Brew up for Open Arms Malawi!

We spoke to Ian Temple this month, who has a wealth of fundraising experience and has taken part in over 200 coffee mornings and events at his local church.

Getting involved in Open Arms

Ian and his wife and were helping with Wesley Chapel Junior Church Group and looking for a fundraising project for the children when they found out about Open Arms Malawi. ‘We held four coffee mornings over the course of the year, and other activities such as bric-a-brac sales and soup-and-a-roll lunches.’

The events have been a great success in bringing the community together for a number of good causes and are now regularly marked on the church calendar.

When asked what he likes about Open Arms, Ian tells us that ‘it meets a clear need in one of the poorest countries on earth and I like the people I have met who are working and volunteering for the charity.’

And the best part about fundraising? ‘Actually doing it! The interaction with friends and people who come to events such as coffee mornings to support those less fortunate than themselves.’

How to run your own coffee morning for Open Arms

Many volunteers start locally

Are you in a group or society, or a circle of friends who meets regularly? How about organising a coffee morning? It’s easy, rewarding and fun! Many of our volunteers who are fundraising for the first time begin with groups or organisations they are already members of, for example walking groups, church groups or work colleagues. Holding a coffee morning with your friends or colleagues is one of the easiest ways to begin fundraising.

First things first

Plan well ahead! First, you’ll need a venue. Maybe you can use the place where your group or society meets regularly. Church and community halls are also options, or simply plan it at home with your circle of friends.

You’ll also need the facilities to make and serve coffee and tea, tables and chairs, and something to collect donations in. Remember to offer cold drinks for children or those who don’t drink tea or coffee.

OK, I’m in!

Not so fast! Here are a few more tips to make your morning even more successful.
Ask your friends to invite their friends, put up posters in the venue, and of course let your Facebook friends know, maybe by creating an event in Facebook. We are always more than happy to support events run by volunteers so don’t forget to let us know!

Try to remind people using texts and Facebook the day before too, and include a link to the Open Arms donation page so that friends who are unable to attend can still donate.

On the day

Arrive early to set up the room so that you are ready for the earliest guests. If friends have offered to help, that’s great, but do be prepared for not everyone turning up.

Offering extra activities on the day can boost donations – for example, try a “Guess the Weight of the Cake”. You can also offer whole cakes for sale or maybe raffle a baking lesson if one of you is an expert.

For donations, you can either charge a small entry fee for each person to attend, or for each cuppa and piece of cake.

If your event is in a hall, position somebody near the entrance to greet guests and tell them about your other activities.

Once your event has started, remember to mingle with your guests, enjoy yourself and keep the kettle boiling.

Helping vulnerable children

Coffee mornings can raise anywhere between £100 and £200 from around 20 to 30 guests. £150 will pay for 6 months’ of milk formula and 3 outreach visits to a child. A fantastic achievement from your first event! So make sure you let people know the difference this coffee morning has made – then all that’s left is to sit down, put your feet up with a cuppa, and plan the next one!

One last tip from Ian

“Do the planning and preparation. Make sure you have enough people – don’t make assumptions about people’s ability to give their time and don’t take willing volunteers for granted. Then smile, have fun and make sure that you say thank you.”

If you’d like to know more about how you can support Open Arms Malawi by fundraising, contact us on hello@openarmsmalawi.org for your free A – Z guide to fundraising!

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