All your questions answered

However you get involved with RNLI Gardens this summer, you’re a lifesaver!

All your RNLI Open Gardens questions answered

No matter how big or small your garden is, when you open it for the RNLI this summer, you’ll be making a lifesaving difference.

Your Open Garden can be anything you’d like it to be. Maybe you fancy holding a driveway plant sale. Or perhaps hosting an afternoon tea with for the neighbours. Here you can find answers to any questions you might have. If you can’t find the answer you’re looking for, please email the Open Gardens Team on rnligardens@rnli.org.uk.

And remember, whatever you decide to do, by opening your garden for the RNLI this summer, you’re a lifesaver too.

With the situation changing rapidly, we ask that you check the latest government guidance on Covid-19 in your area with regards to social distancing and group gatherings.  

Due to the ongoing uncertainty with the current Covid-19 pandemic, we recommend that all planned Open Garden activity be postponed until at least June.

Our priorities are the welfare of our volunteers, staff and supporters and maintaining our world-class lifesaving service. While we continue to monitor the situation closely, please ensure that you always refer to the latest government guidance on Covid-19 in your area when planning or taking part in an RNLI fundraising event.  

We sincerely hope that by the time you open your garden, things will be back to some semblance of normality. Our priority is your safety so, most importantly, stay safe.

Anyone can sign up! No matter how big or small your garden is, you’re welcome to open your garden as part of the RNLI Open Gardens fundraising event.

An Open Garden can be anything from a driveway plant sale to afternoon tea in your garden. It can be any shape or size from a small courtyard to a grand hall garden. If you’re passionate about plants and the outdoors, chances are your garden will be well worth a visit!   

Invite your neighbours to open their garden too and you could do a village trail of open gardens!

 

When you sign up to the RNLI Open Gardens fundraising event and pledge to open your garden, you’ll receive a fundraising pack and access to the Garden Shed, which is full of downloadable resources to help promote your Open Garden event.  

Our Open Gardens Team are also available for any help you may need. You can contact us at opengardens@rnli.org.uk, or by calling 0300 300 9990 (from the UK) or 1800 991802 (from Ireland). 

Volunteers and staff can also seek help and advice via their local RNLI community manager or branch volunteer. 

You can open your garden any time this summer. It could be for just 1 day or multiple days/weekends - whatever suits you!

We have provided some resources to help you publicise your event, such as posters and social media graphics. You'll find these in the Garden Shed once you've signed up to the RNLI Open Gardens event and pledged to open your garden. There'll also be some top tips in your fundraising pack.

Here are some ideas to get your started:

  • Invite your friends, family and neighbours to attend, or even to open their gardens too!
  • Share our Open Gardens social media graphics on your personal Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter accounts. You can also share them within other appropriate Facebook groups or pages.
  • Put posters up in your local area, such as in local stores, community centres, newsagents and tourist information centres.
  • Use an online event listing site for your area.
  • Share your Open Garden event with local gardening groups and societies.

We recommend you have a suggested donation to enter your garden, around £4-£6/ €4-€6 is a good start.  

Think of ways you can add extra value to your Open Garden fundraising event such as entertainment or refreshments to raise additional funds for the RNLI. Here are a few suggestions:  

Include a plant sale

 Approach local garden centres for donations or begin growing from seeds months before. 

Offer refreshments

Everyone likes tea, cake and scones. Our lifeboat cake toppers would look great on fairy cakes! Or if the weather is warm and dry, why not host a BBQ?

Entertain the kids

Encourage young gardeners to explore and have fun by using our Where's welly cut out or by setting up a colouring station.

Include a tombola

Running a tombola is a great additional booster to raise extra funds at your event. See if your friends and family can donate some prizes.

It’s easy to pay in your fundraising money!  

If you have set up a JustGiving page for your Open Garden event, all the money you have raised will come to us directly so there’s nothing to worry about!  

You can also pay in any money you have collected online, by post or by phone.

It is best practice to write a risk assessment for any event. You can find information on how to write a risk assessment from the Health and Safety Executive (UK) or Health and Safety Authority (Ireland).  
 
Please see our advice for safe and legal fundraising.  

If you are a registered RNLI volunteer, please contact your community manager for more information on safety resources. 

We want to ensure your event is safe and legal – getting insurance for your fundraising event can be simple to arrange, often it’s included in your own insurance or can be arranged to add on. If you’re organising your own Open Garden fundraising event in aid of the RNLI you will need to arrange your own public liability insurance as you will not be insured under the RNLI policies. Check with your home insurer as it might be included on your own insurance or you can arrange to add on. Alternatively, there are a lot of insurance providers who can arrange a policy for you. 


Please remember that the RNLI cannot accept any liability for your own Open Garden event, related accidents, damage or any losses, even when the event is run to raise money for the charity. If you are a registered RNLI volunteer, please contact your community manager for more information. 

We have taken steps to make sure our fundraising pack is as environmentally conscious as possible. All our printed paper items are recyclable. Please print responsibly and recycle used materials where possible.

We’d love for you to support the RNLI Open Gardens fundraising event. Here are some ideas: 

  • Encourage your family, friends and neighbours to open their gardens instead.
  • Assist someone who can open their garden. 
  • Attend a local RNLI Open Garden between April and October.
  • Donate seedlings or plant cuttings to a local open garden event.
  • Donate to support our RNLI lifesavers
For other ways in which you can support locally, please contact opengardens@rnli.org.uk

Anything you do to support the RNLI Open Gardens will help to save lives at sea. So, thank you for being a lifesaver too!

Ready to open your garden?

All your RNLI Garden Parties questions answered

Here you can find answers to any questions you might have about getting involved in an RNLI Garden Party fundraising event.

If you can’t find the answer you’re looking for, please email the RNLI Gardens Team at rnligardens@rnli.org.uk.

Remember, however you get involved with RNLI Gardens this summer, you’re a lifesaver too!

Safety questions

Due to the ongoing uncertainty with the Covid-19 pandemic, please only hold events if and when government guidance allows. In order to prioritise your safety and the safety of others, please ensure that you always adhere to the latest government guidance on Covid-19 in your area when planning or taking part in an RNLI fundraising event. If you are uncertain or concerned, please get in touch with the RNLI Gardens Team at rnligardens@rnli.org.uk.

RNLI Garden Parties are intended as private fundraising events that you invite your friends and family to. So there is no need for any special licenses or permissions unless you are charging them to attend - donations are fine though! 

However, if you do decide to invite any public into your garden and serve alcohol or play music, you will need to get special licences. See our advice for safe and legal fundraising for more information.  

If you do intend to play music or serve alcohol, please ensure you are respectful to your neighbours by keeping noise levels to a minimum and dispersing or moving any parties inside by 10.30pm, subject to any current Covid-19 restrictions that may be in place at the time.

General questions

We really hope that this summer you'll be able to host your RNLI Garden Party in person, socially distanced if required. Simply choose a date and invite your friends and family round to celebrate the brave RNLI lifesavers. The official date for this fundraising event is 30 July-1 August, but you can host your event whenever suits you best.  

You can make your garden party as simple or as extravagant as you like. From a Bring Your Own picnic to a banger-tastic barbecue. From homemade lemonade and snacks to a delightful afternoon tea. 

Or if you can’t decide, there’s nothing to stop you from holding more than one garden party and raising even more lifesaving funds!

An RNLI Open Garden is a fundraising event where you open your garden to the public. You can invite people to view your flowers and plants, and perhaps put on some activities too like a cake sale, barbecue or treasure hunt for the kids.  

An RNLI Garden Party is intended as a private fundraising event for friends and family. We’re all looking forward to catching up with loved ones again. And what better way than by having a good time for a good cause?  

Whether you host an RNLI Open Garden or an RNLI Garden Party, you’ll be celebrating our brave lifesavers who are expecting another busy summer - possibly their busiest yet - as more people staycation around our coasts due to the pandemic. The money you raise will help to give them everything they need to go to the rescue safely and bring those they help, and each other, home safely. 

Our celebration of RNLI lifesavers will be happening over the weekend of 31 July to 1 August and we'd love for you to hold your party over this weekend. However, we appreciate that this won't be possible for everyone so you can host your RNLI Garden Party fundraising event at any time from June through to September. Please remember to check the latest government guidance on Covid-19 in your area. See our FAQ: What about Covid-19 restrictions?

We've tried to make it as simple as possible to invite your friends and family to your garden party fundraising event. Here are a few options:

  • Print your RNLI Garden Party invitations and send them to your friends and family. You can either print blank invitations online or we'll send you some invitations that include a link to your personal fundraising page when you register for your support materials.
  • Send an email to your friends and family with your invitations attached and include a link to your online fundraising page.
  • Set up a Facebook event and invite your friends - you can then post a link to your online fundraising page.

However you send your RNLI Garden Party invitations to your friends and family, don't forget to include a link to your online fundraising page. And give people the option of making a donation if they can’t attend.

We'd love for you to support the RNLI lifesavers this summer and appreciate any help or support you can give.

Here are some ideas:

  • Make a donation. Any amount you're able to give will help support RNLI lifeboat crews and lifeguards during what could be their busiest summer yet.
  • Encourage your family, friends and neighbours to hold an RNLI Garden Party.
  • Find an RNLI Open Garden event near you and either attend or volunteer to help.

Donate seedlings or plant cuttings to a local RNLI Open Garden fundraising event.

For other ways in which you can support locally, please contact rnligardens@rnli.org.uk.

Anything you do to support the RNLI Gardens fundraising events will help to save lives at sea. So, thank you for being a lifesaver too!

Fundraising support questions

Yes, we have a variety of resources to help you with your RNLI Garden Party fundraising event. These include items such as invitations, cake toppers, bookmarks, recipe cards, bunting and more. All items are available to download for free from our special resources page called the Garden Shed once you’ve signed up to host an RNLI Garden Party.

We're committed to eliminating or reducing our negative impacts on the environment. We’re conscious that not everyone will need or use all of our fundraising resources. That’s why we have made all our fundraising packs downloadable only this year. 
We have also taken steps to make sure our fundraising pack for Open Gardens is as environmentally friendly as possible. All our printed paper items are recyclable. Please print responsibly and recycle used materials where possible.

We have a huge range of RNLI garden-related items available from our online RNLI Shop that can help make your fundraising event a success.  From tea towels and aprons, to mugs,  to yellow welly garden planters, you'll find all sorts of wonderful things to ensure your garden party is full of RNLI-themed items.

How to raise money

We recommend you let your guests know that you are holding your garden party in aid of the RNLI and that you would like them to make a donation at the party. A suggested donation of £4-&£6/ €4-€6 is a good start.

Share the link to your online fundraising page or your personal QR code that we'll send to you once you've signed up and ask guests to make a contribution. Alternatively for cash donations, simply use a jam jar or plant pot.

Think of ways you can add extra value to your RNLI Garden Party event such as entertainment or refreshments to raise additional funds for the RNLI. You'll find lots of ideas in our Gardens Parties Fundraising Guide which is available to download from the Garden Shed once you've signed up to the RNLI Garden Parties event. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Offer refreshments
    Everyone likes tea, cake and scones. Our lifeboat cake toppers would look great on fairy cakes! You can download these from our Garden Shed once you've signed up. Or if the weather is warm and dry, why not host a barbecue?
  • Entertain the kids
    Encourage young gardeners to explore and have fun by using our Where's welly cut out or by setting up a colouring station. You can download the cut out from the Garden Shed.

When you sign up to host an RNLI Garden Party, we'll send you a link to create your very own online fundraising page. This page will allow you to accept cashless donations at your event via a simple donation form that people can access on their own device.

You can personalise the page with your own story and reasons for supporting the RNLI lifesavers. And we'll even send you some supporting materials to display at your event that will be personalised with your very own QR code to ensure people can donate quickly and easily.
 
You are also welcome to collect cash at your event, but we'd encourage you to use the cashless options because the money goes directly to the RNLI and it means you don't have to handle cash and arrange to pay it to us.

It’s easy to pay in the money you raise!  

When your guests donate to your personal online fundraising page, the money is automatically sent to the RNLI, so you don't need to do a thing. Other online donation platforms like JustGiving work in the same way so using one of these online options is the easiest way to raise money.
 
If you have collected cash at your event, there are a number of ways you can pay this in.

Online
You can pay in your collection or sponsorship money online.

Over the phone
Call our Supporter Experience Team on 0300 300 9908 (from the UK) or 01 511 9834 (from Ireland) to pay your money in by card payment over the phone.

By post
All cheques should be made payable to ‘Royal National Lifeboat Institution’. Please don’t send cash.

You can send cheques to RNLI FREEPOST if sending from the UK or RNLI FREEPOST,  Airside Swords, Co Dublin if sending from Ireland.

NB. Please remember to include details of how you raised the money either with or on the back of your cheque/s. For example, a note saying RNLI Garden Party.

Ready to host your party?