DIY: PLANNING A
EVENT CAN BE
Not only does hosting an event create an opportunity
for friends and family to have fun together and provide a
platform to meet new people, but it also allows you to
become involved with an amazing cause.
Do you want to host a small scale event with only a few
of your closest friends, or do you want to throw a big
party for a huge crowd? What about the type of event?
Are you hoping to hold a gala or a bar crawl? These
decisions will effect everything you do later in the
The scale of the event will help determine the type of
event. For instance, a charity poker tournament is a
gathering appropriate for a small group of people, while
a cocktail night or fashion show would work for a larger
Here are a few ideas for fundraising events:
“a-thons”: walk-a-thon, read-a-thon, dance-a-thon
Entertainment: talent show, concert, movie night
Sales: bake sale, car wash, book sale
Parties: banquet, dance, gala, cocktail party
Tournaments: basketball, dodgeball, bowling
tweet this Other: silent auction, scavenger hunt, rafﬂe
After you’ve come up with an event
concept, it’s time to set some goals for
Set a realistic and achievable fundraising goal that
will help keep all participants motivated
Outline an event budget that will keep costs on
Contact CANFAR and complete the Third Party
Set a goal for attaining media coverage for your
Check out DIY: Tools at canfar.com for:
o A template for setting and managing your goals
o An event budget template
o CANFAR’s Third Party Agreement form
It may seem simple, but educating yourself about the
cause you are fundraising for can go a long way. You
will be able to answer questions guests and media may
ask, adding legitimacy to the event and engaging others
in the cause.
Refer to canfar.com for information on CANFAR,
HIV and AIDS.
CANFAR can provide red ribbons, condoms, gum
and lollipops for your guests.
CREATE A TEAM
A collective effort with volunteers is almost
always necessary to pull off a great event.
Friends and family are usually willing to volunteer for a
good cause, so why not ask for their help? They may
have some unique ideas on how to make your event as
fun and successful as possible.
Delegation of tasks to volunteers is vital. But don’t just
hand out a to do list—remember to follow up with your
You may want volunteers for:
Venue set-up and take-down
The number of volunteers you need depends on
the size of the event. If you’re planning something
small, keep the amount of volunteers to a small, yet
highly dedicated, group of people. If you have too
many volunteers, you may not be able to monitor
everyone. Is your event going to be big? If your
event is large and you need many volunteers, why
not utilize the internet to ﬁnd volunteers?
When you’re deciding on a space for your
event, keep the scale and type of event in
mind. A space that’s too small will make
your guests feel uncomfortable. A
cavernous space will make your event look
This is a great time to take advantage of your volunteer
base. Ask around—someone may know of a great
space you haven’t heard of, or may have access to
venue discounts. Many venues will often accommodate
charity events free of charge, or for a reduced price.
Don’t shy away from asking venue managers if a
reduced rate is something they would consider.
No matter what venue is chosen, it is important to
present the manager with a written proposal. If you are
organized and professional, you’ll likely receive better
results with your requests.
Do you need a permit?
If you are serving alcohol but your event is not at a
bar, or if alcohol is an auction item at your event, you
will need to obtain a special occasion permit from the
alcohol regulatory authority of your province/territory.
Similarly, caterers will be required to have food
permits/licenses and beverage licenses; you should
ensure that any caterer is fully-licensed before you
commit to them.
Make sure you have a written agreement outlining
your terms and conditions with your venue contractor.
Having a contract will ensure there are no unforeseen
costs and the venue is yours for the day you specify.
If you’re not sure how to create a contract, contact
CANFAR for assistance.
WRITE IT DOWN
After a venue is secured, create a
checklist outlining everything that needs
to be done.
Writing everything down on paper is a great way to
provide clarity. For an added organizational bonus, try
including timelines for each task and responsibility. The
jobs that need to be executed will generally vary
depending on the type and scale of the event, but there
are a few things you should always address:
Try to minimize your costs as much as
possible. After all, the objective of the event
is to fundraise.
Company sponsorships are a great way to help cut
costs and ensure as much money as possible goes to
charity. It may seem intimidating to approach a
company to ask for money, but local businesses, or
even individuals, are often willing to make ﬁnancial
contributions to charitable events. So, give it a try!
Before you approach a potential sponsor, create a
sponsorship proposal and outline how you will provide
appropriate recognition for their contribution. You can
offer logo placement on the event poster or verbal
recognition at the event. It’s important to show how
your event will help the company’s visibility.
Refer to DIY: Tools at canfar.com for a list of
potential sponsors and a sample sponsorship
Thinking big is important, but don’t forget about simple
solutions. Collecting pledges from your friends and
family is an easy and efﬁcient way to raise funds.
Anyone who donates more than $5 to CANFAR is
eligible to receive an income tax receipt for their
Create a pledge form to keep track of what
friends and family are raising.
Take a look at a CANFAR pledge form via DIY:
Tools at canfar.com.
Publicity is usually an important
determinant of the success of any event.
Event publicity will vary depending on its size. If the
event is a charity poker game, a few phone calls or
invitations to friends and family may be all you need. On
the other hand, if the event is a large charity cocktail
party, you might need to create ﬂyers or look into
purchasing magazine or newspaper advertisement
Make note of your target demographic. Who do you
want at your event? What types of media will best reach
this audience? Are they more likely to use a Facebook
event proﬁle or browse through newspaper ads?
Magazines, radio stations and TV networks are
often willing to sponsor events for charity. They
can provide you with ad space and/or a
popular host for your event.
Although this is one of the most time
consuming stages, it can also be a lot of
fun. There are many different ways you
can promote your event:
Create an easily printable, email-friendly poster for your
Utilize social media, such as Twitter and Facebook
Contact local radio stations to advertise on-air or local
newspapers or magazines to promote your event in their
Don’t forget about the power of word-of-mouth.
Ask your volunteer base to spread the word about
your event. You’ll be surprised at how fast the word
will get out.
Refer to DIY: How to Get Media for Your Event at
canfar.com for more details on promoting your
Documenting the event often gets overlooked—don’t
wait until after your event to gather photos. Be sure
you’re prepared so you can get the kind of photographs
You can choose to use a professional photographer or a
friend who has a great camera. Either way, ensure you
ask a friendly and upbeat photographer who will engage
Documenting the event allows your guests to have
something to look back on fondly. You can post them
on Facebook and Twitter to continue the dialogue after
It can also help you share the successes of your event
with the host organization.
Taking pictures of sponsor logos at your event is a
great way to show your support for your sponsors
and build a lasting relationship.
Once your event has ended, be sure to thank everyone
Donors and sponsors
Try to personalize each thank you note. This may seem
tedious, but it will help you build a great rapport.
Refer to DIY: Tools at canfar.com for a sample
thank you letter.
T’S AND DOT
The event was a success! Your guests had a fabulous
time and you raised funds for a great cause; but, before
you can celebrate, there are a few things left to do:
Balance your accounting and pay outstanding bills
Organize all pictures that were taken by volunteers,
photographers and party goers and send copies to
The Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research (CANFAR) is Canada's only independent
charitable foundation dedicated to eliminating AIDS through research. By funding promising
Canadian HIV and AIDS research and promoting prevention through educational campaigns,
CANFAR is working to end AIDS globally.
To download a free copy of this and other Do It Yourself guides, visit canfar.com.
Alex Elliott Kruger | @alexekruger
Holly Bacchus | @hollybacchus
EBOOK DESIGNED BY
Justin Mendonca | @mynameisjustinm
WEBSITE DESIGNED BY
Tyler Buist | @tylerbuist
Twitter | @CANFAR
Facebook | facebook.com/canfar