At the end of the year, we are often inspired to want to do more for charities and for people in need. If you would like to hold a charity fundraiser yourself but don't know where to begin, here's a quick and easy tip-list to make such a worthy act of generosity successful:

• Keep it fun and simple: You need to make sure that both you and your participants enjoy the event, so keep it simple and make sure that you add an element of fun, whether it's special decoration, a tote bag for each participant or guest, or a special theme.

• Share the load—get team support: Turn to friends to help share ideas and workload. Brainstorming at the beginning may give you some new ideas and help give a unique twist to your event. Make sure that you break down the work among your team and delegate so that you are not overstretched. Again, sometimes the simplest ideas are the ones that work the best. Your goal is to work towards your ambitious fundraising goal and aim to beat it.

• Plan for the 'what ifs?': If you are planning to hold an event outdoors, or if you are relying on a local celebrity as a guest of honour, make sure you think of a few possible alternatives if it starts raining or if your celebrity doesn't show up. This is the key to successful event planning.

• Timing is everything: Check your community calendar to make sure there are no important community events and fundraisers on the day that you are planning your event. You might want to check with other community or regional non-profit organizations. Try to pick the date that will bring in optimal attendance.

• Watch the dollars: Keep your costs down by getting items donated. Many grocery stores or restaurants will donate food or other items. Very often events do not raise money as a result of overspending.

• Take stock: If your fundraiser is a large one, make sure you assign a reliable volunteer to collect all the money and send it back to your charity within 30 days of the event taking place.

• A warm 'thank you' goes a long way: Always remember to thank your guests or anyone who has donated.

• Tell your charity about the event: Once you choose how you'd like to raise money, make sure to tell the charity about it.

• Check out your favourite charity's website for ideas: Many websites offer advice on how to raise money. For example, the human rights charity Amnesty International, lists events and ideas at

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