Fundraising events are a great way to raise money and increase awareness of charitable causes.
An effective risk-management strategy can reduce the likelihood of something going wrong at an event and provides charities with much-needed protection.
Most fundraising events run problem-free. However, without sufficient planning, accidents and injuries can happen. For example, if a member of the public trips over a rope securing a gazebo in a public access point, it could cause personal injury and result in a claim.
Good practice and risk management are essential to reduce the possibility of unfortunate accidents and, should one occur, will help ensure a successful defence against legal action.
Planning an event
Before starting, charities should consider the following factors, which will determine what resources and facilities are needed:
- the type of event
- the size of the event
- the day and time of the event
- the likely audience for the event
- whether anybody involved needs a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check (usually required if an employee, volunteer or contractor will have contact with a child or vulnerable adult; employees would typically already have one, but volunteers may not)
- whether any of the activities involved will require consent from parents, guardians or carers.
After that, it’s important to carry out a risk assessment as this can help protect both the charity and the attendees who could potentially be harmed during the event. The Chartered Institute of Fundraising and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations both have useful detailed guidance on risk assessments. There are five steps to a risk assessment:
- Review existing risk assessment and update if necessary.
- Identify hazards.
- Decide who might be harmed and how.
- Evaluate risks and decide on precautions.
- Record findings and implement them.
Complying with the code of fundraising practice
The Fundraising Regulator has outlined the standards expected of all charitable fundraising organisations in its code of fundraising practice and it’s important that charity events comply with it.
Reviewing health and safety
Those organising fundraising events have a duty to ensure the premises, grounds and equipment are safe for employees, volunteers or visitors. The Health and Safety Executive offers useful guidance on this.
Depending on the type of event and the activities involved, organisers may need to inform local authorities. For example, if you are planning a walk on a public highway, you will need to inform the police.
Every event, whether it’s a small coffee morning or a summer fete involving hundreds of people, should be insured to protect charities against risks. There are several types of insurance to consider, some of which are compulsory:
- Public liability insurance protects charities if they cause injury to someone, or damage to third-party property, due to negligence. This could be, for example, a visitor tripping over cables, or damage caused to a village hall after a jumble sale.
- Employers' liability insurance is a legal requirement if a charity has employees, and depending on its insurance policy, also covers volunteers. Public liability does not usually provide cover for volunteers injured during fundraising – for example, slipping on a wet surface – so arranging suitable cover is important.
- Equipment insurance can cover charities against damage to expensive electrical equipment, such as laptops, speakers and microphones, which can cost thousands of pounds to replace.