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Hosting a PCRM Event: Getting Started

Hosting a PCRM Event | Getting Started | Sample Timeline

Hosting an event is a great way to raise funds and awareness—and have fun. However, planning an event can be quite time consuming and expensive, so we have put together some information to help organize the process and make it enjoyable for all involved.

There are many things you will need to think about as you begin to plan your event. Since this is a fundraising event, how will you generate donations? Will you charge a ticket price or an entrance fee, ask for a contribution at the event, or both? How will the costs of the event be covered? Will you underwrite the entire event yourself or solicit others to form an event “committee” to help underwrite costs? Will you try to get items donated? How will you get people to attend? Will it be invitation only or will you publicize the event on social media, like Facebook? Will the home, venue, or facility accommodate your expected attendance?

This document should help with our event planning:

  1. Choose the Date
    1. Solicit others to help you and choose a mutually agreeable date and time. Make sure you schedule your event far enough in advance to leave time for organizing and publicizing your event. (Tip: Typically a two- to three-hour timeframe for a fundraiser is just about right.)
    2. Consider other events that might be going on in your community on that date and check community calendars to make sure there isn’t a competing event.
  2. Determine Type of Event
    1. Ideas – certainly not an exhaustive list (Tip: Choose something that you enjoy and that is easy for you.)
      1. Cocktail party or vegan pot luck
      2. Fun run
      3. Vegan cooking demo
      4. Sporting events and tournaments
      5. Vegan bake sales
      6. Car wash
      7. Community dog walk
      8. Movie night
      9. Picnic
      10. Game night
  3. Planning Considerations
    1. Budget
      1. Determine your budget and who will underwrite the event. If you are trying to keep to a tight budget, consider hosting a daytime event when people won’t expect a huge amount of food. (Tip: An event need not be fancy and expensive for it to be a fun, successful fundraiser.)
      2. Get items donated (Tip: Many businesses are happy to donate items in exchange for recognition at the event or on the invitation. If you don’t ask, you might be missing out on a great opportunity.)
    2. Timeline
      1. Give yourself ample time to plan and execute the event (Tip: While three to six months would be ideal lead time to plan an event in a relaxed atmosphere, successful events have been put together in a week.)
      2. Ideally, invitations should be mailed about six weeks prior to the event
      3. E-mail invitations (e-vites) can be sent closer to four weeks in advance of event
    3. Invitation (Tip: Typically 10 to 20 percent of those you invite will attend.)
      1. Who will you invite? Invitation-only or public?
        1. Printed (Tip: Writing a personal note on the invitation helps increase attendance.)
        2. E-mail or e-vite (Tip: More and more people are moving to e-mail only invitations. They save a lot of money.)
        3. Social media (Tip: You may wish to only give the event address after people have registered if you are posting on a social networking site.)
        4. Phone call
        5. Local event calendars
      2. Will you charge a ticket price or entrance fee, solicit money at the event, or both?
      3. How will you collect RSVP
    4. Soliciting additional funds: silent auction, raffle, asking for donations at the event
    5. Food: Please consider PCRM’s mission and serve only vegan food (Tip: Fresh fruit or veggies and hummus go a long way, are enjoyed by all, are inexpensive, and look pretty.)
    6. Parking
    7. Photographer (Tip: Generally, someone has a friend that is pretty good behind the camera. No need to hire a professional.)
    8. Supplies
      1. Paper goods vs. china and glassware (Tip: Plan three glasses per person and 1.5 plates person for buffet.)
      2. Nametags and other registration materials
      3. Flowers or fruit centerpieces
    9. Entertainment and or background music
    10. Theme
    11. In-kind donations (e.g.: food, beverages, printing)
    12. Permits and permission
    13. Determine volunteer tasks: Many people love to have an assigned job!
      1. Registration and check in
      2. Food
      3. Set up/clean up
    14. Determine any audiovisual needs (TV, DVD, etc.)
    15. Will you try to get media coverage?
      1. Press release
      2. Media advisory
      3. Phone call
    16. Who, if anybody, will speak at the event. Typically, the host would welcome people and ask guests for donations.
      1. Plan in advance who will speak, in what order, and what they will say. (Tip: When you are speaking about a cause that moves you, the best presentations are rehearsed, but come from the heart.)
      2. Personal stories are very effective.
  4. Day of Event
    1. Have everything set up and ready to go at least an hour before the start time of the event
    2. Print out guest list
    3. Have supplies on hand: sharpies, name tags, clip boards, envelopes for donations
    4. Will you need registration and check in?
    5. Will guests wear nametags? (Tip: Some people think nametags look silly, but they are a useful tool to help your guests mingle with people they don’t know.)
    6. When will you speak? (Tip: For a two hour event, typically start the program 45 minutes after start time or when you have a critical mass of people.)
    7. How will you collect donations
    8. Who will help with clean up
  5. After the Event
    1. Send donations and a copy of the photo disc to PCRM. We would love to see your event photos and may be able to publicize on our website!
    2. Send a list of attendees to PCRM
    3. Follow up with guests, donors, and volunteers to say thank you
    4. Post photos on a photo sharing site like Flickr or Facebook
This site does not provide medical or legal advice. This Web site is for informational purposes only.
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Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
5100 Wisconsin Ave., N.W., Ste.400, Washington DC, 20016
Phone: 202-686-2210     Email: pcrm@pcrm.org