Planning a fair can be extremely time-consuming, especially
during the Christmas period when you are already busy! Read and
print out our checklist to keep track of where you are and what
still needs to be done.
Establish who will be taking the lead on the event and recruit
an organising sub-committee.
Book the date and time with the venue. Announce this date to
your supporters and put out a request for volunteers.
Have you thought about having a theme? If you'd like to theme
your fair, start discussing ideas - Winter Wonderland, Christmas
Market, etc. Consider whether you want any headline attractions
such as a Rodeo Reindeer, synthetic ice rink or pantomime. Book
your third-party suppliers early.
If possible, review a previous event, looking at which stalls
were most popular and which ones generated the most money. Need
some inspiration? We have lots of ideas for games and stalls here. Agree a shortlist of stalls and work out
how many volunteers you will need to help run these.
Your theme may dictate your choice of stalls and the type of
food and refreshments you decide to serve - work out who and when
food will need to be ordered/bought. To minimise waste and maximise
profits, order from Booker cash and carry - they offer a 'sale or
return' option on complete, unopened packs.
If you're planning to sell personalised items at your event,
such as calendars, recipe books or Christmas puddings (ultimateplumpudding.co.uk) you will need to
source a supplier and get the process started.
If you plan to run a secret present room, where children choose
and wrap gifts for parents, consider ordering a ready-made pack
rather than relying on donations of a dubious quality! Your
Fundraising Gift Shop sells specialist packs, either wrapped or
Start contacting local businesses to source sponsorship (of your
grotto, for example), raffle prizes, etc. To improve your chances
of success, do this before other local schools start asking!
If you intend to serve alcohol you will need to serve a Temporary Event Notice (TEN) at least 21
days before your event. You will also need a lottery licence to sell raffle tickets
prior to the event - if you already have one, check the expiry
Create a list of stalls and time slots for volunteers, and
consider how many helpers you will need for each stall, and for how
long. Begin allocating stalls and time slots to those who have
already agreed to help, which will identify gaps which still need
to be filled.
Compile a database of helpers' email addresses so that you can
keep in touch with them instantly if needs be. See our FAQs feature on data
Don't forget to explore match funding opportunities. There are
hundreds of organisations in the UK offering their employees the
chance to have their fundraising efforts matched. If any of your
volunteers work for a company offering match funding, be sure to
put them on your most lucrative stalls!
Are you providing a programme? If so, appoint someone to compile
this and consider selling advertising into it.
Aim to start publicising your event about six weeks before, with
posters in libraries, doctor's surgeries, leisure centres and
playgroups. Plan a leaflet drop to local residents inviting them