How to - 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. Many venues have alcohol licences.

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. 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.   Booking and selling tickets

  • Groups and event organisers can now use the LALG website to book their event(s)
  • Check the LALG guidance on how to arrange booking and selling tickets
  • Decide how many tickets need to be sold to make the event viable.
  • Will you accept people ‘on the door’ or advance sales only?
  • David's Bookshop provides a useful booking service and sales outlet (click on the above link).
  • 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 David's to collect phone numbers if 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 do this.
  • 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.
  • Have a list of people attending the event, checking LALG membership if necessary.
  • Sell tickets if appropriate, have an agreed float of small denomination coins and notes.
  • 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!