If you’ve got the idea to run a charity beer festival, then you’ve probably heard of Oktoberfest, and are aware of all the local beer festivals in your area. There are some huge ones in London, as well as smaller scale but just as successful ones in your local county. We have a whole host of them in Hampshire!
They are a great way of attracting a different group of people to one of your fundraisers, and a brilliant opportunity to share your mission over a day of beer swigging fun.
So here we’re going to spill the be…er on how best to organise a charity beer festival!
Think about how you will charge your guests
Will you sell tickets prior to the event? Will it be a fixed price on the door, and then unlimited tasting inside the festival? Or will you charge a smaller entry fee, and then sell tickets for guests to pay for each beer? Make sure you factor in all the costs you will be making, and ensure that these are covered within the entrance fee for the estimated number of guests.
Selling tickets beforehand will also give you the opportunity to better plan for numbers, as well as making people more likely to attend as they will have made a financial commitment.
Consider the venue
Will your charity beer festival be outside or inside? Generally, the later Summer / early Autumn months are popular for beer festival season. The weather tends to be a bit more reliable, however, it is still good old England so it’s always a good idea to have a contingency plan in case the rain does come. A marquee is a great way to bring outside shelter to brewers and beer drinkers alike, and definitely adds to that festival vibe.
However much beer you think you need, add a bit more. And the same with ice – Add some more, and then a bit more again. No one likes warm beer.
Have some food options
Food vans could be a brilliant addition to your beer festival, particularly if it’s outdoors. It really gives out that street food vibe, and keeps your attendees from getting hangry.
Invest in good advertising and market your event well
Utilise social media sites to advertise and promote your beer festival, and encourage your supporters to share your posts. Instill a ‘FOMO’ vibe so that people view your event as unmissable! You could even set up activities and photo opportunities at the festival itself to encourage social media shares and Instagram worthy posts.
Promote your mission and worthy cause at the event itself
Of course, your charity beer festival is to provide a fun day out for your supporters and supporters-to-be, but it is also a fabulous opportunity to remind your current donors what great work you do as well as show potential new donors what your mission is and what their donation would mean to you.
Use technology to your advantage
Once you’ve got people to your event, make it obvious what your charity is about as we said above. Not only that, but make it obvious how and where they can donate. There is cashless donation technology that mean you can have donation points around your event so that people can tap their card and donate at any point. You want to make it as easy as possible for people to make donations. Remind people at every stall, so that with every beer they are tempted once again to donate.
Have a water station
If the sun does shine, it’s a good idea to have some kind of water station available to the festival goers. You don’t want a crowd of dehydrated, inebriated lager louts.
This could be a stall selling bottled water, or it could be a free station providing tap water. Either way, it’s a good idea to offer your attendees a way of staying hydrated between beers.
You may also like to provide ‘slop buckets’ or similar where guests can tip out any unwanted tasters should that particular beer not be to their taste.
Consider event length
Decide whether your beer festival will be a weekend long event, or if it will just be for the day. It’s common for the larger festivals and pubs to have weekend long events, but perhaps a day event would be a good way to go for your charity beer festival.
Look at facilities
If it’s at an established venue that is used to this kind of event, then you won’t have too much planning to worry about. However, if you’re holding the beer festival in a field, then you will need to look at portaloo hire, generators and possibly even fencing and security. Do your research and be prepared.
You don’t want your beer festival looking messy so make sure there are plenty of bins around to make it easy for guests to dispose of their empties.
Ask for volunteers, and train them well
Every successful event has an efficient, hardworking team behind it. Ask for volunteers who are committed to helping (not just sampling free beer) and make sure that they are all sufficiently trained for the jobs they are doing.
Create accurate programmes
Try and leave it until the last possible time to have the programmes of the day printed, so that the list of suppliers and beers you have on offer is accurate. There’s nothing worse than spotting your favourite brewery only to find that they’re not actually in attendance. Equally, it’s just as frustrating to find a hidden gem of a beer that isn’t listed on the literature. There may well be last minute changes, and these can’t always be helped, but try to make sure that signage and programmes are as accurate as possible.
Plan your layout
Make sure that your stalls are laid out in the best possible way, and each one is sufficiently manned. We may be British, but no one really likes to wait in a huge queue to get a beer!
Mobilise your community
Try and source local breweries wherever possible to give your event a real community feel. People love to support local independent businesses, and this would be a great way to combine your fundraiser with local companies.
Beer festivals are also great places for people to discover new tastes and discover new brands – The lesser known ones can give your attendees a real sense of surprise and satisfaction. Plus, the brewery might even agree to sponsor the event!
Get the appropriate licenses and insurance
Make sure you are aware of all rules and regulations surrounding this type of event and have everything in hand well in advance of the date. The last thing you want to happen is to be shut down before your event has begun.
Make your first charity beer festival a resounding success, and you can make it an annual fundraiser for your organisation!