Charities: the health & safety aspects of running fundraising events

16 May, 2018

As we finally move into warmer months, there will be a noticeable increase in the number of  charities running events, especially outdoor physical ones.


“Health and safety” is often used as an excuse to prevent events taking place, but with good planning and organisation, it is possible to put on an event that will be fun and safe for all, and to raise lots of money for charity!


Getting started

The level of detail in your planning should be proportionate to the scale of the event and the degree of risk.


The event organiser should carry out a series of risk assessments, identifying the scale, type and scope of the event; the type and size of audience; the location and time of day and year the event will be held. This information will then help create a safety plan. 


Liaising with others

Liaise with the venue owner or management, emergency services and, where appropriate, the local authority Safety Advisory Group for advice and information relevant to your planning. Discuss with them how you can control risks.


You will also need to ensure you have suitable insurance in place and will need to liaise with them over the planned event.



There are a number of further elements to planning for a charity event including:


  • Determining the number of people who will attend as many arrangements will depend on the size of the crowd


  • Assess the venue/site suitability

 The event venue/site should enable attendees to assemble, enter, move around and exit the space safely, and to evacuate quickly to a safe space in an emergency


  • Creating a crowd management plan

The event organiser and others involved in crowd management must think about what may cause harm to event staff and visitors through crowd movement, dynamics and behaviour as people arrive, enter, move around a venue, exit and disperse.


Reasonable steps must then be taken to eliminate or reduce the risks.


  • Planning for incidents

You need to ensure that plans are in place to respond effectively to health and safety incidents and other emergencies that might occur at the event that you are holding.


This emergency plan should be in proportion to the level of risk presented by event activities and the potential extent and severity of the incident. A fun run in a park is not going to have the same emergency plan as a sky dive!


Emergency procedures should be developed that staff and volunteers will need to follow during a significant incident or emergency, for example if there is sudden very bad weather, a fire outbreak or a structural failure. These procedures will include getting people away from immediate danger; dealing with injuries; and liaising with the emergency services where appropriate.


  • Serious incidents

You will also need to consider your response to more serious emergencies, including major incidents that may not be specific to the event you are holding. For example, the National Counter-terrorism Security Office have produced specific advice to help mitigate the threat of a terrorist attack in crowded places. The key message for the public is ‘Run, Hide, Tell’.


It may also be appropriate to have someone first-aid trained onsite, or to arrange for an ambulance to be there if there is a greater risk of someone injuring themselves.


Managing an event

The event organiser is responsible for ensuring that overall safety at the event is maintained so that, as far as reasonably practicable, people setting up, breaking down and attending the event are not exposed to risks to their health and safety.


Once the event has started, this role will be less about planning and more about effectively managing and monitoring the event, and co-ordinating with any volunteers, workers or contractors throughout the event.


Debrief after the event

A debrief will help evaluate what went well, and what could be done better next time. This will feed into the planning done for any similar events held in the future.


Total up the money raised

Count up how much money you have raised for your charity from your successful, well planned event!


For further information, see this Guidance on the Health and Safety Executive website