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How to organise a themed music night or silent disco

We’ve put together step by step guidance on how you can organise either a themed music night or silent disco.

Disco ball by Hayley Lawrence

For those who have to consider noise restrictions and curfews, you may wish to host a silent disco – which of course, is just as much fun!

When you sign up, you’ll receive a free, digital, fundraising pack with loads of free materials, from shareable social media images to set lists and bunting to help you to fundraise.

Organising an event on your own is really tough. Therefore, your first step should be to assemble an event team that you can count on. If the same people are involved from the beginning, they will be more clear on the planning and execution of the event.

Here’s the fun part – pick a theme! Choose something that will appeal to your guests. For example, if you’re inviting friends along who you’ve grown up gushing over 90s boybands with, why not focus your theme on their top hits? Or if they fancy themselves as rock gods, why not put on a rock night?

Once you’ve got a team together, think about when you’d like to host your event. Before committing to a set date, see if there are any major sport or cultural events taking place near to or at the same time. If people have already made commitments, they won’t sign up.

The earlier you enquire with venues about availability, the more likely you are to secure your preferred date, as well as negotiate a cheaper price.

List and track all your expenses. This includes the price of the venue, equipment, catering, marketing and set-up costs on the day. Include extra money in your budget for any unexpected expenses.

Finally, establish a realistic fundraising target. Once calculating the cost of all your expenses, divide it by the number of people you believe will attend. At the very least, your ticket price should cover overheads.

Before you start promoting your event, make sure that you clearly signpost where people can donate and get tickets from. We recommend making tickets available online and in advance of the event.

Online registrations and e-tickets can simplify the process of checking people in on the day. Knowing how many people have registered also gives you an insight into how many people you will be accommodating. Eventbrite (eventbrite.co.uk) offers a really straight-forward ticketing service for a small fee.

You should be searching for a venue based on how many people will be attending, and how much space will be required. It’s got to be fit for purpose. As it’s an event to raise money for charity, the venue may be able to offer you a discounted price for its hire.

Check with your local authority at an early stage, on whether you need to apply for any licenses.

Silent disco

You want everyone to feel immersed in the experience. Choose a smaller room with an intimate atmosphere. If you have too much space available for people to roam about, they might feel self-conscious and exposed dancing out in the open.

Themed music night

Local artists might be your best option, as they are easier to get in touch with. They can also share your event with their larger and loyal local following on social media. Check with your friends and event team to see if they have a music contact.

If you want more music acts, you may want to contact schools and university music departments. You can also enquire with record stores and see whose playing at area clubs.

As this is a charity fundraiser, you may be able to get a discounted price.

Hosting a music event requires sound equipment. Try to find a venue that has a PA system built in. If you need to provide your own sound equipment, compile a list of what you need and how much it will cost.

Themed music night

If you want live performers, now is the best time to reach out to them. It’s also highly likely that they will have their own equipment, so don’t be afraid to ask them if they can provide this!

Silent disco

Headphones are of course essential to your event! There are loads of places online where you can purchase these, such as Silent Noize (silentnoizeevents.com). Make sure you order enough headphones for all your guests.

You’ll need to consider how you’re going to distribute and collect the headphones at the end of the night. For larger events, you may want to take a deposit, have door staff, and dedicate someone to manage the headphones.

For smaller events, you may wish to use ID cards as a deposit. Give everyone their own headphones to reduce confusion, swapping and people claiming they didn’t have a pair.

You may wish to have some ambient background music, so that when people remove their headphones, they aren’t faced with silence or singing.

Get your music right! Have a variety of music best suited to your audience. Choose three wide-ranging playlists to ensure that there is something for everyone.

Silent discos shouldn’t be taken too seriously. A healthy dose of cheesy pop always goes down well, and you can’t go wrong with classic party anthems and feel good tunes. Power ballads are also a winner.

There are often businesses and organisations that would love to support and sponsor your event. They may donate and/or provide refreshments. This is a win-win situation. The sponsor will gain publicity and you'll gain their endorsement.

You should start promoting your event at least a couple of months prior to the event, and in as many places as possible. People won’t come if they don’t hear about it.

Make sure you use as many avenues as possible to raise awareness about your event. Tell everyone you meet or know about Blood Cancer UK and the event you’re hosting in its support. Also, you can post information and updates about the event across multiple social media channels. This maintains and increases interest around the event, encouraging more sign-ups and reaching a wider audience.

Use the materials in our fundraising pack to reach out to as many people as you can, both online and in your local community. We’ve got social media templates, press release templates, posters and invites for you to download!

Not everyone who wants to attend will be able to, but they can still support the event. By setting up a JustGiving fundraising page, you can signpost people to donate, and post updates so they can feel involved too. Everything that’s raised on JustGiving will be credited to your fundraising event.

Make sure that you include your donations page and actual web address in your promotions

You can fundraise even further by including a raffle or auction, or selling some merchandise.

Encourage your team to apply for matched giving, if possible. This is when an organisation matches the amount of fundraising an employee does for charity using their own resource, up to a pre-determined level.

Create an event programme with your team so that everyone is clear on their responsibilities, timing and structure of the event. Make sure that this includes space for any contingency planning.

On the day, give yourself plenty of time to prepare. By setting up early, you’ll be able to sort out any last-minute tasks, as well as greet your guests.

Don’t forget to decorate your home or venue using our Blood Cancer UK material, found in your fundraising pack.

The key to the success of your next fundraising event lies in thanking everyone who helped. A nice gesture could be to send a handwritten ‘thank you’ note - with the total amount raised - to your sponsors, event team and performers.

It’s also good to update your guests – and those who expressed an interest to attend but didn’t - on how much money was raised. You can do this on social media, your JustGiving / Eventbrite page. This will make everyone feel proud and involved in its success, as well as enthusiastic to get involved next time.

Toast to the success of your event. Give yourself some well-deserved relaxation time. Appreciate the amazing difference you’ve made to those affected by blood cancer.

Thank you so much for your hard work and contribution!

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