Lorraine recently opted to hold a draw to boost fundraising alongside a charity dance event in Oldham. The event helped to raise important funds for Dr Kershaw’s hospice, through The Strictly Comedy Prize Draw. Lorraine was accompanied on the dancefloor and in raising funds by our Business Development Manager for Sport, David Broadbent, who like his dance partner, had no previous dancing experience!
Lorraine told us all about Plane Comedy and her experience of hosting a draw with Play Fund Win to support her chosen good cause.
What is Plane Comedy and what is your role?
Myself and my business partner, Colin Manford started [Plane Comedy] only 12 months ago on the back of another project we’ve been involved in. We take comedy evenings to venues and help them put on that evening. So, they arrange all the logistics, they do all the sales and we purely provide the comedy.
What was the Strictly Comedy event and how did it come about?
The Strictly Comedy event was on the back of a charity event that myself and a friend were taking part in, which was a Strictly Come Dancing competition where they wanted amateur dancers. We stupidly put our names forward, got accepted and then we needed to fundraise. We were asked to raise at least a thousand pounds each, and being in the comedy world, it made sense to kind of bring that into the fundraising.
My dance partner David is also a part-time comedian. We decided to collaborate and created a Strictly Comedy night to contribute to the fundraising efforts. It did amazingly well and raised quite a lot of money.
What do Dr. Kershaw’s hospice do and why did you decide to support them?
Like all hospices, they provide end of life care. They provide care in-house and out in the community to people who are [approaching] the end of [their] life, and to their families. They also give a lot of support to families who are experiencing the loss of a loved one.
The Strictly event was for Dr Kershaw’s and another hospice they’d collaborated with. I got involved because many of the dancers that were involved have a personal connection to the hospice. They’ve lost a loved one, been nursed through it. But mine was a bit of a different story, as before it was a hospice, it was the site for Dr. Steptoe, who was the doctor who developed the IVF process. I was one of the babies born from that. Essentially my life started at that site and now, sadly it’s a place where people’s lives end. It felt like quite a nice connection, I’ve always wanted to do something for them, because [of this connection]. I just wanted to get involved. It’s a local charity and I’m a local business owner, so I help them in any way that I can. I’m going to an event this evening for them! It’s just nice really to be able to give back and support something local.
What kind of support did you receive from Play Fund Win to help you promote the draw?
It was amazing actually, the support we had. We had our own personal account manager, who from the beginning took us through step-by-step, how it works, what the processes were and the systems that are in place. Play Fund Win have got this amazing digital platform where funds are raised, prizes are offered and the public can buy the tickets and it’s just such an easy process. We had help with the communication side of it too. The marketing team gave us tips on how to help us market the draw. We had help with [the design of the] marketing materials, and step-by-step guides as to what would happen next from the Business Development Manager when the draw came to an end. If we wanted an update on sales and things like that, that was all available too. It was a really, really easy process and we got lots and lots of help.
How did you source the prizes for the draw and what tips would you give to other hosts who are organising?
My first tip would always be to use your network. Obviously, we’re in the comedy world, so we used our network [within that]. We had some big names on-board that were happy to donate. We had Jason Manford, Sarah Millican and names like that who just wanted to get involved because it was such a cool cause. Always look to your own network, always go out to who you know already, because it makes it so much easier. We were fortunate that we knew names who obviously grab [attention] and make an impact. However, looking at other charity events that you see, I don’t think it actually matters what the prize is. I think it’s [about] how they get to win that is the key, really.
What did you find advantageous in hosting your fundraising online?
I think since lockdown, it’s become apparent that we’re becoming a cashless society. I can’t even remember the last time I went to an ATM and drew money out. On the night of the event, the build-up before was great, because people could just go online and donate. But on the night of the event, it was quite obvious that people don’t carry cash, you’d see cards being used at the bar. We had buckets for the charity for people to put change into, and there was hardly anything in it. But the ticket sales for the draw did really well because we had a link on all the tables where people could just scan it and [they were able to donate without cash]. If we’d had a cash draw, I really don’t think we would have the same success. I think the ability for people to just scan with their phone and put the card details in made all the difference. Before this stage, as well as using social media to market the actual event and the draws, we were able to just share a link online on all our socials, push it out to all our networks, and ask the prize-givers to retweet and things like that. All they would be retweeting was a link and it was really easy for all of them – there was no effort involved really. I think that was the key, it didn’t feel like an effort because everyone now is just so used to using digital technology to pay for things, and to order things. [Post-COVID] there’s no explanation needed [for going digital].
Do you know how the funds raised will be spent by the hospice?
Yes, we’ve got a list of how much impact the donations will have. The one that shocked me most was [learning that] it takes £9,000 a day to run the hospice and it’s all [funded by] donations. As you can imagine, we raised a total between us of about £4,500. We only raised enough for half a day, which we were pleased with, but when you start thinking about that, it’s crazy. They do all sorts, from care to supporting families who have just found out that a loved one is going to start end of life care. They do a lot with children to help them cope with losing loved ones, right down to [providing] care out in the community and things like that. The money raised goes together into one big pot and [allows them to] carry on doing the fabulous work which they do.
Would you recommend Play Fund Win to other event organizers? And if so, why?
Yes, definitely. I think because of what I discussed earlier about the fact that we are now a digital society, and [Play Fund Win] is cashless. It’s an easier platform to raise money on. I think it makes it really easy in terms of prizes. We just told Play Fund Win what they were and they got everything set up with the draw. The technology of the draw meant that there was no bias when it came to doing the draw. We had nothing to do with that side of it, so it all felt really fair.
I think for any company or person or anyone out there who might be looking to raise funds via things like raffles, I would recommend it. One thing I really did notice was that it didn’t affect the older generation at all. Years ago, online, cash-free fundraising would maybe put people off buying but I think now it doesn’t discriminate because everybody’s so used to the digital world. It was a really, really easy process and I would definitely recommend it.
Event organisers can use our digital platform to help raise funds for charities and good causes at their events. To find out more information please visit: playfundwin.com/host or contact firstname.lastname@example.org