Being involved in community or charity events is one of the highlights of my job. Watching a concept come to life before your eyes is very rewarding - but no easy task. So I wanted to share some of the considerations that you may want to employ when pulling together your next community, business or charity event.
Now, I'm not even talking about Promotional stuff (1. distribute flyers 2. invite media...) No, I mean how to turn one small concept into something people remember:
When I approach an event, I treat it much the same way I approach any client project - I consider how this one thing can be a full extension of their brand. And of course, it usually starts with the message.
Here are a few tips on how to drill down and create impact with your next event:
1. Choose a theme - What I mean is, a central core concept/belief around which every other aspect of the event will flow - and don't waver! This not only helps your team with knowing who to involve (vendors, sponsors, etc) but also, who to invite. It also helps the public understand why they are there and confirms they are in the right place. The more focused you are in your messaging, the more hard-core fans you will attract!
2. Involve the kids/families - #1 families are always looking for cheap things to do so if you can tie that in, it's a great start. #2 If you get the kids remembering or talking about it, there are more opportunities for sharing, involving others online and off. And they are good for reminding you they want to come back next year!
3. If you can make it Free - do it. If you are in a suburb or smaller region, you don't want to turn people off by getting them excited about something then charge them up front! People will generally be happy to support charity or community causes, but try to do it in more subtle ways rather than right at the door. They should feel they got a good experience for nothing, so that they'll be happy to purchase/donate before they leave :)
4. Continue the party - events are a great way to ingrain yourself into your community as well as getting other businesses involved. Especially if they are on track with your core purpose/mission. If having a physical presence at the event does not prove cost effective, then offer to send new business their way directly from your event through event-specials or a promotional discount. You will make valuable allies in no time.
5. Create an experience - people should leave your event with a clear idea of what they just experienced. A great way to be memorable is to include active participation of different sorts. Get them trying something new - something tied to your theme. They will not only get the message, but have stuff to talk about, post and share as well!
6. Don't underestimate traffic flow - if people are wandering and unsure of where to look or move, they could only get half of what you were trying to accomplish with your event. A great idea is to create some flow - follow a theme or perhaps end at a final destination, purchase point or booth. Signage, punch cards, arrows and demonstrations are a great way to keep people moving!
I hope you find these tips helpful in planning your next community or outreach event in your area!