Guidance

How to Organise .......

A frequent requirement of groups is to organise events, and trips and visits using a variety of transport methods. This page provides information, guidance and examples of how this can be done.

General Guidance on Organising Events

Planning the event

1. Consider why you are running the event.  Is it for fun – to raise funds – a thank you?  Make sure everyone knows and agrees the objectives.

2. Decide the broad parameters, what, when, where, who.  Is this a small event just for your group or for all LALG members, or also for the general public?

3. Organise the team. 

  • What roles do you need to cover?
  • How many people will you need?
  • Is it all on the day or are there some advance jobs?
  • Make sure you have people to help clear up.

4. Set the date.

  • Check the LALG calendar for any clashes.
  • Check team availability.
  • Check for any other big events in the town eg satellite screening at Broadway cinema.

5. Draw up a preliminary budget.  You should have an idea of how much you want to charge which will then influence other decisions.  LALG members should receive a lower price than members of the public.

6. How many people do you need to make it viable?  What is the upper limit to numbers?

7. Find a venue

Link to the venue section in the guidance

  • Check what is included in the cost, e.g. kitchen facilities.
  • Do they have enough chairs/tables and other equipment you need?
  • Do they have a sound system/microphone/projector?  Ask the caretaker to explain how it works.
  • Do they have crockery, glasses and cutlery?
  • When will you get access, and do you need to vacate by a given time?
  • People with Disabilities.  LALG activities should be accessible to all so check access, toilet facilities and car parking.
  • Ask who cleans up, if it is you (it often is) where do they keep the cleaning equipment?
  • Ask if you can use the stage, if you need to?
  • Are there any restrictions for example on the use of alcohol, gambling etc?

8. Find and engage the person(s) who will provide the entertainment – the quizmaster, dance caller, speaker etc. 

  • Do they need any equipment?
  • Access to electrical sockets?
  • Access to sound system?
  • Where will they load and unload?

9. Decide if you will provide refreshments e.g.

  • Hot drinks and biscuits only.
  • A finger buffet.
  • Will the venue provide food/drink at a cost?
  • Alcohol and soft drinks, some supermarkets provide a glass loan service if you buy alcohol.
  • Bought in items such as fish and chips.
  • Remember to cater for people with allergies/food preferences.
  • Decide who will oversee catering and agree who will provide food, drink, crockery, cutlery, napkins, condiments etc.

10. If you intend to sell alcohol or provide it as part of the cost of a ticket you may need an alcohol licence. 

11. If you wish to play music you need to consider whether you need to pay for a PRS/PPL licence.  Your venue may already be registered and the cost will often be part of the hire fee but if not you will usually need ‘TheMusicLicence’.

12. Raffles.  Not all venues allow raffles so you should check this.  Decide who will:

  • Provide prizes.
  • Buy the cloakroom tickets.
  • Organise the float.
  • Sell tickets on the day.
  • Decide whether you will take people’s phone numbers in case they are not around when the raffle is drawn, how you will hand over the prizes and how you will destroy the tickets afterwards. Or just restrict to people still in attendance.
  • If you intend to sell tickets other than on the day of the draw you will need a Small Society Registration from the local council in accordance with the Gambling Act 2005. https://www.north-herts.gov.uk/home/licensing/gambling-and-lotteries/small-society-lotteries The production of a specific Guide ‘How to Run a Lottery’ is planned.
  • If raffles are not permitted, you may find that ‘guess the weight of the cake’ or similar is an acceptable substitute as it not purely a game of chance.

13. Public Liability and other insurance. 

  • Check what insurance cover is held by the premises. 
  • Check what LALG Insurance covers.
  • Do you need any other insurance, for example to cover cancellation charges by the venue or performer if the event cannot go ahead for any reason?

14. Decide how many tickets need to be sold to make the event viable.  

  • Will you accept people ‘on the door’ or advance sales only?
  • The Tourist Information Centre provides a booking service. link to guidance.
  • You should decide who on the team will be the contact for the event and the ticket manager.
  • Put a checkpoint in your diary to see if you have sold enough and to cancel if necessary. 
  • Have a refund policy – depending on costs etc it could be that refunds will be given only when all tickets have been sold.

15. Have a plan for cancellations.

  • Ask LALG publicity to put a notice on the website and social media.
  • Consider putting cancelled stickers on all posters.
  • You could ask the TIC to collect phone numbers when they sell tickets for you to ring, but remember to handle the data in accordance with GDPR guidance link.

16. Publicity: Contact LALG publicity for advice.  They can help with:

  • Posters
  • Tickets
  • Programmes
  • Advice on where to promote the event
  • Newsletter copy.

17. Carry out safety checks (also known as risk assessment)

  • It is a requirement of LALG insurance that the organiser of any event has thought about potential problems and planned for them.
  • There is a checklist to help you here add link – not yet written!
  • Copy it to the team.

18. When you have determined all the costs you need to draw up a final budget.  It is a good idea to include a contingency for unexpected costs or a shortfall in ticket sales.

19. Confirm with the venue and the performer and enter into a contract with them.  Make sure you understand when and how you must pay and what cancellation charges may apply.

20. Decide how you will fund any deposits if they are needed before ticket sales.  The LALG Treasurer can offer guidance.

21. Keep in contact with the venue, performer and your team so you can check everything is on track and ensure no misunderstandings

 

On the Day

22. Arrange to collect the keys/have the venue opened so that you have enough time to set up.  Have a contact number for emergencies. 

  • Arrange seating and tables if used.
  • Organise refreshments.
  • Meet and greet performer and help set up/give access to equipment.
  • Front of house – ticketing, programmes, name badges, registration sheets, pens.
  • Set up raffle.

23. Check the emergency exits, fire extinguishers, first aid kit, position of toilets and other public facilities.  Evacuation procedures/assembly point should be given by the venue. Announce this at the start of the event.

24. Registration.  The ticket manager (and team) should:

  • Check tickets at the door if they have been issued.
  • Sell tickets if appropriate, have an agreed float of small denomination coin and notes.
  • Or take a list of people attending the event, checking LALG membership if necessary.
  • Provide name badges, if needed.
  • Hand out programmes or other material.
  • Make sure you know how many people are at the event so you can do a head count if evacuated.

25. Have an agreed chair to open the event, give notices, keep things on track, close and thank the participants and organisers.

26. If you have ordered outside catering have an agreed time and place for delivery and a contact number in case of emergency.

27. Agree how any money collected will be handled and subsequently accounted for.

28. At the end:

  • Put away furniture and equipment as agreed with the venue.
  • Collect and dispose of rubbish.
  • Leave the venue clean and tidy, including the kitchen.
  • Lock up and return keys unless this is done by a caretaker for the venue.

29. Thank those who have helped make the event a success.

30. And remember - if something does go wrong then nobody has probably noticed – only you knew what was supposed to happen, everyone else just came along and had a lovely time!

The Tourist Information Centre (TIC) on Station Road provides a free and highly competent Booking Office service. They can either sell tickets for you or collect names of people interested in a trip.  Please help staff by approaching them in good time.

Selling tickets

  • Agree arrangements before the first publicity of the event;
  • Print out enough tickets. A template is available from the Publicity Chair. You might wish to number them. Include the member and non-member price;
  • Provide a TIC Booking sheet, with details of the event, refund conditions/deadline and a contact number for staff in case of questions. Include a column for the number of tickets bought, amount paid, the buyer’s name, and their membership number. 
  • Periodically call at the TIC with ID to collect the takings and ask for a copy of bookings so far. Please let them know the day before so that they can be ready;
  • Pass takings to the LALG Treasurer if applicable.  Cheques should have the event name written on the back.

Collecting Names

If you are using TIC to collect names of people potentially interested in an activity:

  • Agree arrangements before the first publicity of the event;
  • Provide a TIC Booking sheet, with details of the event, and a contact number for staff in case of questions;
  • Make sure that you ask for Member’s details, so you can contact them to advise if the event is happening;
  • The TIC will also act as a collection point for cheques for the event, if it goes ahead.  Alternatively, people can pay direct to the LALG bank account.  Contact the LALG Treasurer for details of how to do this.

How to Organise an Event with a Speaker

This guidance gives advice on the things you should consider when organising an event with a speaker.  Click here for general guidance on how to organise an event.

  1. Decide on the topic – is this part of a series of events such as Members Meetings or a one off?  Does this coincide with a special event such as an anniversary?
  2. Decide on the audience – is this for all LALG, your own group or open to the public.
  3. What can you afford to pay?  Put this in your budget.
  4. Where will you find the speaker? Perhaps:
  • A volunteer.
  • A member of a LALG or another local group.
  • Word of mouth recommendation.
  • Someone from a charity, place of interest, local business, university, public institution.
  • Look on-line - for example https://local-history.co.uk/lhspeakers.html gives lists of local history speakers.
  • Speakernet  https://speakernet.co.uk/talks aims to link speakers to an audience – at a price!
  • Other websites are available using search facilities.
  1. When you know the topic, audience, place, date, time and what you can afford to pay contact the speaker and agree terms.
  2. You will need to confirm:
  •  Availability.
  •  Cost.
  • The length of the talk and whether questions will be at the end or during the presentation.
  • Any equipment needed, including access to IT, microphone and projection.
  • How and when to make payment, is a deposit needed?
  1. Put the terms you have agreed in writing.  This may be a simple email or a more formal contract depending on circumstances.
  2. Before the event contact the speaker to reconfirm the arrangements.  Provide a map to the venue.  It will be helpful for the speaker to know something about the event and LALG beforehand.
  3. On the day be on hand to welcome, provide refreshments and help set up.
  4. Find out a few key things so that you can introduce the speaker appropriately.
  5. Manage the time, make sure things do not overrun and that the audience has opportunity to engage.
  6. At the end thank the speaker and allow the audience to show their appreciation.  The speaker may be willing to stay on for individual questions - check this out.
  7. Help the speaker remove any equipment.
  8. Make payment as agreed.
  9. After the event send a written thank you.  You never know you - or another LALG group - might want to use them again.

How to organise a coach trip or holiday

  • Work out a budget and a timetable so that you have sufficient time to publicise your plans and to collect money etc. Budget for being 80% full.
  • Check the proposed date on the LALG calendar to avoid any clashes.
  • Consider using the Booking Office service offered by the Tourist Information Centre (TIC).
  • Have all arrangements and costs with providers confirmed in writing.
  • Give the LALG Treasurer at least a week’s notice of any advance payments (deposits etc.) or to provide funds for payments needed on the day.
  • Make clear your cancellation policy and deadline (e.g. only refund if substitute found or no loss incurred).
  • Charge non-members of LALG more than members and arrange that booking is open to members earlier than non-members.
  • Maintain simple but clear accounts and submit a final statement to the LALG Treasurer.  See also Finance (in menu on the left).
  • Have cheques made payable to “LALG” with the event name on the back.
  • When booking a coach, check that the driver knows the route and whether they have been there before. Provide written instructions (preferably with a map) on the precise location of the venue and coach parking facilities.
  • Exchange mobile phone numbers with the driver.
  • Once on the coach identify yourself as the leader. It is best to use the PA system and to make sure that you are audible.
  • Ensure that passengers are clear about the time and location for departure on all legs of the journey. It may be advisable to stand at the coach door and remind people as they disembark. Remember timings are longer with a coach-load of people.
  • Give passengers a handout beforehand, and again on the day listing:
    • All key timings, venues and activities
    • Arrangements regarding food
    • Mobile phone number of organiser
    • Any advice on dress code, security checks, what to bring etc.

Coach Hire
Groups wishing to hire a coach for an excursion should make the necessary arrangements themselves. There are some experienced tour leaders in LALG who may be contacted for advice via the Secretary, including about which operators are recommended.

  • It is advisable to be clear with the coach operator about the seating capacity; more seats can mean less leg space.
  • Pricing of trips is the responsibility of the organiser.  It may be prudent to budget on the basis of say 80% of seats being sold.
  • It is usual to give the driver a tip and it may be easiest to factor this into your price to avoid going round with the hat.

How to Organise a trip by Public Transport including a guided tour

As people pay a fee to join LALG their membership should offer benefits.  

When organising an event you might:

  • Set a lower price for Members
  • Open the trip only to LALG members
  • Give LALG members preferential booking, opening to non-members later

Setting up a visit with a tour

  • Check the proposed date on the LALG calendar to avoid any clashes.
  • Select the place to visit and contact them to see if group tours are available, cost, time and any restrictions.  For example, how many people may be accommodated.
  • Work out a budget and a timetable so that you have enough time to publicise your plans and to collect money etc.
  • Have all arrangements and costs with providers confirmed in writing.
  • Check with them a couple of days in advance that all is to plan.
  • Agree with the guide how long the visit will take and construct a timetable for the day including comfort breaks and refreshment stops. 
  • Decide if you will collect names yourself or utilise the Booking service of the Tourist Information Centre.
  • If you collect the names yourself an example LALG booking form for trips is available.
  • Put information into the monthly newsletter. You can either decide to put all the information in the newsletter up front or you can collect names and send the participants detailed instructions closer to the trip.  Email is a useful method for doing this though you will need to plan for anyone not on email, possibly via TIC.
  • Venues often require you to purchase group tickets in advance and you may need to pay your guide separately.  Make sure you have included this in your budget and collect money in advance. 
  • Make sure people know under what circumstances money is non-refundable.
  • You can ask the LALG Treasurer to manage the money via the LALG account or you can set up a bank account for your group.  Electronic payment is easiest using the surname as an identifier.  People who do not bank on line can go to their bank and ask for a payment to be made into the designated account.  Or you can arrange for cheques to be collected at the TIC but you will need to make sure you have time to collect them and for them to clear.
  • Remember the guidance on Data Protection 

Planning the route

  • Decide the route you will take to the venue and what transportation you will use.
  • Travelling off peak will be cheaper but you need to check restrictions on travel.
  • Check train times: http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/ gives up to date train travel information and a journey planner. 
  • Transport for London (TFL) also has a journey planner which covers tubes and buses https://tfl.gov.uk/plan-a-journey/
  • Have alternative travel plans in mind in case there is a problem on the day.
  • Work out how to navigate between modes of transport (for example from the train to the tube) and how to get to the venue itself. 
  • Carry a map and any instructions from the venue.
  • Remember it takes longer for a group to get about than an individual or couple on their own!
  • Know where on the route to find public toilets and cafes and tell people when there will be breaks.
  • Make clear that transport costs are not included and people will pay for their own travel on the day.

On the day

  • Agree where the group will meet and at what time.
  • Provide your mobile number in case of problems.
  • People may choose to join the group at different stations or go directly to the venue.  Make sure you know this and tell them how to find you.  A LALG sign might help!
  • Arrange with the guide where you will meet and when and exchange phone numbers for any emergency.
  • After the trip escort the group back to the starting point.  Some people may chose to travel home independently, ask them to let you know if they plan to do this so you are not waiting for them.

How to Organise a Quiz

This guidance gives advice on the things you should consider when organising an event with a quiz. Click here for general guidance on organising events

  1. Decide on the audience for the quiz.  Is this something just for your group, for LALG or will it be open to the public?
  2. Is this the main event or a part of the meeting?
  3. Decide on the timings for the evening.  How many rounds can you fit in?  Will there be a refreshment break?  Or is it light entertainment in the midst of a meeting? If you are providing hot food, or are having food delivered, make sure the round before the food is due can be delayed until after it if timings go out…and vice versa with the round following it.  Or have a table quiz for the interval which will soak up any timing issues.
  4. Find a volunteer (or team) to manage it.  This may include:
    • Providing the questions:
      • Structure the questions concisely but so they are easy to take in and process.
      • Word questions so you point people towards the correct answer (eg “how much less do you weigh on the moon?” would be better as “you weigh less on the moon – but by what fraction?” so you get a fraction, not a decimal, and not someone’s actual weight loss).
      • Don’t get bogged down in providing context to the question.
      • Make sure the quiz master knows how to pronounce tricky words.
      • Prepare 2 tie-break questions and decide how you will run a tie-break. The first to raise a hand/shout the answer can have the evening finishing on an inconclusive note. 
    • Running the quiz, photocopying of quiz sheets, picture rounds etc.
      • If you’re providing written questions, pictures etc then give out enough copies for all team members to see them properly at the same time.  And be clear how you want the answers submitted.
      • Have spares – teams may split, plus drinks and food get spilled.
    • Marking the answer sheets. Decide who will do this (swap with other teams in the quiz, or pass to a central team) how to present the scores eg flip chart/project a spreadsheet/read them out at half time & the end.
    • Providing prizes (and maybe booby prizes).
  5. Have a policy on expenses, for example photocopying costs and prizes.
  6. For a large event provide a microphone - check there are spare batteries.
  7. Check whether the quiz master will need access to a computer, a screen (for picture rounds) and a sound system (for music rounds), make sure you have these and the power to run them! It saves a lot of repetition if questions are displayed on a screen.
  8. If the quiz will be run for teams, decide how many people in each, whether whole teams will sign up or whether individuals will be combined.  Have a process for linking individuals to teams and do this before the event.  Ask each team to hand in a form with their team name on before the quiz starts to avoid duplication etc.
  9. Make sure you know before the day how many people will be at the event, how many teams there will be and have enough quiz sheets, spare paper and pencils for them.
  10. Make sure you understand the mechanics of running the quiz, marking, compiling scores, keeping a scoreboard and announcing winners.  Decide how many people you need to do this efficiently.
  11. Check and double check and triple check the answers using a reputable source – Wikipedia is not always accurate!  Even check things you are convinced you know – knowledge moves on plus there are many urban myths in circulation. Consider creating answer sheets with answers that are acceptable and answers that are not acceptable.  Have a policy on names (will just surname do?) and on spelling (is phonetic good enough?) as consistent marking is vital. Get friends with a range of interests and the people who will mark the answers to do the questions in advance. Make changes to questions and/or answers as necessary. But make clear that the quiz master’s decision is final.
  12. Have a policy on mobile phone use and make this clear.
  13. Keep an eye on the clock to make sure you finish within the allotted time.
  14. Hand out prizes at the end.
  15. Reimburse expenses.
  16. Thank those who have helped make the event a success.
 

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