Bungee jumping over Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe or trekking to Machu Picchu in Peru may seem like the craziest and most carefree ways to fundraise, but behind the fun and daring there are some tricky guidelines to navigate.
The Institute of Fundraising code on charity challenge events includes a minimum checklist for charities organising challenge events in the UK and abroad. Protecting the environment and the interests of local people are key, but there are many more guidelines for a successful challenge:
• Check you've got the right insurance: you'll need cover in case the trip is cancelled. And be sure to do a risk assessment that covers volcanoes, tropical storms, earthquakes and civil disturbances. It's worth checking for advice on the Foreign Office website at www.fco.gov.uk/travel.
• Check up on your tour operator by getting references from charities that have used it before. Be sure that equipment is of the highest quality and staff and instructors are fully trained.
Ensure your contract allows you to cancel or postpone the event and get a refund.
• If participants raise more than £500, they are considered to be professional fundraisers, so they will need to sign written agreements with you. If some of the money raised is used to cover the costs of their trip, they must let donors know. Check people's suitability for the event too: are they fit enough for a taxing challenge?
• If participants are paying the charity for the trip, then the charity is, in effect, selling them a package holiday, and this 'trading' means you have to pay VAT. The code says: "This can easily be avoided by asking participants to deal directly with the travel operator."