“Oxfam Outreach volunteers respond to Haiti’s plea”

During a cold February evening something pretty special happened at Bar Music Hall in Shoreditch. A group of volunteers mostly comprising of members from Oxfams London Outreach campaigning group got together to arrange a Haiti benefit concert in under 10 days.

Damien Clarkson from KnowHow Nonprofit Co-Organised the event titled Outreach4Haiti and had this to say on the project. “The disaster in Haiti has left millions homeless, basics such food and water are in chronic shortage. This event demonstrated the power of collaboration online between a large number of people who didn’t know each other but shared the same belief that they had to act to help improve living conditions for the people of Haiti. The passion of the other volunteers who helped and generosity of those in attendance was astounding and a real indication of the social responsibility the British public has demonstrated thus far to this crisis”.

Outreach4Haiti saw a great effort from all volunteers who had their own set of skills and pulled on contacts in order to get a variety of things to help, ranging from free raffle gifts to a great venue and set of bands. The event was a major success with over 150 attendees raising £1199.41 towards Oxfam’s Haiti Earthquake appeal. The bands were well received especially Headspace, who were receiving encore requests come the end of their set. If you were unable to attend the event and would like to contribute there is still time to give, please visit


 About the Event: Outreach4Haiti- Are a group of volunteers most of whom volunteer for Oxfam London outreach group. They pulled together to arrange the Outreach4Haiti concert in under 10 days and raised £1199.41, if you would like to contact them you can do so by emailing Damien Clarkson at damien.clarkson@yahoo.com  or damien.clarkson.1@city.ac.uk

Bands and comedians who performed at the gig included:

Stickman Army (http://www.myspace.com/stickmanarmy)
Hannah White (http://hannahwhitemusic.com)
Headspace (http://www.myspace.com/headspacerocks  http://www.bandrepublic.com/news/?p=109)

Dead Cannons (http://www.myspace.com/deadcannons) http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/ldnoutreach

Please visit Oxfam’s ‘Haiti: Drop the Debt’ campaign, calling on the International Monetary Fund to cancel Haiti’s debt: http://www.oxfam.org.uk/get_involved/campaign/actions/haiti_drop_the_debt.html

My top tips on how to do a charity fundraising concert

In October 2009 away from my day job at KnowHow NonProfit I put together a concert as part of Oxjam . The day was made possible by amazing bands and passionate volunteers and friends.

These are my top tips how to deliver a successful and fun event and whilst getting most for your cause of choice.


1) Find a cause you believe in

In my experience the people who work the hardest to achieve maximum results are those who really believe in what they are doing. This applies to charity fundraising, I love music and care about climate change, so I was motivated and passionate from the beginning raise as much for the cause as possible.

2) Involve your friends

Make it fun, at the end of the day you are doing something for a cause you believe in. Sharing ideas and the workload makes organising the event easier. Having people to bounce ideas off and accessing their friendship networks gives you great marketing reach. The more people involved in running the event higher the chance of getting filling the venue as people bring their friends.

3) Don’t under estimate human goodwill

As the old adage goes “if you don’t ask you don’t get” you are organising a fundraiser for a good cause. I found that people we surprisingly willing to give their time or financial and tangible gifts. I was able to negotiate a free venue at the New Cross Inn, free gifts from bands and a percentage of the pubs drink takings and most importantly social media marketing from friends. One tin from chugging made £20 so don’t estimate the value of doing small things.

4) Look after the talent

In the case of my Oxjam all the bands played for free and some travelled a fair distance to attend the gig. I organised some free beers for the bands and gave them lengthy sets. For the headlining act I arranged a interview with Goldsmith University’s student radio. After all they are helping you put on this event if you can do something for them they will be more willing to do future charity gigs or activities in the future.

5) Enhance the power of the web as a marketing tool

Free gig listings, blogs, Facebook, Twitter it is all free and a great way to spread your message. Try not to bombard your group with messages, speak when you have something to say eg a new band. Also ask your friends to invite their friends to join your event group it is amazing how many people you put your event in front of very quickly.

6) Be prepared to be flexible

As always everything will not go to plan, be prepared to improvise on the day and in the build up. Mentally preparing yourself for the odd hiccup on the way makes dealing with them much easier upon arrival.

7) Keep track of the money as you make it

Safeguarding your funds is essential make sure your constantly “bank” your money throughout the day. Keeping a close eye on what you have made is not only sensible but really exciting as you witness how much money you have raised.

8) Involve the charity you are raising funds for

I had fantastic support from Kate Wolfenden who was volunteering as a campaigner for Oxjam. Her climate change campaigning involved everyone and most of us were “blue in the face” by the end of the day and the event attendees went way with a better knowledge of the issue.

9) Most importantly have fun

It doesn’t matter if you make £20 or £1000, you are doing an amazing thing to benefit people less fortunate than you, be proud and enjoy the day.

 If anyone else has some tips please feel free to comment.