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ExecSpace and ACOSVO share their top tips to help event planners organise a successful charity event.

ExecSpace, Scotland’s leading venue finding agency and ACOSVO, the Association of Chief Officers of Scottish Voluntary Organisations,have joined forces to share their insights around some of the most important things to consider as an event planner looking to organise a successful charity event.

EVENT PURPOSE: Kirsten Smith,Marketing and Engagement Manager at ACOSVO, comments, “First and foremost, it’s really important to make sure that you define a clear purposefor 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.

“So, whether it’s an event targeted at fundraising, generating awareness, promoting education and learning through training and workshops or simply just 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.”

PLANNING TIME: Sometimes events need to be turned around quickly in response to other things going on within a business, so it’s important to ensure that you select a venue that will be able to work with you on all of your respective time constraints. Emma Little, Founder and CEO of ExecSpace, comments, “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.”

BUDGET: Emma continues, “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. 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.

“We offer a free service for clients looking to gain the most value and return on investment from their meetings and events budgets, and as a result of our strong relationships with venues across the UK, we are able to offer all ACOSVO member charities preferential venue rates and a rebate back to their charity.”

SUPPORTERS & SPONSORSHIP: Kirsten Smith comments, “If you’re seeking sponsors or additional support for your event, remember that it doesn’t always have to be about cold hard cash. 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. There are a lot of avenues to explore and many businesses are keen to support events that have been organised for a good cause.”

RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT: Good relationships with external partners, whether these are caterers, venues, AV providers or corporate partners, means your event will run smoother. 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.

VENUE CHOICE: Kirsten Smith comments, “The location of an event is possibly the most important decision you will make when it comes to organising a charity event. 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.”

MARKETING: Kirsten Smith comments, “Event awareness needn’t just be focused around the event itself; there are so many other opportunities that you can utilise. Pre-event marketing is vital when it comes to ensuring event attendance and after the event itself, there are lots of opportunities to share images 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.”