Managing risk at a fundraising event

Third Sector Promotion Markel

Even the best-laid of plans can go wrong, so it's vital that you take precautions to protect your charity from the worst that fate can throw at your event, writes Markel's Wendy Cotton

Fundraising events: nearly always go well, but you never know...
Fundraising events: nearly always go well, but you never know...

This is a sponsored feature provided by Markel

Hosting a fundraising event can be a fun and enjoyable way to raise money while boosting your charity’s profile. Unfortunately, a number of things can go wrong, from somebody having an accident to a bad case of rain stopping play.

Thankfully, there are some effective risk-management strategies that can reduce the likelihood of something going wrong. Here, we outline some of these.

Choosing the type of event

First of all, work out what kind of fundraising event you are going to hold. For example, do you plan to host your own individual event, or will you be raising money through one that’s already established? The latter can be more of a risk-free option, but it does mean your charity won’t get the real-life interaction with donors that happens at a stand-alone event.

If you do plan to run your own event, make sure your organisation’s insurance policy covers whatever activity you plan to carry out, and speak to your insurer or insurance broker beforehand. This is particularly important for events that involve high-risk activities such as bungee-jumping or abseiling, which will not be included on many policies.

Understanding the risks

Weighing up the potential risks of your event isn’t necessarily as easy as it sounds. Even something as innocent sounding as a summer fete could end badly if, say, a child were to injure themselves on a bouncy castle or fairground ride.

It’s also likely that you’ll have to put some of your trust in outside organisers and suppliers, such as companies that hire out inflatables or food stalls. To manage this risk, there are certain checks that should be made and questions that need to be asked: do they have insurance? Can they prove they use quality risk management? Do they belong to a recognised trade body?

You should also ask to see a schedule of insurance as evidence that they are insured, and the cover itself should at least be equal to the policy your charity holds.

Another way to defend yourself against possible accusations of negligence is to produce a risk map of the event. Not only is this good practice, but it will also act as documented proof that you have carried out a thorough risk assessment, considering what could go wrong, the chances of it happening and what the possible consequences would be.

Getting insured

Any charity putting on a fundraising event should ensure that they have two essential covers: public liability insurance and employer’s liability insurance. The former will cover you for any allegations of accident or illness to members of a third party; employer’s liability insurance will do the same, but for employees and volunteers. These covers protect you against anything from a "slip-and-trip" claim to a more severe injury.

It might also be necessary to get cover for your equipment, if you are using things such as marquees and lighting. Finally, if you’re worried that you might have to cancel the event – if it is weather-dependent, for example – you might wish to consider getting event cancellation cover to help with the costs.

For more information, please see our quick guide on insuring a charity fundraising event

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