10 Steps To Organising A Bonfire Night Fundraiser In 2019


We are all collectors of experiences, so it makes sense that a Bonfire Night Fireworks Display is a  good way to raise money for your charity. However, as there may be many Bonfire Night Firework Displays in your area, how do you compete? How do you ensure your non-profit will receive a good return on investment? Well, intrepid reader, follow our short guide and your chances of success will increase exponentially.  

Step 1: Manage Expectations

A typical school firework display by Star Fireworks

A typical school firework display by Star Fireworks

Begin by taking an honest assessment of your potential budget and volunteers. How many dedicated helpers can you really count on?
Do you have in funds in the kitty? Will local businesses sponsor your show? How much can you raise through early ticket sales?

Once you have gone through this assessment you will be ready to plan the size of your show. A well thought out small show will raise funds and spread the word about your organisation far better than a big disappointment. Remember if everyone has a great time they will be back again next year and will tell friends and family what a great night they had.

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The Hallowe’en Carnival in Derry-Londonderry which this year celebrates it’s 30th anniversary and has entertained and entrapped tens of thousands of people over the last four days. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 31.10.16

Step 2: Create A Written Game Plan

Sit down with your team and write down all the details you can possibly think of;

The Derry Halloween Festival with Fireworks by Star Fireworks was a huge success.

The Derry Halloween Festival with Fireworks by Star Fireworks was a huge success.

  • How much do you think you can charge for entry?

  • Will this include food?

  • Should you have a bonfire?

  • What kind of drinks will be available?

  • Assign team leaders for ticket sales, publicity and security.

  • Will you have a theme?

  • What decorations will you need?

Step 3: Stand Out From The Crowd

Brainstorm with your team for ideas that will make you stand out from the crowd. What special talents is your team hiding? If you have an amateur D. J. amongst you why not put up a tent and dance floor? How about beating the rush and having a combined Haloween / Bonfire Night the weekend before? This will open you up to lots of extra money making opportunities such as haunted houses and fortune reading tents.

Step 4: Shop Firework Companies

Once you have your estimated budget it is time to look at expenses. Obviously, the biggest expense will be the fireworks. Should you hire a professional firework display company or take a trip to the local shop?

If you have at least 700 earmarked for fireworks then it is best to hire a professional company. Their expertise will leave you free to concentrate on other aspects of your event. Often larger companies will give you the most bang for your buck, as they buy their fireworks directly from the factory.  Ask around for recommendations and check Google reviews. Consider how long the company has been in business. Longevity is a good indicator of quality service and a solid safety record. Reputable companies can also be counted on to have the correct insurance and safety codes in place. 

Step 5: Pick A Location

Ascot Charity Bonfire Night Display. Fireworks By Star Fireworks

Ascot Charity Bonfire Night Display. Fireworks By Star Fireworks

Now you have spoken to a few display companies you should have a sense of how large a venue you will need. Schools will usually have a playing field they can use; for other non-profits finding a venue can be a challenge.  Keep in mind the importance of parking, your paying guests will not want to walk 1/2 a mile before arriving at your show. Get creative and think about a business that might like to partner with you. Local cricket clubs, pubs with gardens and football clubs are all possibilities. What noise restrictions should you expect? If you are in an area with farms and stables you may need to consider a low noise show.

Step 6: On-Site Meeting With Your Firework Display Company

With your venue selected you can make your final decision about which firework company to use. Professional companies should do a free site assessment and give you recommendations about the duration best suited to your budget. Ask what types of fireworks you can expect. If you have noise restrictions be sure to mention this. Do you have a good feeling that they care about your show and will not be overstretched at such a busy time? Have they taken the time to share with you ideas and advice on how to create a winning event?

Once selected your Firework Display Company should furnish you with a risk assessment and details of their insurance. Keep in mind, if you plan to run annual events in the same location, your risk assessment is good for a number of years. Keep it in a designated file for next year.

Step 7: Maximizing Return On Investment

Think of ways to boost the funds your charity will make. Glow toys are a popular purchase at firework displays, hiring a photo booth and charging for pics can be a fantastic money maker. Packets of sparklers are always popular. Be sure to have plenty of sand buckets around your venue with signs indicating this is where sparklers should be extinguished.  Stalls can sell additional food items that are not included in the ticket, such as homemade treacle toffee and toffee apples. How about dressing up as Fireman and collect donations as people leave. If your display company has done there job patrones will be full of bonhomie and generous urges. 

Step 8: Publicity

Throw yourself and your team into promoting your show. There is a lot of noise out there and you want to be heard. Keep in mind who you are doing this for. You and your team care about your charity, so chances are others will too. If you have hired a fantastic display team such as Star Fireworks then you know everyone is going to have a good time, don't be afraid to ask for the sale.

Think of all the ways you can promote your show;

  • Create a Facebook and Instagram page for your event. Share posts with local groups, friends and family.

  • Invest in a website.

  • Hang posters in local shopping areas and along heavily driven roads.

  • Ask local businesses if they are willing to display posters about your event.

  • If you are raising funds for a youth group or school send the kids home with flyers

  • Community radio stations will often give non-profits low cost or free mentions

Stunning low noise fireworks from Star Fireworks

Stunning low noise fireworks from Star Fireworks

Step 9: Set Up Your Venue

Due to all your planning setting up on the night should be a breeze. Ensure the fireworks ignition area is roped off a safe distance from the crowd. Be sure to create a grand entrance. First impressions are the most important. This is your opportunity to sell glow toys, drink tickets and give out fliers telling everyone about your cause. When people have a warm fuzzy feeling they are happy to spend a little extra. 

Step 10: The Final Pre- Game Check

Assemble your team, check everyone knows their job and how to connect with other team members. Your firing team will not be able to give you an exact arrival time as loading displays on the busiest weekends of the year is a herculean challenge. Make sure the contact person has their cell phone charged and is readily available. 

That's it, your ready! Enjoy the Fireworks and give yourself a huge pat on the back.

Firework DisplaysTina Tucci