PAC

TOP TIPS FOR HOLDING TEA PARTIES AND COFFEE MORNINGS

When you think about a coffee morning it might not sound as exciting as some other methods of fundraising. It might also be difficult to imagine how it could raise any decent sums of money. But believe me when I say you might surprise yourself! There are lots of clever and creative ways to make a coffee morning more exciting than it might sound! 

Last year during Mad March we had the opportunity to visit lots of coffee mornings and tea parties that were happening (which meant eating LOTS of cake!) They were so varied and the sums of money raised ranged from £50 to £800! What I learnt from visiting the various events was that the success of the fundraiser wasn’t even based on how many people went but it was more based on what creative ways there were for people to donate money when they were there. 

So here is a quick guide to setting up your coffee morning plus a few clever ideas for how you can raise money when you are there. 

Here are some thing to consider when planning your event:

* Book yourself a date for your coffee morning and schedule a time 

* Choose a location. You could hold it at home. Alternatively village halls, local pubs or cafes or other community venues with function rooms can make good locations 

* If you are using your home hold your coffee morning over a sustained period of time so you will be able to fit more people through the doors. If your house will hold 10 people then if you hold it from 10am-2pm you’ll be able to get more like 40 people in and out during that time! Most people will only hang around for an hour. 

* Once you have decided on your day, location and time, email us to let us know and we will send you out a resource pack to help get you started. You’ll receive a poster and invitations to help you promote your event 

* Start inviting people! You can make invitations, tell people verbally or set up an event on your Facebook page and use this as a way of reminding people what's happening.

* If you are holding your coffee morning at a public venue and would like more people to come than just your friends you could try putting a press release in the paper to advertise your event and try putting posters up in the local area. 

* If you are expecting quite a few people to come then try and recruit a small selection of friends to help you. The more people you have baking cakes before the day the better but you’ll also need help on the day with tasks such as washing up, selling raffle tickets and collecting used crockery! 

* Think about seating - where will everyone go? Have you got enough chairs and tables or do you need to borrow some? Can you set up space in the garden? Some of last year's tea parties created a cafe like atmosphere with bunting, table cloths and flowers on the table....

*Have you got enough crockery or do you need to borrow cups / saucers? Paper plates are a great, easy method of serving up cakes but you will need a plentiful supply of cups / mugs and willing volunteers to keep on top of washing them up 

*Save time at your event by having milk jugs, bowls of sugar and teaspoons in various strategic spots where people will be sitting, so they can help themselves. 

*If you're going to be selling cakes to take away (and this ALWAYS goes down well!) encourage people to bring plastic containers or cake tins to take their goodies home in. 

* If you want to give your coffee morning or tea party a twist make it a themed party. People do love to dress up! We suggest making it a mad hatter’s tea party and asking guests to come in a hat but you could choose your own theme! 

So by now your event should be all set up, friends invited and you’ve publicised it as much or as little as you feel necessary. So, how can you raise money at your event? 

* Baking baking baking! Ask friends and family to help. Charge guests for tea/coffee and cake. Either suggest a price like £1 a slice of cake and £1 a drink or just ask people to leave a donation per drink and cake. You could also sell whole cakes for people to take away with them. 

* Don’t forget some people might prefer a soft drink. Jugs of water, juice or elderflower go down well. 

* Hold a raffle. Raffles are a great way to raise money at a coffee morning or tea party. We will send you a couple of books of the We Hear You Mad March Raffle tickets. This will be drawn after Mad March has finished. All you need to do is send us the ticket stumps back to enter your guests. Alongside this you might want to hold your own raffle to be drawn at your party. Source some gifts or ask friends to bring donations, sell tickets on the day and draw the raffle at the end of your party 

* Go one extra step with your catering! Some coffee mornings last year went one step extra to feed their guests. One I went to had two big saucepans of soup on the stove and guests could help themselves to a bowl of soup and a slice of bread and people donated £5 for their lunch. Quiches or sandwiches could work just as well. 

* Make jam! If you or any clever friends make jams or chutneys you could make some a sell at your party. 

* Hold a book sales. Dig out some second hand books or ask your friends to bring some and run a book stall where you sell books for £1 each. You could replicate this with anything from clothes to bric-a-brac.

* Magic squares - this is a popular fundraiser for this type of event. Get a large sheet of paper and draw a grid on it and number the squares. The size will depend on the number of guests you are expecting. For example, you could create a grid with 50 squares. Sell the squares at £2 each. Choose a square at random at the end of the day. The winner receives £50 and you have raised £50. Alternatively you could source a prize for the winner and keep all the money to be added to your raised funds! 

* Make Home Made Goods. Home made goods always sell brilliantly at these types of events. If you have any clever friends who make anything for example pottery or handmade cards ask them if they would sell some at your event and donate all or some of the profits back! 

Finally we can help provide you with everything you need to help make your venue look pretty. We can provide you with a We Hear You T-shirt to where on the day. We have leaflets for you to give out, posters for you to put up and banners we can loan out. We have vintage china in the office if anyone would like to borrow some but we will distribute on a first come first serve basis so you’ll have to get your asks in quickly! 

For any more ideas or to let us know about your event please email helen.white@wehearyou.org.uk

You can do as much or as little of any of the above ideas as you want - most of all though, enjoy yourselves and enjoy the cake! 

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