How to organise a successful club-run event

  • Clubs of all sizes rely on a steady stream of funding, volunteers and new members in order to thrive
  • Events can be a great way for clubs to raise money and awareness, as well as helping to attract new members, supporters and volunteers
  • From hosting the right kind of activity to thinking about risk management and insurance, we explore how to put on successful club-run events

Most clubs and non-profit organisations rely on members and funding in order to thrive. But this can only go so far – events can be a great way for clubs to raise awareness, generate new interest or raise funds.

Many clubs will choose to run events to help cover running costs or pay for something specific, such as a club trip. Events can also be a great way to attract more members and breathe new life into the organisation.

To achieve these goals, many clubs will host events scaling from large conferences right down to small events for a few people, depending on the make-up and aims of the club.

In any case, the difference between success and disaster often comes down to simple planning. It’s vital to assess and manage risks and have the correct insurance cover in place.

What kind of event should I hold?

There is no exact science when it comes to running a successful event, but a good place to start is to think about what suits your club and members.

For instance, a sports club will be well equipped to host a competitive sports tournament, while if you have a clubhouse / lounge area, you have a ready-made venue for a more relaxed, social event.

Also, you should think about what your desired outcome is.

If you want to raise awareness of your club in the community, you may consider hosting an open day, similar to those held by universities. Other locals will have a chance to come in and see first-hand how the club works, meet the other members, and hopefully be inspired to come back.

To establish stronger ties between members, you might consider a morale-boosting event, such as an awards dinner. It can be a great way to lift spirits and recognise the contribution of members to the club.

A fundraising event, meanwhile, should feature some sort of way to raise money. Traditionally popular events, such as the classic auction – where items, services or even experiences (all ideally donated), are sold to the highest bidder – usually go down well. The proceeds can then go towards your goal.

Always account for the risks

Whichever kind of event you are planning, preparation is essential to ensure everything goes smoothly on the big day.

Your venue will play a big part in that. No matter how spectacular a space is, it will be useless if it’s not the right size or lacking in the facilities for what you have planned. The weather also becomes a greater consideration if your event is outdoors.

It will be considerably helpful to everyone involved if you establish roles and responsibilities for the day, including key contacts. That way, each person understands how they can make the event both safe and a success.

Completing a risk assessment is vital and doesn’t have to be complicated, particularly if the event is small-scale. Hosting a raffle, for example, will require less paperwork than organising an inherently risky event, such as a charity abseil.

Don’t let yourself be put off at this stage. It is important to remember why you are hosting the event in the first place and why it is worth taking these risks. For peace of mind, many people include the benefits of their planned event in their risk assessment forms, whether it’s generating income, encouraging future events, or raising the profile of the club.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) provides a number of useful resources and tools that can help clubs develop robust risk assessments, as well as offering some specific guidance on running events safely.

Am I adequately insured?

There are a number of checks your club should do before staging an event to be sure the insurance cover you have in place is adequate.

This includes:

  • How many attendees are covered under your public liability policy?
  • Are all of the activities you are planning included in your policy? Have you checked all exclusions?
  • What about partners and suppliers – e.g. catering vans, fairground equipment suppliers, DJs? Do they have their own cover in place? If not, would they be covered under your policies?