Carols by Candlelight

Carols by Candlelight

Events, functions and fundraising activities

Carols by Candlelight

Who doesn’t love a Carols by Candlelight event? Clubs looking for a marquee event need look no further than this event as ‘Carols’ has the potential to raise significant funds and establish a highly-visible profile for your club in the wider community.
If successful, this fundraiser could become an annual event that the community commit to each year and in turn earns your club a valuable and dependable yearly funding boost.

Carols by Candlelight can be run as a standalone event or the main event with side attractions in the same manner as a fete. Side attractions including rides, food and market stalls add to the festivity of the night and are another great potential revenue stream for your club.

A Carols by Candlelight event can be extremely profitable if your club can draw a large crowd but there are also many risks to consider including the weather, attendance during a busy time of the year and having enough volunteer help at your club to make it a success.


Why Carols by Candlelight?
This fundraiser can be quite complex and in turn can make substantial income for your club. It can also become a great annual community event that is a highlight in the community calendar. It is important that your club has the resources to ensure the night is successful, if not, the event could end up losing your club money.

When should I hold this fundraiser?
The window of opportunity for running a Carols by Candlelight event is a maximum of 4-6 weeks prior to Christmas.


Key Activities
These are the tasks you will need to consider assign to volunteers at our club:
Before the Day

  • Decide a date for the Carols by Candlelight event.
  • Promote the event and ensure if it is part of a larger event it has been included in all advertising for the day.
  • Organise the location of the event.
  • Organise the performers and bands.
  • Hire any stage, microphones and sound systems needed.
  • Organise volunteers to help and set a roster.
  • Clearly define all volunteer roles for the event.
  • Determine if additional stalls will be provided and organise.
  • Organise food and beverage options.
  • Organise entry, a till or somewhere to safely store the money collected.
  • Sell tickets.
  • Consider amenities and ensure you adhere to council regulations.

On the Day

  • Ensure the location is set up and ready to go.
  • Put up signage.
  • Clearly communicate volunteer roles for the event.
  • Monitor the cash coming in and clear to a safe or secure location often.
  • Support the running of the performances.
  • Ensure your MC runs the event smoothly.
  • Ensure safety of the attendees.
  • Monitor the event.
  • Take lots of photos.

After the day

  • Publicly thank everyone involved
  • Announce the amount of money raised in club newsletters, on social media, website and around the club. As the community are also part of your event seek support from your local media and community groups to thank those who attended.

Who can help?
It is important to engage your members and community to help in the running of your fundraiser.
For a Carols by Candlelight event you could approach them to help:

  • Promote and sell the tickets
  • Help secure sponsors
  • Help organise side stalls
  • Secure performers
  • Source a stage set up, microphones and speakers
  • Help logistically on the day

Recruiting your people
It is important to create a culture of volunteering at your club to help not only with fundraising but also across the day to day running of your club. For more on how to create this at your club, click here.

Using technology to making it easier

You may like to consider using technology to reduce the workload on your volunteers and increase your fundraising dollars. For an event like this, you may like to sell tickets using a platform like TryBooking.

TryBooking lets you sell tickets, take payments and donations for events online.

This takes care of a great deal of the work that is usually left to volunteers and automates the ticket selling process.

You can set up and customise your own event page and a unique URL in minutes. This lets you easily share the event online and engage members and supporters. Your club may also like to use social media, email newsletters and your club website to promote the event.

Financial Considerations

The profit margin for this event can potentially range from $500 – $15,000 but it can easily lose $5000 for your club as well.
An outdoor stage and audio equipment will incur extensive costs, as will the costs associated with appropriate insurance, toilet, waste and traffic management.
Depending on the region you are in, weather insurance may also be advisable.

Performers can be resourced from the community, if not, this will be an additional expense. Clubs could also consider engaging an experienced compere/MC to run the onstage activities

If side attractions are to be included, this will add to the costs of the event. Side attractions could include: stalls, rides, food and beverages. Clubs can look within their own community for people with event or project management experience, otherwise there are event management companies that can run your event for you, at a cost.

With these expenses in mind, clubs can seek to lessen the cost to the club through approaching local business and sponsors for support. A great way to approach local businesses and sponsors is to create a presentation detailing your event, the expected patronage and how your event can build the profile of the business or sponsor through signage or the opportunity for business representatives to set up a stall or mingle with the crowd and distribute marketing material. This clearly shows potential sponsors the value of being part of your event and sponsorship dollars raised can go towards offsetting larger costs such as stage and sound equipment.

Another important questions to consider is “Do we charge entry or do we have a free event?”

Both strategies can work. As there are so many events happening in December, clubs that seek to charge entry need to make sure they have an audience willing to pay. Many people will pay to support the club but the general public, with many other free entertainment choices available, will need convincing. High profile performers (many will do it for free to give back to the community), gifts, fireworks, or food and drink included in the purchase price may entice the general public to pay to attend your club’s Carols by Candlelight but you need to be confident you are putting on an event that people will be willing to pay for. Do some research within your club and community as part of your planning to get an idea of what would entice people to attend your event.

A free event may not provide that initial fundraising dollars but is a great way to attract a crowd to your club. Revenue is then raised by:
Food stalls
Club merchandise sales
Photos with Santa

The advantage of having a free Carols by Candlelight is that your club can spend less on the stage and performers rather than feeling the pressure of having to give the audience their “money’s worth”. The other big advantage is you’re almost guaranteed people will attend, because it’s free, and that gives you a great opportunity to raise funds in other ways.

Promoting your Carols By Candlelight is vital to its success.
Carols by Candlelight is bigger than just a club event so it is important to promote community wide, not just to club members.
It is a great idea to enlist the help of your local radio and newspaper to provide a community announcement promoting your Carols by Candlelight event.
You can also ask someone at your club to produce a flyer that can be printed and copies left in community centres like shops and schools.
Don’t forget to promote within your club on the website, club social media pages and in the newsletter. A billboard promoting the event in a high-traffic area in the community like a busy intersection or outside a school is also a great way to get the word out to the community about your event. You can be creative with your promotion!

If your club is aiming really high, and you have the funds in the budget, then a publicist may also prove a good investment.

Communication considerations
Effective communication of your Carols by Candlelight event is important to its success. You can use social media to build excitement, sell tickets and countdown to the day.
You can also live stream the event on the day so that those in your community that can’t attend can be part of the event.

Social, Moral and Ethical Considerations
Supply of Alcohol
It is important to consider whether your club will allow the sale of alcohol at club events. Events can be alcohol free or limits or restrictions set in advance. Clubs need to consider how they will manage the risks of binge drinking as well as the Responsible Service of Alcohol.

What can go wrong? (Risk Management)
Financial Risks
There are obvious financial risks if enough tickets aren’t sold, or if you choose not to sell tickets funds being raised by other means and set up costs are more than is made.
Participant Safety
The health and wellbeing of those who attend your event should be a focus at all times. It is important that your club takes time to consider all possible risks and how to minimise these.
The weather can make the day difficult to run should their be extreme heat or extreme rain. Alternative arrangements should be discussed and decided on prior to the day should they be necessary.
Performers are unable to attend
Your club may like to have a number of performers and groups involved to ensure if a performer is sick or unable to attend the event can still run.

Licenses and Permits
It is imperative your club work with your local council when organising a Carols by Candlelight event as many factors need to be taken into consideration including neighbours, traffic and food and drink regulations.
Do not run this type of event without consulting with your local council, they are there to help and support your club.

Additional Factors to consider
Select a location that takes into account easy access for the community as well as parking. It is also a great idea to have a traffic management plan that includes speed limits and traffic marshals.
Appropriate MC and Performers
It is imperative that the Carols by Candlelight event is run by an engaging MC. This will ensure everyone gets involved. It is also important to consider age appropriate and family friendly performers.

Additional Revenue Opportunities
Additional revenue opportunities include; raffles, canteen revenue, bar revenue, side stalls and rides.
This links to other pages that have fundraising ideas that can run simultaneously, should the club like to.

Any specific suppliers or links for this particular fundraiser. Could be used for 3rd party advertising in the future.

This procedure should be treated as a guide only. Your club should seek advice specific to the needs of your club and event. Seek further details from authorities and service providers; especially in regards to insurance, licences, permits, spectator and participant safety.