FUNDRAISING IDEAS

RAG Resources

Here are some fundraising ideas that have been really successful in college fundraising.  This is by no means an exhaustive list - have a search on google for more inspiration!

Obviously every college is different.  A good starting point is to look at what is popular in your college and piggy back on it, whether it’s formals, bops, or a tortoise fair. 

It is worth thinking  about the amount of money you are raising compared to the amount of effort you are putting in.  For example, a fete might take significantly more time to organise than a charity calendar, but the calendar could raise ten times as much.

Finally, the easier you make it for people to give you money, they more likely they are to do it. Most Common Rooms have a system where Common Room officers can put payments on to individual’s battels. People are much more likely to spend money if they don’t have to pay it until the end of term. If you’re running a promises auction, selling stash, or even running a Bake Sale, consider putting payments on battels to increase your fundraising total.

Quick Links

 

Calendars

Create a customised calendar of your Common room and sell it to the student community. Calendars might not sound that exciting, but they can be a huge fundraiser if you get your target audience right. For example, loads of Freshers’ parents would buy a calendar of pictures from your college (and probably buy one for grandparents too) if you set up a stall in college on the day when Freshers move in, suddenly you’ve made £2000.

Specific Ideas

  1. One popular theme is a naked calendar - asking your Common Room, or maybe just your sports teams or Common Room committee, to pose, ensuring that any photos aren’t too explicit. These calendars will be big sellers, but it can be difficult to recruit volunteers, and you should check with college first if you’re associating their name with the finished product.
  2. Otherwise, you could feature photos of your college and gardens (especially if your college is very pretty) or of sports events and other achievements of your Common Room. This is more suitable for parents!
  3. Instead of photos, of you’ve got a very creative Common Room, you could base the calendar around Common Room artwork or poetry -  this could fit in well if your college has an Arts week. Even if you’re using photos, you could run a competition with people submitting photos, and the best being featured.
  4. You could auction off months to the highest bidder, or feature promises to strip off as part of a promises auction.

Things to think about

Consider whether to use a traditional calendar format, or to base it more closely around Oxford terms and vacations - having a wall calendar that included which week of term it was, and any events around college or the university (like Common Room elections, or Summer Eights) could add value to your calendar.

Target audience - will the calendar be marketed to other students, their family and friends (given as gifts), other members of college,  tourists, or all of the above?

Sales - will you sell the calendar directly to people you know (maybe through the Common Room mailing list or facebook page), in the lodge, or online through your college or Common Room website?

How will you take payment?  Can you do this on battels?

Photographer - If you’re having photographs taken, you’ll need to recruit a keen photographer! If you don’t know anyone, OUPhoto (Oxford University Photography Society) is a good place to start looking. You could also take photos yourself - there’s lots of advice online on taking better photos (e.g. http://petapixel.com/2014/01/24/40-tips-take-better-photos/). In that case, you’ll need access to some decent camera equipment - OUPhoto lets you hire some of their equipment for a deposit (http://users.ox.ac.uk/~photo/equipment.shtml).

Production - You could use a company, such as Teamcalendars.co.uk, who may also offer design help. When you’re searching for a publisher, do mention that the calendar is to raise money for charity; they may be willing to give you a reduced rate in return for free advertisement on the calendar.

Numbers - However your calendar is produced, you’ll need to be careful about how many you produce or order; you don’t want to be left with the cost of lots of unsold calendars. If you are worried about not having enough money to cover the costs of production or of a bulk order upfront, and are selling to people you know, consider ordering a single calendar and then taking payment before ordering the rest.

Deadlines - The most crucial thing is making sure your calendar is produced in time for the vacation! No one wants to buy a calendar once the year has already started. Many publishers also offer seasonal discounts, so the earlier in the year you can get them produced, the bigger the margin.

Requirements

If you take photos, you own the copyright to them and can reproduce them without permission. However, make sure you have permission from any people that feature in them, and that photographs don’t contain an image or work that is protectable under copyright law (such as a painting in the background). Also try to avoid including trademarks in any image. If you use stock images, or those taken by a professional photographer, you’ll probably be required to pay a fee to the copyright owner. See the ‘Good to Know’ section for more information on copyright law.

If you’re shooting a naked calendar, be careful about where and how you take the images. In England, the law does not actually prohibit simple public nudity, but does forbid indecent exposure – if there is an intention to “harass, alarm or distress” others, this is an offence against the Public Order Act of 1986. Make sure to check with landowners, and that your location isn’t, for instance, overlooked by a school.

If you are raising money in aid of a registered charity, you’ll need to contact them first to get permission to use their logos on the calendar. You should also include the registered charity number and contact information on the calendar.

 

Selling College Stash

Create customised college merchandise and donate the profits to your chosen charity. Customised college sweatshirts can be bought for £5 and sold for £15 (still cheaper than the University Shop).  Sell 100 and you’ll make £1500.

Specific Ideas

  1. You could organise this in advance of a specific intercollegiate event, so people will have real incentive to buy the stash to show their support  - Corpus Christi has an annual Challenge, a sports competition against their sister college in Cambridge, and sell t-shirts to their JCR for the day, which are a nice memento. You could consider something similar before Summer Eights or cuppers events if your Common Room is particularly supportive.
  2. You could personalise clothing with names or years - target finalists who are leaving and so might want to commemorate their time in the college. In that case, you could include names of everyone in their year or a big group photo.

Things to think about

Items - you could sell t-shirts, jumpers, and sweatshirts, or branch out into mugs, ties, scarves and cufflinks if you think they’d be popular.

Production - you could print t-shirts with simple designs yourself, or use tie-dye, but you’ll probably want to use a professional company to produce any more complex garments. Many local companies, such as Shirtworks, take orders for designs and can produce different volumes in different ways (embroidery, screen printing etc.).

Design - consider what would appeal to a large number of people in college; it should be different enough from items sold on the high street. Think about colours, images and logos - run a poll to see which people prefer if you’re not sure - and consider costs. If using a company, costs can be higher for small orders, more colours, and more complex patterns.

Payment - this will be much easier if you don’t have to chase payments.  Can you put them on battels? If so, you can just take orders via email.

Numbers - you’ll need to order a certain number of items; it is cheaper per item to order more, but you don’t want to be stuck with unsold items and lose money. It might help to take orders in advance, or ask for deposits, to be sure of selling everything.

Price - set a price that students can afford while also ensuring you raise enough money to cover the cost of production.

Requirements

You should check with your college what the regulations are around using College logos - alternatively, your Common Room may have a logo (or you could run a competition to design one) which you’d have more control over.

If you are going to feature photos or designs, make sure you have permission from the copyright owner or designer; see the ‘Good to Know - Copyright' section for more details on copyright.

 

Bake Sales

While it can seem like bake sales are done too often, or are too obvious, it's because they can be really successful! Ask College members to bake cakes and bring them along to sell at the bake sale event. It’s quite easy to organise. Why not choose a theme for the sale and ask for bakers to bring food to fit the theme?

Specific ideas

  1. Hold the bake sale at another event to maximise the number of people who’ll see it. For instance, at election hustings, Common Room meetings or Welfare tea, you’ll have lots of people hanging around for a long time.
  2. Have a theme, such as Halloween or “everything pink” for Breast Cancer Care - there are more ideas on the Calendar.
  3. Run a delivery service where you will pidge or deliver cakes to people in your college.  This could be especially good during exams.
  4. Instead of baked goods, hold an international night, where international students from your college bring along food from their home countries - this can be a great way to get to know other cultures, as well as raising money.
  5. Get your college members - student and staff- to compete with each other in a bake or cook-off! For this, you will need to decide additional things, such as who the judges would be or the categories in which people would be competing in, such as best looking cake or best tasting cake. Get 'celebrities' from your college to be the judges to attract more audience eg. your JCR President, President of hte College, Hall Chef etc. 
  6. Have cakes/biscuits where people pay for food in your hall.  If your catering staff are happy to supervise this, you can leave them there with a collection tin.
  7. Krispy Kremes will sell you doughnuts at less than their RRP or you to sell on for a fundraising profit. For more information, visit http://www.krispykreme.co.uk/fundraising

Things to think about

People - you’ll need to recruit people to contribute baked goods, and to be on the stall.  Make sure anyone cooking is clear about what you’d like them to make so you don’t get too many of the same item.

Prices - consider how to price your goods - they need to be affordable but also to make a profit. This might depend on whether or not you’re reimbursing people for baking ingredients.

Allergies - make sure all creations are labelled with potential allergens, and with their prices.

Cash - have a box of change on hand at the begining of the fair and a seperate cash box to secure money that can no longer fit in the change box. If you need notes turning to change, a bank should be able to do this. 

Requirements

You won’t need a food safety certificate for a one-off event, but should consider proper food hygiene to avoid making anyone ill - there’s more information on serving food in the ‘Good to Know’ section.

Make sure there is a procedure for banking money, or handing it over money to the Common Room or get the Treasurer to do this for you. Make sure you’ve decided who’ll organise this at the end of the sale and ensure to count the money you have before you leave the sale location at the end of the day. 

Don’t leave cash out unattended.

 

Charity Auctions

Gather items, material things or services and auction them off to the highest bidder! Since it is for charity, most people will donate their items without a charge, so all money raised goes directly to charity! There are different kinds of auctions, which can be appropriate for different events. Some common ones include:

The open ascending price auction - what you’d think of as the “typical” auction, with an auctioneer managing a crowd who outbid each other to acquire the item on sale

Silent auction - instead of being verbal, bids are written on pieces of paper and kept beside the item, with the item being sold to the highest bidder at a predetermined end time. This doesn’t require an auctioneer, and allows many items to be auctioned off simultaneously. You’d probably want to specify a “minimum bid” and “minimum increase” to make sure the bids keep rising

Instead of auctioning off donated goods, you could hold a promises auction, where people in college (students, staff, or fellows) make promises for free, and you then auction these off. This can be a really cheap and effective way of raising lots of money, as long as you can find enough willing volunteers!  You could also do a combination of the two.

Specific ideas

  1. If you’re auctioning items, ask members of your Common Room for donations, but also consider asking local businesses, who may be willing to contribute small items or experiences (like a restaurant meal or manicure) to promote their business
  2. If you’ve got loads of lost property then you could auction it off in ‘mystery boxes’.
  3. For a promises auction, it really depends what people are willing to offer, but for some inspiration, consider:

Weekly deliveries of hot drinks during finals.

Home-baked cake pidge weekly to 10 people for a term.  If you can offer this to more than one person they may team up to bid.

Serenading someone with a song written for them in a public place

Letting someone have access to your facebook account for 24 hours

Painting someone, or writing them a poem

Hosting a dinner party for a group of friends, including cooking and washing up

Choose hall menu for a night

A formal in your honour, with 10 free spaces

A bop theme

Garden party in the Warden’s garden

Involvement in a college tradition

Taking someone on a date

Letting someone cut your hair

Teaching someone a skill e.g. languages, cookery or crafts

Things to think about

Organise donations - you’ll want to do this early, to ensure you have enough goods or promises for the auction to go ahead. If the items or promises are on offer are especially good, include tasters of these when promoting the event - getting lots of people to turn up is important in making sure the bids keep rising. Talk to members of your SCR, your chaplain and your catering manager to see what they can offer.

Auctioneer - if your auction needs one, recruit a volunteer auctioneer (someone to manage the bidding) who’ll be able to manage the crowd and get high prices.

Venue - almost any venue will do, such as your college bar, hall or Common Room

Timing - try to time the auction to maximise attendance, such as by fitting it around welfare tea, a weekly pub quiz, charity formal, or other popular event.

How will you charge the winners?  Can you put the cost on their battels?

 

Running Event

You could organise your own running event (a race or fun run) in support of a particular cause or charity for your college, or get your college involved in one that’s already happening. You can raise money through the fundraising of the participants, or by selling food and drink at the event.

Specific ideas

  1. Consider assigning a theme to the run in line with the charity or cause; for instance, if your fun run is raising money for a children’s charity, you could get participants to dress up as superheroes.
  2. There are several runs held in Oxford throughout the year that you could try to get involved in; for instance, the OX5RUN and the Oxford Half Marathon etc. See the Calendar for more details.

Things to think about

Route - where will the run take place, and what is a reasonable distance? Consider using college grounds or public spaces (like along the river or in University Parks)

Participants - it’s important to consider how many people will be taking part, and also how fit they are likely to be when designing your route

Format - will it be a race, or will participation and making it to the end be more important? It would be nice for participants to know how long they took, so try to start everyone at the same time, or make a note of when people start and finish.

Raising money - you could charge participants a small fee to take part, or ask them to find sponsors. If there are lots of spectators, you could try to sell them refreshments, or guides describing the people taking part

For more information, refer to http://www.runbritain.com/race-directors-club. This website provides all manner of support you might need when organising a run, including software, license information etc

Requirements

Depending on the size and length of the event, consider First Aid provision and making sure runners have access to water.

Its a good idea to do a risk assessment of the event and think about how you can minimise risk to participants.

Make sure you have the landowner’s permission to run the race. If you are organising a run through the centre of Oxford, you may have to inform the City Council. It’s surprisingly easy to get small roads closed briefly; see the ‘Good to Know - Venue and Event Locations’ section for further information.

 

Formal Hall Swap/Themed Formal

A Formal Hall swap involves coordinating with another college so people can try formals at other colleges, something often not possible if you haven’t got friends across the University. Many people are eager to attend these and so are often willing to give a donation to charity for the opportunity. This is something MCRs often do, and has been really popular when other Common Rooms have tried it.

Alternatively, many halls allow students to organise their own formals in Hall around a theme, with special menus, decorations or dress codes. Again, this could raise money by charging more than a normal formal use, and be used raise awareness of certain issues (depending on the theme).

Specific Ideas

  1. Theme a formal around a book or Film e.g. Alice in Wonderland, Harry Potter
  2. Theme a formal around an awareness month or fundraising campaign, in aid of relevant charities. There are lots of ideas in the Calendar, including:

    International Women’s Day – in coordination with your Women’s Rep (if your Common Room has one) celebrate famous women and their achievements (maybe with decor around these people) and raise awareness of specific issues affecting women. Try to avoid an overly-pink theme...

    Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October) – here, a pink theme is almost required! Try pink table decorations, or even pink food.

    Children in Need – decorate tables with baby photos of people in college, so guests can try to guess who they are.

  3. Other annual events, or to fit with other events you might run. As well as the events on the Calendar consider:

    Burns Night with traditional Scottish food (cock-a-leekie soup, Haggis, neeps and tatties and even whiskey) - try to find someone to pipe in the Haggis and say the “Address to a Haggis”. You could follow this with a ceilidh.

    Halloween formal with “spooky” themed food and decorate the room by displaying pumpkins you’ve carved at another event.

    Valentine’s Day - theme decorations around Valentine’s with hearts; hand out roses ordered anonymously, or organise for people to be serenaded upon request.

Things to think about

Negotiation - you’ll need to negotiate any arrangements with both respective colleges, or (if it’s a themed formal at your own college) by talking to Hall and kitchen staff. Some will be very cooperative, but that does vary by college.

Payment - for formal swaps, how people will pay depends on your Hall booking system, and whether it can be opened up to students of another college. For formals at your own college, it would be easiest to ask the college to charge more and send the extra to you; otherwise, you could ask for donations from people on their way out.

Details - make sure everyone attending knows the cost, dress code and whether alcohol has to be bought there or is BYOB.

Dietary requirements - If required, make sure you know these in advance and can inform the kitchen

Timing - RAG organizes university-wide Formal Hall Surfing as well, so check that your formal hall swap does not clash with this

 

Music Festival

Invite bands to your college grounds and sell tickets to students for a day (or night) of live music!

Specific ideas

  1. Theme the event. For instance, Wadham College organises Queerfest (with a LGBTQ focus) and Wadstock that are annual fixtures for the college.
  2. Take inspiration from other music events, such as St Anne’s musical revue.

Things to think about

This is a big event, but a great one to organise.  It might be worth setting up a committee.

Bands - consider asking student bands or groups; these are likely to be cheaper and may even be free, and groups such as Out of the Blue, In the Pink, and The Oxford Gargoyles will draw crowds. Consider more obscure groups like The Society of Oxford Ukulele Players.

Target audience - consider who you’re trying to attract (whether you’re looking outside of college or even outside of the university) and what kind of music will appeal to the greatest number.

Capacity - you’ll want to maximise attendance, but consider the maximum number of people that your venue can safely hold. Use social media to gauge the level of interest.

Ticket price - a lot of your revenue will come from ticket sales, so setting the right price is important to cover the costs of inviting bands and hosting the event.

Ticket sales - ensure ticket sales are conducted in an ordered, legal way. You could sell tickets online, or at certain times in the days leading up to the event.

Technical equipment - you’ll need some equipment, such as audio-visual equipment, lighting, barriers, and a way to address the crowds in the case of an emergency. Consider enlisting the help of specialised music production companies if fixing the technical aspects of a music festival is too overwhelming- colleges might be able to direct you to the appropriate people in Oxford

Other facilities - festival attendees will require toilets, rubbish bins, and refreshments. You might also consider marquees, and setting up a first-aid post or lost child post if there’ll be families attending. For a list of companies in Oxford you could contact for handling different segments (like production, marquees etc) see the ‘Contacts’ section.

Contingencies - plan for as many things as possible that can go wrong, from last minute band cancellations to bad weather; consider sheltering the performers under a marquee in case it rains

Photography - you could hire professional photographers to work the event and make it memorable for everyone involved! Oxford University Photography Society, a student-run group, is worth contacting (on photographic.society@studentclubs.ox.ac.uk), or there are plenty of professional photographers based around Oxford, such as Oliver Robinson Photography.

There are plenty of resources online (like www.artsderbyshire.org.uk/images/festival-and-event-planning-tool-kit_tcm40-223120.pdf) to help you plan a music festival!

Requirements

You may not need any special licenses, but this depends on what licenses the venue already holds, whether you’re planning to sell alcohol and how many people attend; see the ‘Good to Know - Entertainment Licences’ section for more guidance.

Make sure you have college’s permission to host an event of this scale if you’re planning to use college grounds. Many colleges will want to be involved in the planning, and they may be able to provide resources to support you.

There are regulations surrounding copyright when live or recorded music is played in public; see the ‘Good to Know - Entertainment Licences’ section for further information.

 

Open Mic Nights & Comedy Nights

Showcase the talent of your college by organising an open-mic night in your college’s Common Room or bar, and donate profits from ticket sales to your chosen charity. 

Specific ideas

  1. Comedy nights, acoustic nights, nights when everything goes - you could hold an open night  regularly in your college and vary the theme each time to keep it interesting
  2. Like music festivals, consider getting student-run music and comedy groups (like the Oxford Imps)  or performers from your college before trying to enlist external bands or groups. College Comedy Night (CollegeComedyNights@gmail.com) will run events for free and have been used by a lot of common rooms for fundraising.
  3. You could organise the night around a theme or cause; see the Calendar for some ideas. 

Things to think about

Theme - is it going to be a night of poetry, music or a mix of everything? Decide this before asking for performers, or see what kinds of things your volunteers offer.

Equipment - you may need technical equipment to support your performers, depending on what they’re doing and the size of the venue. Will you provide this or do they have their own? Consider audio-visual equipment and how people will be seated.

Raising money - you could raise money through selling tickets or asking for donations on the door with a recommended donation.  You could also run a raffle or sell other things (food or drink)  throughout the night.

Publicity - make sure people know about it! Consider posting flyers around college or using social media, which gives the additional advantage of allowing you to estimate how many people will be attending your event.

There are plenty of resources online (like https://www.heritageopendays.org.uk/uploads/_document-library/How_to_run_an_Open_Mic.pdf) that you could use to plan an open mic night!

 

Pub Quiz

Organise a quiz, and charge an entry fee for those participating in it to raise money. Or you can consider charging higher prices at the college bar if you hold it there. 

Specific ideas

  1. Themes - consider books and movies (for example, some colleges had a James Bond themed quiz when Spectre was released) or theming the event around things on the Calendar.
  2. Include a round where each team gets a tin to put coins in and the team with the heaviest tin gets three extra points.
  3. Instead of a one-off quiz, you could organise this as a knock-out tournament (like University Challenge) or have a team leaderboard - this might encourage teams to keep coming back
  4. Other entertainment nights could be based around game show formats. St Hilda’s ran a spoof Take Me Out evening with a recommended donation at the door that was really successful; Blind Date, Countdown or The Chase could also work. 

Things to think about

Venue - your Common Room or college bar are good places to start, and will be informal enough, but consider what size room you’ll need and how teams should be seated to prevent cheating!

Participants - how many people are you hoping will participate, and how large will the teams be? Will it be only students, or could you pit students against college staff or fellows?

Format - will the quiz be written down, with answers marked by other teams each round, or a buzzer-style quiz like University Challenge?

Equipment - the requirements are minimal, but you’ll want either pen and paper or buzzers.

Entry fee and prizes - you’ll probably charge an entry fee to teams or individuals that enter, and offer a prize for the winner; you might also offer a prize for the team second-from-last to keep flagging teams interested. Consider how much you charge compared to how “good” the prize is; if you’re quiz is interesting enough, you might only need a small prize to incentivise people to join in.

Questions - consider the question format (open-ended, multiple choice etc.) and who will write them. There are quizzes available online but you might want to make the content more specific to your college, and make sure the topics are appropriate for your audience.

You could raise additional revenue by:

Running a raffle, selling tickets on the door as people arrive. Draw and announce the winners at the end of the interval

Sell drinks, alcoholic or otherwise

Running a bake sale

Time the event to maximise attendance - it could be one of the non-drinking nights organised during Freshers’ Week (and a good way to break the ice!) or after a formal dinner.

There are plenty of resources online  to help you plan a pub quiz! For somewhere to start: https://www.amnesty.org.uk/sites/default/files/sfr_guide_how_to_plan_a_pub_quiz.pdf

 

Sports/Video Game Tournaments

Organise a sports or a video game tournament, and raise money from it by charging participants or teams to enter.

Specific ideas

What you can do depends massively on what facilities you have access to, but you could consider:

  1. Table tennis (very easy to organise if you have a table!)
  2. Video games, particularly FIFA or Super Mario, depending on which games and games console you can access.
  3. Bar games - pool, table football or darts.
  4. Board games - chess, monopoly or an epic game of Risk.
  5. Sports - football, netball, tennis and squash are all popular in some colleges.
  6. Lawn sports - during Trinity, consider croquet (which is played in teams) or hoopla. 

Things to think about

Event - consider what kind of tournament will attract the most interest, and what facilities you have available.  Is there any sport or video game particularly popular in your college? Do you have access to the necessary facilities e.g. sports facilities or a games room?

Raising money - you’ll probably charge participants a small entry fee to join in, but if the event is popular, you could also target refreshments to the audience, or run some kind of sweepstake to keep interest high.

Format - it could be a day-long event, or spread over the term; it could be a knockout tournament, or have groups and stages if you’ve got enough participants.

Prizes - will there be a reward for winners, or is the glory of victory enough reward? You could post photos of the winners in your Common Room.

 

Raise awareness as well as money by encouraging individuals to make pledges and seek sponsorship in aid of charities. You can support individuals who have their own plans, or a particular cause in mind, or try to get as many people involved in a new challenge as possible.

Specific ideas

There are loads of ideas in the Calendar for events that you could theme pledges or sponsored events around, and there’s more inspiration online, but some popular ideas include:  

  1. Hair for Hope - participants shave their hair to show solidarity with cancer patients and this hair is donated to charities who make it into wigs for sufferers. Sponsorship money can also be raised and donated to charities that support cancer patients or cancer research.
  2. Dry January - people commit to not drinking alcohol during the month of January; this brings health benefits, but can also involve sponsorship, raising money for Alcohol Concern. Instead, people could go without other things (like cigarettes or chocolate) and donate money they would otherwise have spent on these things.
  3. Encourage people to get involved with central RAG events.

Things to think about

Theme - what issue do you want to raise awareness and money for, and does this lend itself to a specific fundraising event?

Sponsors - you’ll want to find plenty of sponsors, but if lots of people in your Common Room are undertaking the same challenge, you might need to look outside of college for more support.

Format - will there be a big event that concludes the sponsorship period (like the running of a marathon) or will it be an ongoing scheme throughout term time?

Prizes - you could incentivise people to get more sponsors by offering a small prize (or the glory of announcing it to the Common Room) for the person who raises the most money.

Payment - can you take sponsorship on battels?  People are much more likely to pay if they just have to send an email

 

Fair

This could take any number of formats, but basically entails organising a large, mostly outdoor event with stalls offering games and refreshments.

Specific ideas

  1. Instead of a fair, you could hold a garden party; this is likely to have fewer stalls, more focus on Pimms and maybe even champagne. Consider providing lawn sports such as croquet or a live band to entertain your guests, and whether you’d like to set a dress code.
  2. You could have a bake-off where participants can sell their cakes. Prizes could be handed out to those who raise the most money.
  3. Consider theming the event; Corpus Christi has an annual Tortoise fair, with the main event being a race between the college tortoise and other local tortoises.
  4. Promote the event to the wider community; consider newspaper advertisements or contacting local schools. If your event happens every year (like Magdalen’s Batwillow Palooza) local families will know about it. Try to get featured in the paper after the event to boost the event’s profile.
  5. Consider other  attractions, such as bouncy castles and zorbing - these could be big draws.
  6. Couple it with other events like a balloon release or a coin trail. 

Things to think about

Venue - ideally outdoors and on college premises to make it more likely your Common Room will attend, although consider non-college venues or public spaces. If it’s going to be in college, talk to college well in advance - they’ll want to be involved and might be able to help.

Raising money - you’ll probably want to charge entry, so will you sell tickets in advance or have a walk-in event? Lots of your revenue is likely to come from stalls inside, running games and selling refreshments (with a barbecue, bake sale and drinks stand).

Numbers - consider what capacity your venue has, and so how widely you want to promote the event. Use social media to gauge interest, although bear in mind that many people click “attending” but may change their mind, especially if the weather is poor.

Weather - the success of outdoor events is really dependent upon good weather. Try to find a backup indoor venue if possible, or only buy supplies once you’ve some idea what the weather will be like.

Photography - consider hiring a photographer to cover the event.

There are many resources online (like www.thebiglunch.com/join-in/download-resources.php) or try contacting colleges which hold regular events for some advice.

Requirements

For big events, consider fire safety and setting up first aid posts.

If you’ve got children attending, consider setting up a “lost child” post and the consent you might need to take and use photographs.

Depending on the venue and the scale of the event, you might need to give a Temporary Event Notice to sell alcohol or put on live music. (See the ‘Good to Know’ section about licenses).

For all of these considerations, check the ‘Good to Know’ section for more guidance and advice

 

Pantomime

Recruit students and staff to put on a pantomime during term time. Raise money through charging entry or combinining it with another fundraising idea.

Specific ideas

  1. The script is crucial, and could satirise college life or make jokes which college members will particularly appreciate.
  2. Consider making this an annual event to increase the profile of the event and get more attendees - Brasenose puts on an annual pantomime at the end of every Michaelmas, which is really successful.
  3. If possible, you could try to recruit non-student members of college to take part as well to make the event more inclusive - the Bursar as the dame could add humour.
  4. Consider selling tickets outside of college to increase attendance; this will depend on how college-specific the humour is.
  5. You could incorporate a pantomime as one part of a sequence of performances in a larger event.

Things to think about

Venue - does your college have suitable venue (like the auditorium) where such a production can be staged? If not, consider using your hall with high table as the stage, other colleges, and non-college venues like the Town Hall, or the Burton Taylor studio.

Volunteers - you’ll probably need lots of help; you’ll want to hold auditions to find performers, and might want help writing the script, designing costumes and sets and directing the production. You might also need people on lighting and audio. If you have a college drama society, or know anyone involved with University drama productions, they’re a good place to start.

Facilities - as well as props, costumes and stage dressing, you’ll need to think about lighting and maybe audio equipment.

You could  raise additional revenue by:

Running a raffle, selling tickets on the door as people arrive. Draw and announce the winners at the end of the interval.

Sell drinks, alcoholic or otherwise, or ice cream during the interval

Running a bake sale

There are plenty of resources online (such as www.thestage.co.uk/advice/how-to/2015/phil-willmott-how-to-write-a-pantomime/) that can help you organise a successful pantomime, and student-run drama groups would also helpful.

Requirements

Depending on the venue, you might need to obtain a Temporary Event Notice to play music or sell alcohol; many venues already hold the right licences so its worth checking with them first; see the ‘Good to Know - Entertainment Licences’ section for more details.

If you’re including characters performing genders other than their own,  be sensitive to concerns of the LGBTQ+ and cultural communities about negative or mocking portrayals.

 

Ceilidh

Originally the word Ceilidh (kay-lee) descended from the Gaelic word for “gathering” or “party’”, but there are now Scottish, Irish and English variants, and they usually entail a night of dancing. There’s often a live band, and a “dance caller” who may teach the steps to Ceilidh, set and couple dance so everyone can get involved. To get an idea of what a Ceilidh is like, attend one where Oxford University Ceilidh Band play (advertised on their website http://www.ouceilidhband.org/) or they’re hosted monthly from October to May by OxFolk, in Kennington, with tickets costing £7 to students (http://www.oxfolk.org.uk/). Ceilidhs can make for a really fun evening, and raise lots of money through ticket sales (in advance or on the door) and selling refreshments or running a raffle.

Specific Ideas

  1. Barnardo’s Scotland help to run a nationwide collection of ceilidhs taking place on or around Universal Children’s Day on the 20th November. They provide information on hosting an event to raise money to support vulnerable children here: https://www.barnardos.org.uk/get_involved/events/ceilidh.htm
  2. You could link with a Ceilidh in with Burns Night (25th January) or St. Patrick’s Day (17th March), although ceilidh bands are likely to be in high demand around these dates.

Things to think about

Music - you could hire a live band, or play recorded music. Oxford University Ceilidh Band (OUCB) can be booked for a fee, and also take a limited number of charity ceilidh bookings during Oxford term time for which they do not charge (for those, you need to email oxfordceilidhband@gmail.com before the start of the term); there are more details on their website.

Caller - you’ll also probably want a caller to lead the dances, who’ll need to be booked. OUCB provide a caller, as do many other ceilidh bands.

Venue - this needs to have enough floor space for people to dance without feeling cramped. A good guideline is to base this on everyone standing with their arms outstretched. If there’s  nowhere available in college, you could consider:

Corpus Christi College Auditorium - where OUCB have their rehearsals)

Oxford University Catholic Chaplaincy, St. Aldates - a large hall, available for hire at discounted rates for student groups

You could  raise additional revenue by:

Running a raffle, selling tickets on the door as people arrive. Draw and announce the winners at the end of the interval.

Sell drinks, alcoholic or otherwise

Running a bake sale

Time the event to maximise attendance - it could be an alternative to a bop, one of the non-drinking nights organised during Freshers’ Week (and a good way to break the ice!) or put it on after a formal dinner.

Requirements

If you’re playing recorded music or have a live band, you’ll need to check whether you need to give a Temporary Event Notice - this depends on the number attending and whether you’re venue is licensed. You also need to check if the venue (or the band) pays fees to the Performing Rights Society. See the ‘Good to Know - Entertainment Licences’ section for more information.

If you’re selling alcohol and the venue isn’t licensed, you will need to give a Temporary Event Notice. Refer to the ‘Good to Know - Alcohol and Entertainment Licences’ sections for more information.

 

When the next bop night or club outing is held, consider charging (higher) ticket prices. Note that students aren't used to paying for entry to a bop or party held in college so this could be a bit difficult but you could consider voluntary donations, or holding a night at another venue (such as an independent club night) in collaboration with your Common Room Entz team.

Specific Ideas

  1. You could theme the night by music type, for instance with only music from a certain decade or a countdown through the decades each hour. The Unity Week (held jointly by Corpus Christi, Exeter, Pembroke and Trinity JCRs) ended with a bop at Warehouse, with a playlist themed to represent artists from different minority groups.
  2. Consider a costumed event, to fit with the music theme, or with people pairing up to buy costumes for each other from charity shops.
  3. If you’re not allowed to hold bops in college during examination periods to avoid disturbing Finalists, consider holding an “out-of-college” bop at a club instead

Things to think about

Venue - it’s often possible to use night-clubs as venues, either by renting the whole venue and selling tickets, or arranging to take a cut of the money the venue takes on the door. In the last few years, such events have been held in Cellar, Plush and Warehouse, but you could approach any venue.

Tickets - decide whether to sell tickets in advance or charge entry on the door. It’s easier to control numbers and who is attending if you sell the tickets, but you’ll miss out on some people.

Audience - will it be just for people from your college, run with other colleges, open to all Oxford students, or even to the public? Consider the size of your college relative to the venue.

Collaboration - to attract more people, consider setting up a club night together with other colleges, especially when renting out a venue, so as to minimise your costs. 

Requirements

Be clear about your arrangements with any venues in advance - how will any proceeds be split and what will happen if there’s any damage caused at the venue? Nightclub staff can be hard to track down after the event, so try to get things sorted on the night (and stay sober if you’re the one responsible for the money!)

You may want to promote the event with drinks deals, but beware of promoting excessive drinking and that the content of any promotions or themes are appropriate.

A nightclub is likely to ID, but not all venues will have this in place as standard - check whether you need to consider making arrangements for any students who are under-18

 

Fashion Show

Organise a fashion show and raise money by charging entry and/or selling drinks or other items at the event. It’s likely to involve coordinating lots of volunteers and can have many elements, but with enough planning and help it can be a really successful fundraiser and a lot of fun. If you’re in a small college, you could team up with another college, or try to get involved in a bigger event - RAG have organised fashion shows in the past.

Specific ideas

  1. Environmental theme – all outfits could be made from recycled materials, like newspapers and plastic bottles.
  2. Price limit – instead, you could limit spending on any outfit to the same (low) amount, or insist that all items of clothing are bought from charity shops.
  3. Donate clothes to charity at the end, or auction them off for extra revenue.
  4. You could link this with a “clothes swap” event - people pay to attend, bring along some unwanted clothes, and get to take home as many items as they brought (or more if they buy extra tokens and you have the stock). Any leftover clothes can be donated to charity shops. 

Things to think about

Basics - you’ll need to source clothes and recruit models, but also to consider staging, lighting and music.

Volunteers - as there are so many things to organise, try to get an organising team or committee together and assign these to different roles. You could try to team up with Oxford Fashion Society, or look into working with local sixth form colleges which have fashion students.

Judges - you’ll need to recruit judges to choose the best outfits and models. Consider asking local dignitaries or individuals like the college President if they’d be willing to volunteer.

Venue - this needs to be reasonably specialised; it should ideally have a raised platform, but any stage would do. Consider college auditoriums, local schools or Oxford Town Hall, which is where RAG’s Fashion Show was held.

Raising money - as well as charging for entry, you could raise additional revenue by selling refreshments, with a bake sale or bar on the side, or running a raffle.

Interval - during the interval, consider putting on some live music or a comedy act to keep the crowd entertained.

There are several resources online (such as https://www.amnesty.org.uk/files/sfr_guide_how_to_plan_a_fashion_show.pdf) that can help you to organise a fashion show.

Requirements

Make sure in advance that your models are happy to be photographed, and check the law surrounding photographing anyone who’s under 18.

Whether you need to apply for a specific Temporary Event License to serve alcohol depends on the venue you choose - refer to the ‘Good to Know’ - Entertainment Licences section for more information.

If you’re serving hot food, consider good food hygiene practices.

If you’re playing pre-recorded music, consider whether the venue has licenses from the PRS; music artists are often due a cut if their music is played in public.

As with any large event, consider fire safety, first aid and performing a risk assessment - again, refer to the ‘Good to Know - Health and Safety’ section for more guidance.

 

Tasting Evening

Put on an evening where people can taste or try different foods and drinks; charge for entry to cover costs and raise money.

Specific Ideas

  1. Cheese – this shouldn’t take too much specialist knowledge, but a few lines of information on each cheese would be good; if you buy cheeses from the Oxford Cheese Company in the Covered market, they should be able to help with this. Crackers, grapes and port make good accompaniments.
  2. Wine – requires a bit more specialist knowledge but you may know someone who’s able to help, and it’s certainly something people often want to try.
  3. Whiskey - you could try to run this yourself, or the Whiskey Shop offers to host tastings in colleges, although they’re likely to charge and any charity donation would need discussing in advance
  4. Inviting an interesting speaker might help draw in the crowds - Corpus Christi Cheese Society recently hosted Philip Pullman, making it a really popular event
  5. You could consider hiring a private company (like http://www.thirtyfifty.co.uk/wine-tasting-parties-homepage.asp ) to come to your college and host a private tasting event- this option gives members of your college a more polished experience, but will be more expensive!

Things to think about

Venue - many venues will be appropriate, from Common Rooms to other function rooms in college, but make sure it’s somewhere you can charge for entry or participation.

Tickets - consider whether you want to sell tickets in advance to gauge numbers (making buying the right amount of  things to try easier) or whether to go for a more informal arrangement with people paying on arrival.

Frequency - you could make this a regular event in college, running it weekly, fortnightly, or termly, making it easier to promote and getting “regulars” who always want to attend.

Requirements

Ensure those drinking are at least 18 years old.

Be conscious of food hygiene, particularly storing cheeses properly. See the 'Good to Know - Food' section for more information

 

Raffles

Gather lots of items from students, the college and local shops or charities and sell tickets to students. They are good to run in combination with other fundraising events, but can easily be set up as events in their own right. 

Specific Ideas

  1. Try putting a hamper of prizes behind your college bar and persuading your bar to sell tickets.
  2. Alternatively you could sell tickets via email if you can put payment on to battels. This might work especially well if you have some big prizes. 
  3. You can couple a raffle with pretty much any other event if you’re going to have lots of people there. You could have a raffle at a Common Room election, Christmas formal or boat race.

Things to think about

Prizes - will you pay for prizes out of the money raised or will you try and get donations from students or local businesses? RAG has collected a list of businesses around Oxford that give out prizes if theyre for a charity event. 

Tickets - consider whether you want to sell tickets over a period of time or if you want to sell them on a single evening. If you can put payment on battels, you can increase the chance that people will buy more tickets as they do not have to pay immediately.

Prize draw - when will you select the winners?

Requirements

Make sure you read the information on Lotteries in the ‘Good to Know - Gambling’ section