Improving the Safety of Your Fundraising Event
Improving the Safety of Your Fundraising Event
Fundraising events are an important part of any nonprofit’s business model. They can give the public some fun experiences while also reiterating the importance of donations. Events can also serve as a forum through which to raise awareness of and funds for specific projects.
Yet, your ability to bring in donations can’t be the only consideration here. By inviting large numbers of people to join you in spending time in a venue you also have a responsibility for their safety. This includes everything from minimizing the physical hazards to ensuring donor information stays secure.
This can be challenging to achieve. So, let’s take a look at how you can improve the safety of your fundraising event.
The first step to improving the safety of your fundraising event is to perform a thorough risk assessment. It’s difficult to effectively safeguard against problems unless you have a good understanding of what they are. There will be some more general risks, such as the potential for injuries or damage. However, there are also likely to be issues specific to the type of event you’re running, such as security risks associated with silent auction checkouts.
Wherever possible, involve members of staff from all departments of your event operations in your risk assessment. This should include representatives from logistics, marketing, information technology (IT), and entertainment management, among others. Each will have insights into the types of risks that could arise in their area of expertise during the fundraising event. They’re also likely to be able to provide the best ideas for solutions to these issues.
Hiring qualified security personnel can be a costly endeavor. However, in the right circumstances, they can play an invaluable role in improving the safety of your fundraising event. If your event is hosting more than 20 people, it is likely that bringing on a security team is in your best interests.
Firstly, they assist in crowd management. A large number of people in an enclosed space can be a recipe for injuries and chaos. A solid security team can help you direct the flow of people throughout the venue and ensure that problematic situations are handled swiftly and effectively.
Importantly, a fundraiser is an event in which you’re hoping large amounts of money will be changing hands. The last thing you want is for guests to experience the theft of their cash, credit cards, or personal information. Not to mention that such issues could be disastrous for your reputation. A security team can monitor the event floor, protect the areas in which you’re storing donated cash, and apprehend any thieves.
Health must be a key safety consideration when planning your fundraising event. There will be a lot of people spending time together in the same space. Unfortunately, unless you take solid health precautions your fundraiser could also be a spreader event, particularly for viruses such as influenza, the common cold, and COVID-19.
Provide resources that help staff and attendees stay healthy. This can include posting hand sanitizer stations throughout the venue. While it can be difficult to insist on attendees wearing masks, you can encourage them to do so in your marketing materials and even provide masks to those who wish to wear them.
Remember that vaccinations are a key tool against the worst effects of viruses. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the COVID-19 booster shot in 2021, including those produced by Moderna, Pfizer-BioNtech, and Johnson & Johnson. Even mixing and matching these vaccines is known to be effective. It’s worth encouraging staff and attendees to get their booster if they haven’t already. This helps to keep the event and everyone attending safer.
It’s important to understand that not all the safety risks at a fundraising event are physical in nature. In our increasingly technologically reliant world, some of the main issues you need to prepare for are digital. You, therefore, need to ensure that your event has sufficient cybersecurity safeguards in place.
Make certain that your wireless network at the event utilizes strong password protocols. If you want to provide internet access to attendees, you should offer a separate guest network wherever possible. Don’t neglect the security protocols for each device staff is using at the event, from wireless checkouts to ticket scanners. Make certain each of these has encryption activated to prevent hackers from using them to piggyback into your network.
Alongside the technological security tools, you should also consider your event staff’s behavior. Provide cybersecurity training to each member of personnel before the event. This should include direction on safely handling donor information and how to recognize hacking attempts. You should also advise against using personal devices on event networks. Even if they’ve been provided with this training previously, a refresher helps bolster the cyber safety of your event.
It’s vital to ensure safety at any fundraising event. Taking the time to perform a thorough risk assessment allows you to identify and plan for all types of hazards. Investing in security personnel and taking health precautions both have roles to play in ensuring a positive experience for everyone. Remember that strong cybersecurity protocols mitigate the growing digital safety issues at events. While taking these steps requires additional investment and focus, they help to protect your donors, staff, and your organization from potential harm.