In this section of the manual you will find information, helpful tips, and checklists on how to organise events and activities to help your Group to raise money for MAG's work. Obviously we can't hope to cover everything you may think of doing, but your local MAG Regional Rep will be pleased to give you further help and advice, whatever your event, however large or small.
A RECIPE FOR SUCCESSFUL FUNDRAISING
Essential ingredients: people + ideas + organisation + lots of hard work!
You can't do anything without them! Your Group needs people
who are enthusiastic about raising money for MAG
who have the necessary talents and abilities
who are willing to put in the necessary work
who feel they are part of your team
You also need people to attend whatever event or activity you have decided to organise whether it's a dozen people invited to a run out, or 2,000 you want to attract to a major open-air event. See later information in this section on drawing the crowds.
If you haven't already decided what kind of event or activity you want to organise, here are some ideas to help you.
a party for Halloween, New Year, Valentine's Day, or an anniversary significant in your own MAG group
a treasure hunt
a one-day bike show
a weekend rally
a sponsored event of any sort
a contest of any sort – spaghetti eating, welly-throwing; - anything that's fun and which will help your Group to raise funds for MAG.
Plan well ahead - it's never too early to start, even for a small event.
Do your sums - some costs are obvious, others may be less so. Make sure that they are all included in your budget. Your final profit should reflect all of your hard work.
Make sure that each of your helpers knows whats/he is doing - and that someone knows what every person is doing. Write it all down and give everyone a copy.
Appoint a "Trouble-shooter" or several, and make sure your helpers know who to turn to with queries and problems.
Timing - when is the best time for the event? Does it clash with any other biking events in your area?
Tell your local MAG Regional Rep. what you're doing at an early stage. This will enable the RR to offer advice and to publicise your event throughout your region
Good organisation after the event will make it easier for your Group to repeat it. Keep notes of useful contacts, prices, quantities, and problems. Have a debriefing session after the event, while memories are still fresh.
Keep your costs down and your takings up -get as much as you can given to you by friends and local motorcycling businesses, - whether it's people's time, commercial sponsorship, or prizes for a raffle. If it's donated, it's not an expense! Think of ways to increase your takings: have a raffle, sell advertising space in programmes, etc.
Golden Rule No 1: always assume that it will be harder work than you expected.
Golden Rule No 2: don't forget to enjoy yourselves!
Drawing the Crowds
Make sure that your event gets the attendance your hard work deserves. Think about the event itself: has it got that extra "gimmick" which will attract people? An unusual or beautiful setting, perhaps? A funny name for your event? See what you can add to your event to give it that bit extra.
Make it attractive to your audience. Think about who you are trying to attract and what they enjoy doing. You need to come up with a good idea you know will be popular with the people most likely to attend.
Use celebrities or personalities if you can - local, national, or international. They do bring in the crowds. It may be a good idea to discuss any invitation to a celebrity with MAG Central. It is important to have a co-ordinated, professional approach to celebrities to increase our chances of success. If they get six different requests from various parts of MAG up and down the country they are likely to bin the lot. The other key to success with celebrities is appropriateness. An actual interest in motorcycling and the issues that surround it is fairly essential. So make MAG Central your first point of contact for advice, agents' details, sample letters, or to find out if the celebrity you have in mind has recently been contacted by MAG.
Publicity - spread the word!
Press coverage: local newspapers and radio are always waiting for news. Give them a story and they'll be along on the day. Tell them in advance and ask for pre-event publicity. It is often worth telephoning the news desk to see if they have received your press release. Always emphasise a local angle to your event (See also Publicity, in the Campaigning and Advocacy part of this manual). Offer the opportunity for a pre-event photo-call. Local radio stations may have special "What's On" slots where you can advertise the event. Your local MAG Regional Rep may well be able to help with press contacts and advice on how best to package your "story" for maximum coverage and free publicity.
Consider investing in a small advertisement in the “What's On” column of your local newspaper. Local bikers may see it and come along.
Tell everyone – Adjacent MAG Groups, local bike clubs, the events listings in the biking press and on the web. Don’t forget to use Streetbiker!
Put up posters on notice boards and in windows of motorcycle shops, biking pubs and cafes. If some of your funds are going to charity, don’t forget to mention it, and if possible put the charity number on your posters.
Handbills and flyers - distribute these widely. Visit other events prior to your own and invite people. Punch holes in one comer of a bundle of them, thread string through, and hang them up in local motorcycle shops. Small flyers are ideal for tables in bike cafes etc.
Organising a Large Fundraising Event
Some of the most successful fundraising focuses on a large event such as a rally with a run-out and entertainment during the evenings. People will and do pay large amounts of money to enjoy themselves. If you provide an event which is fun you are on to a winner! It's also a chance to publicise MAG's work and maybe to pick up some long-term support.
What could you do?
Don't abandon the tried, tested, and traditional, but maybe think of a new angle or attraction. You could try something completely new, a one-off, or maybe aim to establish your event as a regular local feature.
What do you need to do it?
An idea: you need a good idea (see the suggestions given earlier in this section of the manual). And you need to be confident that it will raise enough money to make staging it worthwhile. Could something else requiring less effort raise just as much money?
A team: get an organising team together. Appoint someone to be in overall control and make sure they delegate tasks and responsibilities to other members of the team. These include: directing the event, giving administrative support, organising the finance, booking the venue, doing publicity and advertising, organising bookings and selling tickets, getting sponsorship, organising marshals and on-the-day helpers, and catering. If the event involves anything technical - use of a PA system for example - someone on the team must know enough about it to make sure it works.
An audience: apart from the organisers, who is going to attend? Do some research and estimate how many people can be expected to turn up. Halve that number and see if it will still work. If it is a ticket event, get each Group member to undertake to sell a certain number of tickets.
Enthusiasm - the oomph factor: you've got to be enthusiastic about what you're doing. The event will be with you for at least the next six months. If you don't like it much at the beginning, you'll have no enthusiasm left at all later on, and the event is almost doomed to fail.
What to do next
Budget: your event has got to raise money; it's not just for fun. You must have a very clear idea of costs, expenditure, and income. Be realistic. Use the Event Budget Checklist included in this section of the manual.
Let your MAG Regional Rep and local groups know about your plans: they may be able to offer you help and advice.
Clear the pitch: there's no point in competing with another event. Make sure that your day is clear, locally and nationally: running a bike show on the day of the British motorcycling Grand Prix won't do your event's attendance figures any good at all!
Before you publicise anything, check that the people in charge of your venue - whether it is a park, a hall or anywhere else - know exactly what you plan to do, and agree to it. Then check with the Local Authority and notify the Police; if necessary, leaflet local residents, telling them what's going to happen and when. You need all the support you can get, and you might even attract some more helpers. Any event which involves amplified music as a major ingredient requires a public entertainment licence, unless it is in a licensed venue.
Allow enough time: six months is not too long. Organisation (bookings, publicity, etc.) takes a long time, and there are bound to be hitches. If you are planning a July event, for example, you should begin your planning in January. For a Christmas event, get busy well before the summer holidays.
Use local contacts: are there celebrities who live in your area that have an interest in motorcycling? Do other Group members know personalities and celebrities who might help? Anyone who has useful connections - or just knows everybody-who's-anybody - should be on the organising team for your event.
Aim low: but think big! If you're hiring a hall, for example, calculate on half-filling it, but be able to handle a capacity crowd. (SeeVenue Check List.)
Sponsorship and prizes: perhaps a local motorcycle shop will help with equipment, sponsorship, or raffle prizes. You might be able to get a venue free, or all your posters and programmes printed for nothing. Whatever it is, you may have to offer something in return to those giving this sort of help. Maybe publicity for their company in the programme and on other publicity materials. Check with your local Regional Rep. What you are offering as an incentive for help does not fall foul of MAG’s rules regarding “backhanders” etc.
Make “just in case” your motto: it’s far better to have a smaller event that works, than a big failure or a cancelled, no-reward let-down. Have a core event that will work and make money whatever happens. Treat everything else as an extra bonus. Check that all possible precautions against forgotten bookings and uninvited star attractions have been made.
Follow up: thanks will be in order for a lot of people. You should use the “feel-good factor” that’s in the air after a successful event to get your helpers to commit themselves to the next event that your Group decides to organise.
Repeating events: if you hold a successful event, why not repeat it next year? It will be much easier to organise and publicise, and you will have built up momentum and a following.
If you are having an event where people are wondering in and out of the venue, whether it be a weekend do or a one nighter, it is advisable to have some means of identifying people who have already paid their entrance fee.
For a one-night party it may be sufficient to stamp someone’s hand in ink, but for a weekend it is worth ordering wristbands.
You will be handling large sums of money if you organise a major event, so it's essential to be clear about what your costs will be and how much you can expect to make. You must be realistic.
Hire of hall/field/venue
Food and drink/caterers
Trucking and stagingSecurity
Printing: tickets, publicity, posters, and programme, etc. (itemised)
Hire of toilet facilities
Production of show merchandise such as t-shirts, patches, etc.
Performers and bands (itemised)
Breakages and damage
Hospitality/post-event party for volunteers and helpers
Telephones - if you want to claim from MAG, you must present an itemised bill.
Sales of show merchandise
Advertising in programme, etc.
Raffle/tombola, etc. (See note below)
Stall fees from other organisations
NB There are laws governing the conduct of raffles and tombolas. Ring MAG Central for advice on this issue.
Don’t forget to speak to MAG Central about insurance cover for your event.
The venue can make or mar an event. Consider whether your venue is right for your particular event. The following points might help you to remember all the questions to ask:
Is the capacity appropriate - not too big or too small?
Lighting and sound equipment/ PA system
Access for deliveries/setting up
Visual aids equipment
Right “feel” or ambience for your event
Handling the takings
A few simple rules to help avoid any problems on the day:
Try to sell your tickets in advance – in that way there will be less money being handled on the day.
Get your float(s) in good time. Think about the prices being charged and the sort of change needed most.
There's nearly always someone who wants to make a straight donation to MAG at the event so always be able to account for this separately.
Make sure that someone is responsible for collecting and banking the money. Lockable cash-boxes are useful, even at very small events. At larger functions, handling the money is a full-time job for one of the organising team. Two people should be present when cash is handled, and wherever possible, the money should be counted by both people.
If there is money coming in from a number of different sources - ticket money from the gate, refreshments, different stalls - keep a record of how much comes in from each source, and warn all the helpers to do the same. This is not just because people like to know how much they've helped to raise individually, but because you'll need the information to evaluate the event afterwards.
Have a receipt book for your own records and to give to people who require one.
Sort out the banking arrangements well in advance of the event. You may need to arrange overnight banking facilities with the local bank.
Try to bank all the money on the same day that you receive it. If you can't, bank it on the first banking day after the event. Make sure you have lots of bank bags.