Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Planning a Successful Charity Picnic

A successful charity picnic requires a significant amount of prior planning. By using these planning tips, we can help your event run smoothly.

Your first step is to have a pre-planning session in which you develop a purpose for your event, plan for the demographic of your attendees and set a budget. Once you have your purpose, or event “wish list,” set and a proposed budget, you will need to seek sponsorships. The money you spend on your picnic should come from these sponsorships.

While planning a community picnic, an essential thing to keep in mind is providing entertainment throughout the whole day. This event should be family-friendly, with a focus on providing children-centric activities, while still catering to the adult crowd.

Recently, HuTerra Foundation partnered with the Suamico Firefighters Volunteer Association for their annual picnic. For the children, we provided firefighter-themed games, a bounce house, face painting and temporary tattoos. It is important to have games and activities for different age groups and skill levels. For example, we had a Ducky Dip game for younger children to enjoy by choosing a rubber duck in a pool and their prize was determined by the color on the bottom of the duck. Older children really enjoyed a Spray Away game, which consisted of shooting extinguisher-shaped squirt guns at ping pong balls to knock them off their pegs.

One of our guests picking a prize after playing Ducky Dip

Do you think you could knock off the whole row?

The bounce house was a huge hit with the kids
A children’s run is also a great way to engage your youth guests. Our picnic started off with a children’s run in which the children could run alongside firefighters and were met at the finish line by a mascot fire dog. We also included two game tickets in each runner’s post-race bag to encourage them to stay and enjoy our other activities.

Parents and children alike loved running next to the firefighters

Runners were congratulated by Rocket upon completion of the race

When planning entertainment for adults, it is important to appeal to those attending with and without children. We booked several local bands to perform throughout the day, offered raffles and advertised affordable beverage prices as strong draws to our adult crowd.

The Cougars during their performance

Some of our staff members taking a break to catch a few songs by The Cougars
While planning your picnic, you may find that you are stretching yourself thin amongst everyone reporting to you. One way to ease some day-of stress is to send out instructions to all of your volunteers prior to the event. This way, your volunteers will know what they are responsible for and where to report to upon arrival without searching for you first. This will also relieve some responsibilities for you day of so you can focus on other aspects of coordination. It is also important to know who your volunteer audience is so you can prepare how to most efficiently communicate with them.

Another key thing to remember is your “thank yous.” After your picnic is completed, make sure to send a personalized thank you to each of your sponsors. This personal connection will create a lasting impression and your sponsors will be more likely to sponsor future events. You will also want to make sure you genuinely thank your volunteers for their time and effort. Building a strong relationship with your volunteers makes them feel connected to your organization. When they feel they are a part of your cause, they are more likely to volunteer again.

If we could leave you with one lasting piece of advice, it is to always stay calm and to go with whatever comes your way. Anything that can go wrong, probably will. You can’t always plan for which difficulties will arise, but your event’s success will be determined by your reactions. You can find a solution to any hurdle you come across, as long as you’re willing to work through it and you have a strong team backing you.

What tips and tricks do you have for planning events like a charity picnic? Share your ideas below in the comments!

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