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Mobis Blog


Tips on managing an event or fundraising festival

Having recently attended The Deans Festival as a guest speaker, this long running subsidiary of The Brighton Fringe Festival, really caught my eye with the attention the organisers’ paid to details.

Such “detail in the planning” must help to attribute to the monies raised this year for beneficiaries Downsview School for Children with special needs. 

Since one of the organisers is my friend Claire O’Brien, who kindly invited me to read my new book, I was able to be for much of the time, “behind the scenes”.

I found my observations extremely interesting and without a single exception, every single volunteer, and there were a lot of them, worked together, like clockwork.

The atmosphere due to months of careful planning was fun and vibrant; the event was packed and well deservedly so for such outstanding team work. It actually felt like they had all made a pact to insure for a successful day.

Here are ten things which I noticed on the day and hope that they are transferable for your next event.

1: - they have a dedicated website just for this annual event.  Although this may not be realistic for your charity yet, it’s worth knowing that The Deans Festival is a joint event of all the “Deans Schools” – who could your charities, collaborate with, for a joint annual festival?

2: It’s so well publicised – Fortunately as part of The Brighton Fringe Festival, The Deans Festival leaflets the event during the popular Children’s Parade – if you do not have a similar tie in arrangement, then remember to build up a social networking one on Facebook.

3: Think of all attendees – Naturally the Deans Festival is for Children so whilst there were lots of fun things for the children to do, careful attention was paid on things for the parents to do too such as raffles and tombola’s with prizes for all ages AND a LIVE BAND which were awesome and a real atmosphere maker as were the array of X Factor style competitions

4: Think ahead of the layout. At The Deans Festival, the School hall was transformed into a roller disco and outside on the grass was a sectioned off “stage” – this was all on the flat – bit of roping and plastic sheeting on the grass made it look really colourful. A small gazebo for the stereo and judges made it look very affective. The stalls, cake stands and games were then carefully planned to around the “stage” for ease of walking around the whole of the festival.

5: The Official Bursar – One person was given this duty and at regular intervals, collected the monies from the stallholders and secured it safely in one place.

6: “Walkie Talkies” – A fantastic free and sensible way for the volunteers to communicate and I think an essential reason as to why everything ran so smoothly.

7: Colour coded – Because all the volunteers wore simple red T Shirts with their charity name on it, they were easy to spot and approach.

8: The Cake stand – Never think that the general public will tire of delicious homemade cakes; this stall, cleverly situated next to the Tombola and with a few plastic picnic tables dotted about was one of the most crowded stalls. We all love a nice cup of tea and delicious slice of chocolate cake!

9: The Play bus  - Young children love the freedom of drawing and painting on a special play bus – it’s a bit like a den and in so this too was very popular – speak to your local council for hiring one at your next event. I believe it’s free of charge.

10: A PA system – I personally think that this is more important than a stage, and clearly The Deans Festival didn’t need an expensive to rig up stage, just colourful sheeting on the ground but do sweet talk a prospective audio professional as a sound system sponsor. We humans like to be kept up to speed with the day’s agenda and you can advertise each hourly event too, ensuring for maximum participants! 

Well done everyone at The Deans Festival you did an amazing job!

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