Giving up a little of your time to raise some money for Autism Bedfordshire can be very rewarding and lots of fun. You’ll feel a sense of pride for helping to improve the lives of people affected by autism, meet new people and hopefully have lots of fun along the way! We are so incredibly grateful for every penny raised, so where can you start?

Here's our handy guide to help you

  1. Choose what you want to do

You may have already decided how you want to fundraise but if you’re not too sure what to do, don’t worry! Take a look at some of the suggestions in our ‘A - Z of Fundraising Ideas’. Remember, some of the best ideas are the simplest but the main thing is to make sure it’s fun for everyone involved.

  1. Decide when and where to do it

Unless you are taking part in a big organised event where the date and location will have been set for you, think about the best time to hold your event and make sure it doesn’t clash with a local or national event. Choose a venue that’s easily accessible and contact them well in advance to ask if you can use it for free or at a discounted rate. Don't advertise your event until you are 100% sure on the date, time and venue!

If your event involves the general public, or in a public area, you will need to complete a risk assessment. Please contact sarah.grimes@autismbeds.org for a template and example on how to do this. You may also need insurance, depending on the location and size of the activity.

  1. Consider the cost

Keep any expenses (venue cost, producing posters, hiring a DJ etc) to a minimum. Try to get items or services donated to keep costs down and aim to raise at least three times what you spend. If your event is proving to be expensive or complicated, look at how you can simplify things. Never under-estimate the power of a good cake bake!

  1. Who is likely to take part or come along

Your activity or event needs to be something that people will enjoy taking part in. Make sure that the date and time will be convenient for the type of people who will be coming. Do you have to ask permission for people to take part (e.g. from an employer or school.) If appropriate, could your work colleagues help you organise the event? Your employer maybe prepared to match money raised by you and your colleagues, or provide prizes for a draw or auction.

If you want to make your event autism friendly we have some hints and tips that could help.

  1. Spread the load

Who do you know that could help out? Make a checklist of everything that needs to be done and

then allocate jobs to willing friends, family or colleagues.

  1. Have a back up plan

Consider what could go wrong (i.e. bad weather) and try to plan suitable alternatives.

  1. Get sponsored

If your event is one that people can sponsor, there are two main ways to do this:

- Set up an online fundraising page with Virgin Money Giving. Visit www.virginmoneygiving.com and search for Autism Bedfordshire, click on the start fundraising link and follow the instructions. It’s simple! Then email the link to your friends, family and colleagues. It’s quick and easy for them to make a secure donation online and it saves you collecting money afterwards. Put the link to your page on any social media accounts you own, as well as any email signatures, leaflets and posters. Even if people can't come to your event, they may still be happy to make a donation.

- Use a printed sponsorship form. Use an Autism Bedfordshire printed sponsorship form to collect off-line donations. Try to get a generous sponsor at the top of the form - it will encourage people to follow their lead and pledge more! If you haven’t received a form, please do let us know.

  1. Promote your event

To make your event as successful as possible, you need to publicise it as widely as possible. Consider:

- Making posters and flyers to distribute in local shops, pubs, at your place of work, school or club.

- Emailing your friends, family and workmates.

- Using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or other social networking sites.

- Asking the local paper and radio station to publicise your event free of charge.

- Asking us to advertise your event in our newsletter and on our website.

  1. Thank the people who helped you

Finally don’t forget to thank the people that supported you and everyone involved in your fundraising efforts (Volunteers, people donating services, goods, or prizes, venue providers, sponsors and guests.) Many of these people will help simply out of goodwill but a heartfelt ‘thank you’ afterwards makes it even more worthwhile. Let them know how much was raised and how much it is appreciated by Autism Bedfordshire. If you provide us with details of those who helped you, we can send a letter of thanks or even a certificate.

Good luck with your event! We know you’ll be brilliant and all the money you raise will help people with autism in the local community enjoy a better quality of life. On their behalf thank you!