With COVID-19 restrictions in place you may be questioning how you can host a fundraising event during the pandemic, however these top 10 tips from Etiquette Expert Jo Bryant on how to host a successful socially-distanced or virtual event, mean getting involved in Macmillan’s Coffee Morning this Friday 25th September couldn’t be easier.

Macmillan Coffee Morning

Macmillan Coffee Morning

1. Get on top of organisation

Hosting a coffee morning virtually or IRL (in real life) will run very smoothly if you get yourself organised. Letting guests know in advance what they can expect from a socially distanced event or preparing an itinerary for a virtual get together will help guests enjoy themselves, feel safe and worry-free, and happily donate to a good cause.

2. Be virtual

For groups bigger than six people a virtual get-together can be just as fun. Hosts should remember to send out links to join the video call well in advance, make sure to not leave people lingering in a virtual waiting room, and be ready to welcome virtual guests cup in hand, ready to drink and chat.

3. The great outdoors

Enjoy the last of the summer by meeting outside for a small garden gathering of six people. Whether you socially distance with picnic rugs in the park, do ‘cake-away’ deliveries or open a stall for passersby, be sure to stick to the guidelines and enjoy the great outdoors.

4. Get creative juices flowing

Hosting or attending a social event virtually may be new to a lot of us, but if you have a fun itinerary of activities to hand, you and your guests are sure to have a good time. Get creative and set your guests a puzzle or riddle at the start of the call to keep them occupied in case you have any tech mishaps.

5. Kindness is key

We all know that awkward silences are a common occurrence now when chatting online. If you’re a guest at an online event, try to fill the gaps in conversation, engage with other attendees and complement your host on their hard work behind the scenes.

6. Feel flexible

This applies to hosts and guests alike. Coffee mornings are a great way to have fun with family, friends, neighbours or colleagues, but with social distancing rules it’s important to adjust, be respectful and make sure everyone’s preferences are met. For example, BYOT (bring-your-own-Thermos), wearing a mask or requesting to meet virtually.

7. Safety first

Hosting IRL(in real life) may require a few more preparations than usual, but it’s all worth it to create a safe Coffee Morning for guests. It’s recommended to get your cakes pre-sliced and packed so that people can safely grab a bite while socially distancing. It’s worth suggesting that any guests who want to contribute their own sweet treats can do the same.

8. Now’s the time to be on time

To adhere to social distancing, hosts could allocate specific time slots for small groups of up to six, so if you’re a guest be sure to turn up at the right time.

9. A classic: Tea etiquette is important

When it comes to the perfect cuppa I always follow the rules… Tea is poured first and milk added afterwards. It is correct to stir up-and-down – as in 6–12 on a clock face – rather than round and round and avoid clanking the spoon against the side of the cup. For those who want to perfect the etiquette of tea drinking – if you’re seated, cups and saucers are placed on the table however if standing up cups should be held at a comfortable height between the waist and chest. Cups are always put back on the saucer between sips whether standing or sitting, and remember – no pinkies!

10. Generosity in all forms

Whether it’s bringing cake or putting your hand in your pocket for a good cause, everyone should approach the event with generosity. Now it’s easier than ever to donate safely and cash-free via the QR code found in your coffee morning pack.To sign up and get more info on Macmillan’s Coffee Morning visit coffee.macmillan.org.uk

Speaking about the fundraiser, Etiquette Expert Jo Bryant says, “Coffee Morning is a fantastic way to have fun and catch up with friends and family over a cup of tea and a slice of cake, whilst raising vital funds for Macmillan Cancer Support. For those planning a virtual or socially distanced event this year, below are my top tips to help you plan the perfect event or be a great guest this September.”

Macmillan’s Executive Director of Fundraising, Marketing and Communications, Claire Rowney says, “There are more ways than ever for people to get involved with Coffee Morning this year and the safety and wellbeing of our supporters is a top priority. We are providing a range of options to enable people to safely take part in whatever way they feel comfortable and also giving out information and advice to ensure anyone holding an event can do so in a safe way, adhering to the latest Government guidelines.

“Some of the different ways people can still get involved this year include setting up a Coffee Morning stall outside their homes for guests to safely pop by, turning Coffee Morning into a takeaway service or by arranging meet ups with up to five friends for a socially-distanced coffee and cake walk. Businesses like cafes and restaurants can still host their Coffee Mornings, too, as long as they are following the guidance. People can also host a virtual coffee morning, Raise a Mug online, take on a new challenge altogether, such as a sponsored run or cycle, or simply make a donation.

“Due to the cancellation and postponement of many other fundraising events due to Covid-19, our income is facing a significant drop at a time when people with cancer need our support more than ever. Every penny raised by Coffee Morning will play a vital role in enabling us to continue providing the support so many people with cancer rely on – and we are hugely grateful for the generosity and dedication of those who continue to support our work in these challenging circumstances.”

However you take part in Coffee Morning this year, you’ll be helping millions of people living with cancer, who need us more than ever. Find out how you can get involved at coffee.macmillan.org.uk