Get organised - schools and youth groups

 

Once you decide that you want to hold a World Animal Day event, the months will pass like days so it’s important to start work on your plans early.

Organising events for children and young people involves specific planning aspects, particularly health and safety issues. If you are a teacher or other professional, much of the following will be obvious, but there could still be suggestions that you might find useful.

If possible, stimulate the children’s interest in advance of the event with a visit to the shelter or a talk and slide show from a representative of the charity. This will enthuse them and give them an understanding of the purpose of the event.

Planning:

You cannot begin planning early enough when organising a fundraiser. Once you have decided what you want to do, you will need to think about:

  • Informing parents: parents may be keen to get involved in the event, so let them know your plans as early as possible. You may also need their written consent for some activities.
  • The venue: will it be suitable for your event? Are there sufficient power points, toilets, kitchen, seating, etc.? What about parking facilities? If it is an outdoor venue, do you have contingency plans for poor weather? Will the owners allow you sufficient time for setting up and clearing away?
  • The costs: what initial outlay will you have? Can you be sure that you will cover your costs? Will there be an entrance fee? If so, will this cover refreshments? Are there any hidden extras?
  • Insurance and health and safety: check that your event is fully insured, and that all health and safety requirements are met (your local council or school authority should be able to advise you on this). Make sure that you will have a qualified first-aider present and that all fire exits are clearly marked.
  • Complete a risk assessment for your activity and resolve any potential issues.

Don’t try to do too much! Make sure you have support from colleagues and parents, both in the planning stages and at the event itself. Involve the children in this as much as possible.

In addition to our general tips on how to get publicity, you could also:

  • ask children to design their own promotional materials, using the World Animal Day logo, which you may download from the Resources page on the website. (You will also find leaflets, posters and other useful documents on the page.)
  • tell children to take copies of posters home with them. They can ask their parents and relatives to display the signs at work, and ask grandparents to promote the event at any clubs they attend etc.

At the event:

  • Will you mark the opening of your event? Could you prepare a special song with the children? Will someone perform an opening ceremony (for example, someone from the charity, a local council dignitary, etc.)? If so, remember to book them well in advance as diaries fill up quickly.
  • Appoint older or more responsible children as stewards for the event, but brief them well in advance so they know exactly what is expected of them. Give them badges so that visitors know who they are. It might be a good idea to have your stewards working in shifts so that they also have the opportunity to join in the fun. Make sure that you have several adults at hand to deal with any crises that might occur.
  • Make sure that you have adequate volunteers to help with the clearing away process. The venue owners will expect it to be left as you found it.

If you are celebrating World Animal Day with a visit to a wildlife park, or similar, book your group in well in advance. Most of these venues have an education officer who would be delighted to put together a special programme if given enough warning.

Other points for consideration:

  • Book any required transport well in advance and ring a day or two beforehand to make sure that everything is all right.
  • Will you need special cover insurance for the day?
  • Tell parents about the trip well in advance and ask them to sign a consent form.
  • Make sure you have plenty of adult help for the trip. Parents could be invited to help out.
  • If you wish someone from an animal charity, or similar, to talk to the children about their work, brief them well in advance about the age and expectations of your group. Make sure you have any necessary AV equipment and have refreshments available.

General suggestions:

  • Whatever you decide to do, plan well in advance. The more planning you do, the less likely you will have unforeseen hitches and disruptions on the day.
  • Keep an eye on the ‘countdown clock’ on the World Animal Day home page to check how much time you have left to get organised!
  • Remember to always check with any relevant managers before organising an event.
  • Check if any other events are being held on the same day in your area. If an activity clashes, choose a different day so that you don’t lose your potential audience.
  • If you are organising some kind of fundraising event, some charities might prefer that you contact them in advance before fundraising on their behalf.
  • Request your FREE 3’x5’ World Animal Day logo flag in plenty of time, especially if you are not in the UK. (You must register and add your event to the website before requesting your flag.)
  • Arrange for someone to take photos or video during the event. Afterwards, we ask that you add a short report to the website about successful it was and inspire others to get involved next year!

Depending on the scale of your event, you might also need to consider the following:

  • road closures
  • access for emergency services
  • venue capacity and restrictions
  • access for people using wheelchairs
  • necessary equipment, to borrow or hire
  • general insurance
  • first aid, especially for sporting events
  • toilet facilities, including cleaners if it will be very busy
  • security
  • power generators
  • regulations regarding food preparation, storage, serving and labelling
  • noise restrictions
  • entertainment licensing, including public film screenings and music licensing
  • litter picking and waste disposal
  • temporary signs directing people to the venue, if it isn’t in an obvious location