If making a salad is easy, creating and promoting a charitable event is even easier.
Let's go through the numbers:
1) What comes first, the event or the charity?
For my first event, I knew I wanted to host a battle of the bands at a club on the beach. That was it.
Once I had written down the where and how, I next contacted 3 major charities: American Red Cross, The Cancer Association and an HIV research charity. I went with the American Red Cross because they were more eager, and promised tons of media to promote the event.
So basically they were going to help me through a great event for Wildwood, and I was going to get them a huge donation. That's all it takes to get started.
2) If you build it, they will run
I hosted a great benefit run in Cherry Hill, New Jersey for a fallen Marine.
The only problem was I did not delegate or personally handle the issue of permits properly. So basically we had a full list of runners ready to go, and a University releasing Press Releases, but alas, I never informed the city we would need two roads shut down. Luckily for me I had a friend with strong political ties to fix the problem.
The point here is, engage the local city clerk as early in the process as possible. The more events you do, the more political leverage you will have to go bigger and better next time.
3) Donors, please
When I was staging a sidewalk art chalk event in Camden, New Jersey, I needed money for the prizes that contestants stood to win.
Only, I had no money.
The point of this event was to inspire goodwill in Camden, and not to raise money. So basically we found a way to allow local small businesses to advertise at the event for a small donation. It worked like a charm, and the small business owners gave huge support to the event as they set up little booths to hand out free food and water.
Throwing a charity event is a lot of fun and a great way to serve your community.
If you're like me, people will always question your motives as to why you are donating so much time and energy to something you can't profit from. Well, people that ask this are the type of people who don't know what the meaning of the word "profit" is. Now you go and have fun; I'll be here if you need me.