As with every event, the safety of the guests should be a prime concern of organisers, therefore security is a crucial part of the plan. With charities coming under more and more scrutiny, you need to be sure your gala goes smoothly: if an incident occurs, not only could it put a downer on the event, but the resulting bad PR could damage your reputation and risk the future of the charity.
If you’re planning a fundraiser, here are some charity event security tips to make it a safe and successful one…
Whether you choose to hold your fundraiser indoors or outdoors, you will need to ensure it’s safe and suitable for the type of event, so don’t rush the selection process. Thoroughly assess whether the venue capacity, emergency exits, accessibility and infrastructure are suitable for the size and type of event. How many people are likely to turn up and what happens if there are too many? If there are various entry points, do you need to enlist help with access control and directing guests? If it’s going to take place outdoors, is the site prone to flooding or high winds?
If your event is open to the public, you’ll need Public Liability Insurance but check whether the venue already has insurance that covers you.
If you’re collecting money, you need to consider not only the legality of doing so, but also the safekeeping of the cash. Beforehand, ensure you have the correct licences required and that collection containers are secure: although it might be mostly loose change, every penny adds up, so it could be a tempting pick-and-mix to thieves. Also, securely anchor them in a visible place and make a point of checking them regularly. Have a plan in place for collecting, carrying, counting and storing all the money raised after the event so it doesn’t go walkabout while you’re clearing out guests or cleaning up. Put the money in the bank ASAP and take care while carrying and transporting it.
As well as cash, consider the other items of value that may be lying about. From chocolate boxes and gift vouchers, to more expensive items like Champagne, jewellery or artwork for the auction, they could all attract thieves. In the build-up to the event, keep them in a secure place and only put them on show when necessary. Don’t leave the items unaccompanied and make sure they’re visible to officials, but out of reach of guests. For higher value auction items, consider security measures such as hiring professional security guards.
The type of event will determine the potential hazards involved: sponsored sports events, for instance, may pose risks such as personal injuries or dehydration to competitors, while a black-tie dinner dance may have the potential risk of allergic reactions or alcohol abuse to revellers. The type of venue and the weather conditions could also affect safety: if it rains, is there a greater risk of guests slipping? Are any temporary structures safe and secure in high winds? Do a risk assessment to examine what could cause harm to your guests, then take the necessary steps to prevent them happening.
Find out about the first aid facilities available at the venue and consider getting professional advice from an organisation such as The Red Cross or St John Ambulance beforehand.
Charity events tend to be family-friendly, so make sure that children have permission to take part and that any adults looking after children have had the correct security checks. You must also consider lost and mischievous children (and grownups!), as well as the health and mobility of elderly guests. Again, this comes down to choosing the right venue and health and safety planning. Is there a process in place for if a child gets lost? Is there sufficient seating and toilets/baby changing facilities? Is the venue wheelchair accessible?
Hiring security guards for your event could help ensure it runs smoothly, preventing and diffusing any disturbances and making your guest feel safe at all times. Professional security services can help with security planning beforehand by visiting the site to get an understanding of the area and point out any areas of concern or that need particular attention on the day, as well as providing guidance on first aid and emergency planning procedures. On the day of the fundraiser, experienced security guards can provide practical services such as access control, crowd control, static security, mobile security patrols, emergency response and emergency service liaisons.
Churchill Security is an established event security company and can provide comprehensive charity event security solutions across the UK. Established in 1993, Churchill Security possesses a wealth of experience and can provide visible yet undisruptive security for any type of fundraising event. Get in touch to find out more about our security packages.