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How to organize an event

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  • 1. HOW TO organise an eventwww.solargeneration.org
  • 2. 111 HOW TO ORGANISE AN EVENT 1. WHY? Organising an event, however large or small, is an opportunity for your group to meet people, especially students. As well as the main purpose of the event (to educate, demon- strate, suggest a project, facilitate meetings, etc), you should bear in mind that this is the opportunity for your association to prove itself and to get yourselves known. Essentially, it’s an opportunity to win over, not only students, but also teachers, administrative staff and the media. It’s also the idea opportunity to bond the group, share in the good times and, importantly, strengthen the team spirit! It is essential to organise different presentations for each stage of your project so that your demands hit home and you can explain the results you’ve achieved. Here are some tips for preparing properly and making your event a success. Don’t forget that your aims must guide your action. What matters is what you want to achieve.
  • 3. to e time ke throles and Ta ne defi onsibilities2. RECRUIT resp VOLUNTEERS While preparing the event, it is 6 TIP draw up an organisation flowchart: essential to form a group of volunteers. Make a note of all operations, You must therefore start by assess- preparations, people in charge, ing your requirements (how many their responsibilities (cheques, people and roles). accounts to check, people to con- Organise an initial meeting, outlin- tact) and essential dates. This way, ing your project to the team and ask- everybody feels responsible. ing them to take part. Once the volunteers are on board, This should be regularly updated think about making time to brief (once a week) and everybody them on its aims, give everyone an should check it (it could be sent to individual role and start planning. an e-mail list). Representatives on stands must know their subject inside out so that they can answer any questions.Assign one person to supervise the event and co-ordinate the team. Inaddition to this person, several roles should be allocated: one person should be put in charge of administrative tasks: obtaining the necessary permits, collecting funds (see “Guide – how to secure funding”); another person should be put in charge of logistics: equipment, setting up and dismantling, tracking, posters, etc; one person should take care of communication: making posters and fliers, liaising with the media; finally you should appoint a spokesperson, who will be the main contact for the media (see Guide – talking to the media).Other volunteers can organise activities in smaller groups.
  • 4. 3. DEFINE YOUR GOALS Goals should be aimed at a target audience and should focus on the issues you want to tackle. In order to achieve them, your goals must be clearly defined. The same event should be used to motivate group members, strengthen a sense of belonging, inform your target audience, socialise and meet people (through meals, workshops, etc), celebrate success, and put pressure on the university vice-chancellor to advance your needs. You will have a clearer picture of the type of event you want to organise after you have established your goals. 4. DETERMINE THE TYPE OF EVENT Answer the following questions: where, when, how, what, (type of visual aids?), why? Think about logistics – movements, equipment, and timing. Next, think about your goals, the target audience and the setting for your event. For example, if your aim is to collect signatures to support a project, set up a stand or a lively interactive demonstration (with photo-mes- saging, for example). If your goal is to celebrate the fact that the president has signed a charter, organise a cocktail party, or a conference. For more ideas and inspiration, check out the “Ideas for your events” factsheet. Set up a meeting with the aim of promoting the event. Include contacts, the type of advertisements, fixing important dates, press and PR.Flyer “Just aClic”used in morethan 50 campuses
  • 5. 5. PLANIdeally, you should already have an overview of the different activities that youare going to organise throughout the year (see the “Setting a calendar” sec-tion in the “Ten key points” booklet), which will allow you to anticipate theimportant organisational steps.Next, allow at least one and a half months’ preparation for a really successfulactivity, bearing in mind that this time frame depends on the type of event.Even if organising it is very simple, you need to allow time to get permissionto use a hall or conference room, pass the word around to other students(printing posters, placing adverts in the student newspaper, regional dailynewspaper or student radio all need to be thought about in advance),find speakers (conferences, displays, stands). e heCareful! Depending on the type of speaker you want to et mor To gs, look at trinvite, some may need to be booked six months in idea as for youadvance (celebrity speakers, groups with existing commit- “Idents” guidements, etc). eveThe best solution is to plan in advance. Starting on day X, planthe necessary steps, i.e. those that need to be done the day before,two days before, a week before, etc.Here is an example of an event: Day-40 Day-25 Day-15 Day-5 Day-2 Day Day+2List requi- Get Put up Put up Contact Day of Summaryrements permits adverts adverts the media Event Commun-Set up Prepare Announce Send icate theteam adverts in lecture invitations outcome hallsFinally, study the timings of local, national and international demonstrationsso that you will have an impact. It is sometimes useful to link up with otherevents (Sustainable Development Week, Climate Action Day, etc.) becauseyour event will benefit from an already mobilised audience.Similarly, give some thought to “old chestnut” ideas. Back-to-school,Christmas, the summer holiday, New Year’s Day and the January sales are alltopics that journalists have to cover every year and they’re always looking fora new angle.When choosing the date and place, the rule is that you should never choosea day of action which is already being used by another important event (a foot-ball match, transport strike, one-off concerts, school strikes, etc), the day
  • 6. before holidays, or at the weekend (which is absolutely forbidden given thatthe campus will be empty and you’ll not be successful). Be careful too thatyou don’t end up competing with another activity organized by anotherassociation!Choose the date based on how busy the place will be and the main lessonsof the day.You could make an announcement at the beginning of a lecture andbenefit from a full audience (or even, if you keep the lecture hall afterwards,have the audience already seated in the room!).6. MEETINGSYou must meet at each stage of a project to bring everything together and del-egate tasks. Meetings should have apurpose and an agenda.For the meeting to be useful, minutesmust be taken (delegate someone totake notes before the meeting starts).If you’re short of time, ask this personto make a list of the essential deci-sions that must be made. Answer thequestion "Who does what"?Draw up an accurate budget for youractivity. Write down every expense(supplies, renting a stand (if neces- eting to For the meyou havesary), equipment, printing posters, be useful, report aetc.) and add 10% for additional to make rdsexpenses (see “Budget” factsheet) aft erwa
  • 7. 7. COMMUNICATEEstablish the message you want to convey.Taking into account the timings for manufacturing and obtaining supportmaterial, establish communication methods that are suited to the campusin question. TIP think about Documents must be punchy and should communicating using a attract attention. Images and text must “teaser” in two stages: stand out. The event name should be strik- ing so that it sticks in people’s memories – First wave of posters – make it known that something is make it attractive but mysterious, or simply going to happen, to whet lucid. Visibility is an essential part of people’s appetite but without communication. giving any details The name, symbol and logo are essential Second stage – provide pieces of information to help people details of the event. remember an organisation and symbolise its activities and spirit. Don’t forget theSolar Generation logo, which should appear on all communicationdocuments.Advice: making contact with the appropriate people in the early stages of theproject will familiarise you with the conditions for putting up posters. SOME TIPS Z > Leaflets : hand out leaflets on Monday 10th for an event on Monday 17th, as well as the day before and the day itself. > Posters : they can be covered over with adverts, so you will need ample space (allow one poster for every 100 students targeted). > Strategic positioning: phone boxes, coffee machines, libraries, corridors, behind toilet doors, student newspaper, student radio, free newspapers, town events listings, cafés, computer rooms, etc. > Ask teachers to mention events at the beginning of lectures, or do it yourselves. > Create a group e-mail address for important meetings.Remember that good posters, visible communication, as well as talking tostudents in the lecture theatres will help your association on campus! Don’tforget to mention your Internet site, the names of those responsible, your localoffice address, etc.Think about advertising your event using the media; by drafting a pressrelease (see “Media” guide and additional sheets).
  • 8. 8. ASSESSMENTOrganising events will help to advance your Solar Generation project. It istherefore essential that you write a summary afterwards to see what workedand what didn’t, and to identify problems that you can learn from for next time.Think about the following questions: How many students took part? How many leaflets were distributed? How many posters used? If applicable, how many signatures did you get? Had the students you targeted heard of Solar Generation and your project? Are they interested in helping to make the campus green? Were they receptive to this type of event? What were your organisational problems (timing, team issues, distributing roles, external relations)? What were the most commonly made comments? Did any questions catch you out? What did this action bring to your association? What did it bring to the Solar Generation project on your campus? What do you want to do next?These answers will help you to build on your project and to consolidate yourassociation. Consider sending this report to Greenpeace.
  • 9. Summary:- Identify your goal and message.- Define your target audience – who could be interested, whose awareness should be raised?- Choose the most suitable type of event for the two previous answers – establish how long the event should last, where and how it should be held, how and with whom you’ll make it happen.- Think about practicalities – permits, technical issues, support material, partners, budget, etc.- Bring the event to life – use supporting material, prepare discussions and demonstrations, etc.- Decide on a communication strategy so that your initiative gets heard.- Prepare well for your event – there’s always the unexpected!- Assess the outcome – discuss this with your new contacts and make your views known.
  • 10. NOTES
  • 11. TÉSTIMONY ‘EFFET PAPILLON’ (BUTTERFLY EFFECT) ON THE GRENOBLE CAMPUS, BY NATHALIE « The Butterfly Effect Association grew out of a project to install photovoltaic solar panels on the roof of the inter-university student building at the heart of the campus, EVE. It was the project’s objective that moti- vated new members: we had to communi- cate with students even before the proj- ect was fully defined. We had the support of EVE, its network of associations, pro- fessionalism, and a telephone directory! In this way, we grad- ually carved out a niche for ourselves on the campus and Greenpeace International Ottho Heldringstraat 5 1066 AZ Amsterdam Netherlands in local communities. By making use of existing networks, we can cut down on a great deal of event organisation or communication work, and benefit from the high visibility of events that are already well known. For example, taking a stall at the Frapna international festival of nature and environmental films gave us the chance to reach a different audience from that on campus, and to meet politicians and jour- nalists who are do not necessarily take an interest in student affairs. After this period of making contact, we were ready to organise our own event with the associations we have met and with whom we get on well. We benefit from theirPrinted on 100% post consumer recycled chlorine-free paper advice, experience and also their volunteers. In this way, we were able to organise two one-day environmental conferences in March 2007, based on the themes Air and Energy, which brought ten associations together in EVE. This was our flagship project, supported by Solar Generation, and thanks to the number of associations involved, the event immediately had a high profile and was well reported in the media. www.solargeneration.org Co-operation with student and other associations is of paramount importance! This shows that the association is outward looking, is a real support in running the project, and also gives the association a higher profile. You know everybody, the association, the decision-makers, the media - and everybody knows you (well, almost everybody)! »

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