Health and Safety Tips for Fundraisers

Fundraising is more than beans in a bath these days. From Tough Mudder to skydiving, fundraising has taken on hair-raising adventures in the quest for greater funding. This has implications for health and safety and insurance required: getting it wrong can mean huge fines that would dwarf any funds raised.

This shouldn't deter you from holding brilliant fundraising events, but you should plan carefully so you can hold an event that's fun and safe for all - and raise lots of money.

Healthy and safety to consider for a fundraiser

Here are some key health and safety points to consider when organising a fundraiser.

Safety plan

You need to identify the:

    • Scale, type and scope of your event
    • Type and size of your audience (many arrangements depend on crowd size)
    • Location and timing of your event

This information will help you create a safety plan. The level of detail should be proportionate to your event's scale and degree of risk. You'll also need to assess the suitability of your venue/site.

Attendees should be able to safely:

    • Assemble and enter
    • Move around
    • Exit or evacuate in an emergency

Once the event has started, your role will be less about planning and more about managing and monitoring the event.

Liaison with key stakeholders

Where appropriate, liaise with the venue owner or management, emergency services or local authority. Seek advice and information, so you can discuss how to control the risks.

Throughout the event, co-ordinate with any volunteers, workers or contractors.

Do I need to carry out a risk assessment for my fundraiser?

While it is always wise to carry out a risk assessment, it is not a legal requirement - unless as the organiser you employ people or intend the event to be covered by public liability insurance.

However, it is a good idea to include one in your planning, as it will help you:

    • Find, reduce and control the potential risks to those attending
    • Reduce the likelihood and/or severity of any incidents
    • Keep volunteers, supporters and members of the public safe
    • Show health and safety has been suitably considered and managed
    • Safeguard your charity's reputation

Make sure you remove or reduce the risks to an acceptable level. This is particularly the case with children - note that extra care is needed if you're planning to use any inflatables such as bouncy castles.

Reasonably necessary steps must be taken to avoid accidents.

Brief key personnel and attended

You must also make sure everyone is fully briefed about the event including:

    • Details of any risks (for example if your fundraising event is close to water)
    • Fitness requirements
    • Specials equipment or clothing
    • Expected standards or behaviour

Have a look at an example risk assessment for fundraising but remember to consider the unique circumstances of your event. The best way to avoid any incidents or mishaps is to apply plenty of common sense - thoroughly check anything that's a possible source of harm.

Supervision at fundraising events

It is essential that fundraising events are adequately supervised, through both the right planning and preparation for key personnel.

    • Where children are involved, this includes providing adult supervision and obtaining permission from their parents or guardians for them to take part.
    • If your event will involve lots of people, make sure there are enough qualified or appropriately briefed people to supervise.

Health and safety for indoor and outdoor events

Indoor event

If your event is being held in premises other than yours or you're subcontracting some part of the event, make sure you have a contract in place. A contract is essential in defining roles and responsibilities including who is to provide public liability insurance, which you will need if your event involves the general public.

Additionally, make sure you know where the fire exits are, and check all entrances and exits are clear so people can evacuate easily and safely if required.

If you're using any equipment, make sure you follow the manufacturer's instructions and guidelines. If using a kitchen check for any faults it has that might pose a risk.

Outdoor event

    • You should have a contingency plan such as an alternative venue in case of severe weather.
    • Attendees should be advised to wear appropriate clothing.
    • Make sure you consider how to avoid traffic congestion if people are to arrive by vehicle. Also, make sure everyone is informed of road safety rules especially speed limits.
    • Think about how crowd movement, dynamics and behaviour might cause harm as people arrive, enter, move around, exit and disperse.
    • Check whether you need any special licences such as a public entertainment licence or licence to sell alcohol.

First aid for fundraising events

If you're holding an event involving many people, it's a good idea to have qualified first aiders if possible.

The greater the risk of someone being injured, the more appropriate it will be to have a trained first aider or arrange for an ambulance to be there. For example, if you're having a fun run or bike ride, you should have trained first aiders present (St John's Ambulance and Red Cross may help provide cover).

For smaller events, such as a coffee morning, make sure you have a First Aid kit.

Events involving strenuous activities such as running, swimming, etc. should clearly state that a medical check-up is recommended. It's really important people don't put themselves or others at risk by attempting something that's too demanding or even dangerous.

Fire safety for fundraising events

    • In the event of a fire, make sure you have a simple exit plan and assembly point.
    • Make sure all fire exits are clear and can easily be opened - attendees must be made aware of them.
    • Check if your venue has fire extinguishers and if possible have someone attend who knows how to use them.
    • Before the event, carry out a final check on fire exits.

Food hygiene for fundraising events

Food hygiene certificates are not a legal requirement. However, if your event involves handling food, you’ll need to follow hygiene rules for safe preparation, storage, display and cooking of food.

Some simple tips include:

    • Washing hands and equipment in hot soapy water.
    • Keeping food out of the fridge for the shortest possible time.
    • Always making sure food is properly cooked.
    • Keeping raw and ready-to-eat foods apart.
    • Not using food past its ‘use by’ date.
    • Knowing what is in the ingredients and displaying or providing information about allergens. (only label food as nut free etc if you are 100% sure).

Remember on hot summer days food goes off quickly and ice-creams melt!

It may also be wise to invest in product liability insurance, to cover you if anyone does fall ill from food or drinks you have provided.

Fundraising event insurance from Towergate

Once your fundraiser is over, it is worth having a debrief to evaluate what went well and what you could have done better. This can feed into the planning of any similar future fundraising events, including consideration of what other insurance cover you may require.

To discuss insurance for your next fundraising event with us and our partners Ellis Whittam, please contact us on 0330 123 5283.

This is a marketing article from Towergate Insurance.

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