• hpce2019

Running a successful charity event

We were honoured to be a part of Red Cross' Taste of Cultures this year. They've run a number of these events throughout the country, but Auckland was a first! Held at a unique space within Spark Arena, it was an amazing celebration of the joy and diversity that refugee-based kiwis bring to our community.

Setting up a charity event like this is challenging and takes some serious work - to create an amazing experience on a low budget. Here are some of the key ways to make your charity event a success.


Running a high-class event on a low budget takes one thing. Fundraising! We had the team on the phones finding a venue, theming, AV, auction items, speakers, entertainment, food and drinks. It takes time to find the right sponsors to bring everything together.


Of course, volunteers for your cause are key to running the evening. Make sure you have enough volunteers to welcome and look after your guests, run everything in the background, set up and pack down. Red Cross have an awesome team of volunteers who donate so much of their time to this cause, so that was an easy one here.

Good food

Food is the way to your guests' hearts! A unique menu will bring your guests in and make for a great experience.

For our Red Cross event, we were lucky enough to have their Taste of Cultures cookbook to work from. We had a food tasting session with the refugee-background people who shared their family recipes and came up with a menu inspired by traditional recipes from Syria, Ethiopia and Cambodia. The food was impressive and an experience in itself!

The drinks menu

You need plenty of wine and beer to make a great event, let's be honest. A decent drinks menu keeps all your guests happy throughout the evening. We had that sorted by the team at Mount Brewing Co, Takapoto Wines, Trinity Hill and Villa Maria who were generous enough to donate. Ring around and find one of your favourites, and make sure to drop any leftover product back to your sponsors.


Firstly, your MC makes all the difference on the night. Find a speaker that has a passion for your cause and the right personality. We were so lucky to have Aziz Al-Sa'afin MC for us. He comes from a refugee background and his personal story was an amazing contribution along with his perfect broadcasting voice! Our speakers were from refugee backgrounds too and kind enough to share their experience of escaping conflict situations with their families. These personal stories allow your guests to connect with those affected by what you're fundraising for.

Entertainment is key. It's always a great idea to have music and dance, with an entertainment interlude in the middle to keep everyone engaged. Finding unique performers makes the evening unforgettable. If someone is connected to your cause they'll often be happy to help out too! We were wowed by the talent of the Karen Dance Group, Burundian Drummers in New Zealand, and Aura Nusantara Indonesian Traditional Dance Group.

A sneak peek of the start of our event with Burundian Drummers in New Zealand and the evening setup!


A smooth AV experience can make or break the experience. No-one likes sound issues! Thousands of dollars of AV and video was generously donated by Multimedia, who we do work with all over NZ. Their team made sure the sound was right and the experience was captured.

Run an auction

Spend time finding awesome gifts for your guests to have bidding wars on! This was a fun part of the evening and great for a bit of banter. We'd recommend getting a range of auction items that appeal to different people. For us, that meant luxury holidays (in beautiful NZ of course), fast cars, jewellery, handbags, signed guitars, music, books and art, a rugby jersey, and loads of adventures.

The lock and key game is always a winner. Get your guests to sponsor and choose a key - the winner is the one whose key fits the lock! It's always a good bit of entertainment on the night, an icebreaker, and our lucky winner won $1000 worth of Silvermoon jewellery!

Thanks to all of our auction sponsors who helped Red Cross to raise thousands for their refugee programs here in NZ and across the globe.

Spark Arena - who donated guitars signed by Taylor Swift and Coldplay, and a signed autobiography by Bruce Springsteen

Sir Paul McCartney

Destination Great Barrier

Barrier Air

Alice's Seaside Cottage


Good Heavens


Hampton Downs

Dick Frizzell

Silvermoon Jewellers

AJ Hackett Bungy

Rotorua Canopy Tours

Skyline Skyrides

Distinction Hotel Rotorua

Terrace Kitchen

Polynesian Spa

Redwoods Treewalk

Hampton Downs

Nesuto Hotel & Apartments


Explore Group

HMNZ Aotearoa

NZ Royal Navy


Silk & Steel

The Aromatherapy Company

Smith & Caughey

Mutt Butter

Trelise Cooper



Nut Brothers

Float Culture

All Blacks Sevens


Spark NZ

Whittaker's Chocolate NZ

Orbit Travel

Aotea Brewing

Black Label

Aotea Car Rentals

NZ Symphony Orchestra

Hotel Ponsonby

And, of course, NZ Red Cross whose volunteers donate so much of their time to this cause.

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