The Seven Pillars of Awesome Activist Events

The Seven Pillars of Awesome Activist Events

You can also download this document as a printable PDF handout.

I. Know your Aims

  • What’s the point (what do you want to achieve)? Is it to raise awareness, explain something, get new members, achieve practical change, raise money, or something else?
  • Could you achieve your aims in a different way, without an event?
  • Is another organisation doing a similar event who you could support or collaborate with?
  • What will people do next? Does the event form part of a programme or campaign?
  • Who’s going to come (what’s your audience)?

II. Be Organised

  • Who’s going to coordinate the event? Would it help to have people take on specific roles?
  • Can you get advice from people who might be able to help you?
  • How will you involve other people in planning and running the event? Will you hold meetings or create a mailing list?

III. Have Good Content

  • What will the event feature? Are you inviting a speaker, showing a film, running an activity, something else? How topical or creative does it sound?
  • How will the event’s content help you achieve your aim? Will your attendees leave feeling inspired, informed, included?
  • Is the event’s content well suited to your audience?

IV. Get the Practicalities Right

  • When will the event be? Does this give you enough time to plan and publicise? Does is clash with another event? Is that a problem? Does your timing fit your audience?
  • Where will the event be? Can you find a venue that is cheap, well equipped, nice, accessible to people with disabilities (e.g. has a hearing aid loop, space for wheelchairs, step-free access, parking)?
  • How will people get there? Is public transport an option? If not can you provide transport?
  • Do you need to get any extra equipment?
  • Do you want to provide food and/or drink, or encourage people to bring it?
  • What props, programmes, information or other things to do you need to prepare?
  • Can people who can’t attend get something out of it? Will you be writing it up, filming it, or taking photographs?
  • Will the event cost money to run? If so how will you pay for it? Will you charge or ask for donations? How will you keep track of your budget?
  • Does it matter if you know how many people are coming beforehand? Is so will you ask people to register or reserve places beforehand?

V. Spread the Word

For a rough guide this should take about 50% of the time

  • Have you let your members/related organisations know about the event so they can help publicise it?
  • How will you let new audiences know about your event? Do you want to run a flyering campaign, or contact people by phone, email or post? Can you give announcements or share videos?
  • Are there listings pages, mailings, newsletters, and facebook pages you can submit your event to, or could you get coverage in local press?

VI. Stay Calm On the Day

  • Have you written an organisational plan for the event, and does everyone involved know their roles and responsibilities? What time should you arrive and pack up?
  • Have you thought about things that might go wrong?
  • If you’re in charge of practical things, pay attention and make sure people can find you.
  • If you’re with attendees, pay attention, smile, and talk to as many people as you can.
  • Make the most of the event! Remember, whoever comes is the right people.

VII. Do the Follow Up

  • What will attendees do next? How can you encourage them to do this?
  • Are there people you need to thank?
  • When will you evaluate the event and celebrate your success?

With thanks to Mark who brought it to my attention.


About manchesterclimatemonthly

Was print format from 2012 to 13. Now web only. All things climate and resilience in (Greater) Manchester.
This entry was posted in capacity building, Unsolicited advice. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s