot of avenues to explore and many businesses are keen to support events that have been organised for a good cause," she says.


5. Manage your relationships


Good relationships with external partners, whether these are caterers, venues, AV providers or corporate partners, means your event will run more smoothly, say Smith and Little. People are always willing to help so it’s important to nurture the relationships with those who have looked after you in the past and make sure that you work to repay the favour wherever you can.


6. Find the right venue


"The location of an event is possibly the most important decision you will make when it comes to organising a charity event," Smith adds. "Things to consider when booking a venue include: how accessible is your venue via public transport? Do you have accessibility issues to consider? And does your venue choice fit in with the overall theme of the event? "Working with an experienced venue finding agency will allow you access to unrivalled knowledge of venues across a city, and they may even open up opportunities that you never even knew existed."


7. Market it right


"Event awareness needn’t just be focused around the event itself; there are so many other opportunities that you can utilise," Smith concludes. "Pre-event marketing is vital when it comes to ensuring event attendance and after the event itself, there are lots of opportunities to share mages and news from the occasion so that everyone can see what a success it was."You could even consider inviting a couple of professional photographers along to capture the event, or writing a press release afterwards."



ExecSpace, Scotland’s leading event venue finding agency are able to offer all ACOSVO member charities preferential venue rates and a rebate back to your charity. ExecSpace is sole supplier on the Scottish Government Framework for Meetings, Events and Conferences and as such are able to extend this offer to Scotland’s 3rd sector. More information available here.