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.