Summer is here, and many communities will host fundraising events and activities in the coming months. Whatever you're planning, make sure risk management is at the top of the agenda.
Fundraising events are a great way to bring communities together. With careful planning and a proactive approach to managing and mitigating risk, organizations can help protect their employees, volunteers and the public, as well as meet regulatory requirements.
The Gallagher UK Charities team has put together some key considerations for nonprofits running and hosting events — along with a few ideas for outdoor, indoor and online fundraising activities.
Key considerations for risk management for community fundraising
Licensing and regulations
Before getting too far into planning your event, consider what permits and licenses you may need. For example, catering vans and fairground attractions and rides will require authorization, as well as their own Liability insurance, a copy of which should be kept on file. Check with your insurance broker to learn what's covered under your organization's insurance policy.
Before your event, carry out a site inspection and risk assessment, checking for any hazards such as litter or debris that needs to be cleared, damaged or broken equipment (such as playground equipment), blocked fire exits in buildings you plan to use, etc. Record in writing any health and safety training provided for the event, along with a written risk assessment for the proposed event. Sufficient security should be in place and an appropriate first aid presence should be on-site, in line with the risk assessment document.
Be sure to carry out a final risk assessment on the day of the event.
If you rent equipment such as generators, toilets or lighting, you'll likely need loss and damage cover, so check your policy to see if your insured amounts are adequate. If you're powering your electrical equipment with a generator, consider the security requirements — such as circuit breakers and mats for covering cables — and who's responsible for implementing these requirements.
It's unlikely any existing coverage will be in your organization's policy. Therefore, provide full information including the replacement values — also comment regarding portable generators being secured while in use and then locked away when not in use.
Barbecues and hot food
If your event includes serving barbecue or other hot food to the public, place the equipment away from buildings or structures and where people can't walk into or touch the equipment. Firefighting equipment — dry powder fire extinguisher, fire blanket or sand — must be easily accessible. It's also important to keep food chilled until it's cooked. The person cooking should have be a certified food handler or be supervised by someone with this certification.
Tearing down and cleaning up
Your commitment to health and safety should extend beyond the event, into post-event cleanup. If you want to have volunteers help, ensure adults accompany all children and that all participants know to not pick up hazardous items, such as unidentified cans and canisters and sharp objects.
Supply necessary clean-up equipment, such as litter pickers, gloves and garbage bags, and high-visibility vests if pickers will be working near roads. Only official event organizers should lift and move heavy objects, following the necessary health and safety procedures.
Event ideas for all weather
We asked the Gallagher UK Charities team for some fundraising ideas to engage communities. Here are the team's top picks:
Hidden treasures walk
Organize a community walk that includes a checklist of items to spot throughout the route to encourage people to look more closely at their local environment (nature trail, interesting architecture, etc.). Encourage all ages and abilities to participate by including a short and long route, and an easier checklist for children.
Indoor art exhibition
Encourage local artists of all levels to exhibit their work. Give each visitor a ballot to write down their favorite work and artist and have visitors place the ballot in a ballot box before they leave. Voting encourages greater interaction with the exhibition and can help get conversations going and increase sales.
Ask local businesses to donate prizes, from products to vouchers and experiences. Drum up interest on your social media and have a countdown to the announcement of winners.
The silent auction could be online, or you could arrange a live event where the winners are announced and can claim their items in person. Your event could include a dinner or quiz night, and perhaps an additional live auction to raise extra funds.
We're sure you have plenty more ideas for your community fundraising events, but for all things risk-management related, remember we are here to support you.
This article was authored by the Gallagher UK Charities team, led by Paul Eden. Gallagher UK services more than 8,500 voluntary and care sector clients across the whole of the UK.