The Tower Handbook
9.9: Fund raising
a: Should we run fund raising events?
There are several reasons for running fund raising events.
- You need the money
You may be preparing for a major overhaul or perhaps a big purchase like a carpet for the ringing room. Or perhaps you do not ring for weddings and you need income to cover routine expenditure on ropes, books, training courses, subsidising youngsters and so on.
- Someone else needs the money
Your association bell fund needs money or there may be some other local charity which your ringers wish to support.
- You believe that a working band is a happy band
There is a lot of truth in this. Communities always seem to grow together when they are working together to raise money. Fund raising has always been a way of life in the non-conformist churches and will become much more common in the Anglican communion as the change in church finances works through the system. Perhaps your band wishes to pull its weight within the congregation by running a regular event, or adopting some particular charity.
b: What are good fund raising events?
- Events where you can charge more than the cost.
Providing the food yourself helps. Paying for extra overheads may allow you to charge more, but put up the break even point. A barn dance can be very profitable, but you need a lot of people (and hence a lot of work) to cover the cost of hiring the band. Something like a quiz night has very little overhead cost apart from the hire of the hall, so you can make a profit on much smaller numbers.
- Any event that has minimal cost and a captive audience.
It may not make a lot, but it is risk free and can be repeated as often as you like. The best way to raise some funds is to organise things like coffee mornings, jumble sales, cake stalls, or join the church fete and run a stall. You need a lot of support for these activities, from all your band, and as already said they have to be fun to do and not a chore if you are going to get all your ringers involved.
- Anything else you can think of.
c: What are the secrets of successful fund-raising events?
Although you are not doing it on a commercial basis, the same underlying principles still apply:
- Understand your market
If you put a lot of effort into organising something, you need to be sure that enough people will support it to be viable. What would people in your community like and what do they already have plenty of? Is there a shortage or a surfeit of: barn dances, quiz evenings, coffee mornings, jumble sales, sponsored swim/cycle/ring/etc events?
- Broaden your range of customers
There are a lot more non-ringers than ringers, so look outside the tower to the rest of the congregation and the whole community.
- Build on success
If people enjoyed your last event, they are likely to come to the next, and you may get some more as well. So have another one after a suitable interval.
- Control your costs
If you are all putting in a lot of work, you don't want any more than necessary of the proceeds to be taken up in expenses. See the previous answer.
d: Should we combine social events and fund-raising?
Of course you can, but you should be clear about which aspect is driving. Is it a social event you would like to make some money or is the main aim to make money but you want to enjoy working on it together. If you are trying to raise funds for a restoration or augmentation, you should focus on the money, since you need a lot and you don't want the process to go on for years. If you have no special financial need, but you like to pull your weight in the association or the community by making donations to the bell fund or local charities, then focus on the social side and take the profit as a by product.
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