Hosting a Fundraising event in a post-pandemic world – where to start

18 July 2022

Charities hosting fundraising events have, like the majority of event organisers, had to adapt to stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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While adapting was necessary, the risk also changed and carrying out fundraising events through online platforms wasn’t necessarily as high of a risk. However since we have found ourselves in a somewhat post-COVID world, we need to revisit the risk, it’s impact on charities and what to remember when hosting in-person fundraising events.

As we are all aware, many charitable organisations hold concerts and public performances as well as a diverse range of fundraising events including charity walks, carnivals or sporting events in order to raise money for an intended cause. These types of activities and larger events or unusual fundraising activities can present significant risks. It’s important to ensure that these events will be properly managed to keep those in attendance as safe as possible. This will involve detailed planning before the event starts and monitoring some of the precautions that have been put in place during it.

It is important to note that because of the diverse nature of fundraising events that can be held, the information provided in this article is only intended to provide some insight into the types of issues that might need to be considered. It also sets out a general approach that could be adopted. Charitable organisations may need to look at more detailed guidance provided by others, depending on the nature of the event you intend to hold.

Obviously, any action you take needs to be proportionate to the fundraising event. This will reflect on a number of variants including the size and nature of the event; the size and location of your premises or other venue; the numbers of employees and volunteers who will be involved; the number of visitors you expect to attend; and the nature of the activities involved in the event itself.

If you are an employer hosting an event, you must comply with the requirements of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 and the General Application Regulations. Other, more specific health and safety regulations may also be relevant depending upon the nature of the event you intend to hold. You will need to ensure that the event is properly planned and managed so that people remain safe, but also have procedures in place should an incident, accident or unexpected event occur.  These will always be a number one priority for any event.

You may need to carry out the following

  • Complete risk assessments to identify the precautions you need to take 
  • Implement those precautions, providing information and training for any employees and volunteers on what they need to do
  • Document your arrangements and responsibilities for hosting events, perhaps as part of your health and safety policy
  • Keep records of what you have done 

You will need to make sure the premises are safe during any event. You also need to meet your common-law duty of care, ensuring that any event does not cause injury to others or damage to their property. Moving away from health and safety, some events may require a license from your Local Authority. You should seek further advice and guidance directly from them. 

In preparing for your fundraising event, it is vital to be aware of any hazards associated with the event.

 Some of the hazards* you may need to consider:

  • Large or unsupervised crowds
  • Pedestrian or vehicular access to the event site or building and the impact any change in weather conditions may have on these
  • The provision or sale of alcohol
  • Attractions including bouncy castles or fairground rides
  • Hazardous materials or equipment
  • Fire, bonfires and fireworks
  • Car parking facilities
  • The preparation and sale of food
  • Security and cash handling
  • Temporary demountable structures (e.g. stages, seating, tents, marquees)
  • Temporary gas appliances
  • Manual handling
  • Electrical installations and portable electrical appliances
  • Animals and animal exhibitions (e.g. donkey or pony rides; pet shows, obedience trials).

*This list is not exhaustive

While these hazards may seem overwhelming when starting to put your fundraising plan in place, this guide will help you to consider some aspects of the event and in turn support you in hosting a successful fundraiser.

The following actions are important when planning your fundraiser:

  1. Consider the viability of hosting the event you want to hold, given the venue, resources and expertise available to you and plan the event completing any necessary risk assessments. If the scale and nature of the event warrants it, it’s important to prepare a specific event safety plan
  2. Check that your insurance cover and that of others is adequate for the event
  3. Check other contract arrangements
  4. Plan for incidents and emergencies, so that you can respond promptly and appropriately, for example the provision of first aid
  5. Implement your arrangements to ensure the event runs safely
  6. Document your arrangements and responsibilities for managing health and safety at events and review these where necessary, particularly if you suspect they are no longer valid.

If you are an Ecclesiastical customer and would like to speak to us about health and safety at your fundraising event, call our Risk Management Team on 01 619 0300 (Monday to Friday 9am - 5pm, excluding bank holidays).