From luncheons to extreme sporting events – and everything in between – special events can be excellent ways for nonprofit organizations to raise money and increase visibility.
While the extra revenue may be welcome, consider any additional risks. Are the risks being assumed worth the benefits gained?
Before your organization hosts a special event, consider the why, what, where, who and how.
Why does your organization want to hold the this event? Is it to grow name recognition, recruit donors and volunteers or raise funds to support your organization’s mission? Special events can meet multiple goals.
What type of event will be most beneficial to the organization? The why of the event will guide you to the what of the event. Any event involving athletic activities or alcohol will add considerable risk. Make sure you will be able to achieve your objective without risking the reputation of your organization. It can be difficult to recover from bad publicity after an accident or negative incident at a sponsored event.
Where will the event be held? The venue is critical. Determining the size, scope and cost of the venue will correlate directly to the event’s success or failure. If you’re leasing a venue, place priority on reviewing the contractual requirements of the lease. Consult an attorney before you sign any contract. Some contracts require the renter to extend insurance coverage to the venue. While this is appropriate in some instances, determine if it is reasonable for your event and consult your independent insurance agent for coverage advice. Location also plays into the number of volunteers and employees you will need at the event. If your event is on property you own, check local zoning regulations to make sure your event complies with any zoning restrictions, and require proof of insurance from any vendors coming onto your premises.
Who will coordinate, manage, staff and participate in the event? Consider who has the experience and expertise to manage the event and to staff it sufficiently for best logistics and safety. Consider who these individuals will have contact with and whether any additional background screening or training is necessary.
How will you conduct the event? This important question is often not considered in detail. Determine the details, including the timeline and specifics of each volunteer’s or employee’s role in the event.
By considering all these questions, clearly outlining roles and planning all details, you can better avoid hazardous surprises and assure a successful event.
This loss control information is advisory only. The author assumes no responsibility for management or control of loss control activities. Not all exposures are identified in this article.