Whether you work for a charity, agency, start-up or multinational, the impact of a well-executed event can be huge. If the room is right and the atmosphere spot-on, if the messaging is clear and the structure engaging, you can achieve great things and have fun at the same time.
For charities, building connections with local businesses can be incredibly beneficial for fundraising and support, whilst businesses can gain a foothold in the community and give something back. Designing, developing, producing and executing events to bring these diverse networks together demands innovation and should be something that grows naturally out of what you do.
What kind of event do you want to host?
Whether it’s all about lectures and learning, interactive workshopping or an approach led by networking, it’s important to decide on day one exactly what you’re driving towards. Having a clear idea of what you want to achieve and how you want to achieve it will inform all your later decision-making. Some events are all about raising public awareness of an issue – and the more prominent and public you can make it, the more leverage you will have with business to build partnerships. Leading charities like the Alzheimer’s Society credit public campaigns and events with inspiring the corporate relationships they have built. If you’re a business looking to build a connection with a charity, find the organisation you wish to support and ask them how you can help – developing events together will ensure uniform benefits.
Finding the right venue
Whatever the scale of your event, securing a great setting is vital. Large or small, it needs to encourage conversation, be welcoming and fit around the needs of your guests and the event’s format.
Building relationships with popular local corporate venues can secure your event a setting on a scale that will attract high-level guests from both charity and business sectors. Attending relevant industry events can bring you into contact with the people who can help you find the setting to suit you.
If you’re looking on a smaller scale, community-focused venues will often welcome in events that look to further the development of charitable causes. Churches, schools and community centres are worth contacting – adopting a collaborative approach to venue management is a great way to build strong, mutually-beneficial relationships into the future.
Localism is an integral part of building links between charity and business. Concentrating on the community directly around or impacted by your event is a great way to build support and secure services for affordable rates. Target and reach out to local businesses who can offer sponsorship and the services that you need. In exchange for promotion amongst a senior corporate and community audience, many will offer you discounts or complimentary services to make the hosting of your event as simple as possible. This saves money and adds a distinctly local flavour to your occasion.
If you want to build interest and promote your event to niche networks, look to identify the voices of influence in that sector and its professional community. If you can offer attendees industry-leading speakers or challenging panel discussions featuring these key voices, all the better – this provides a ‘newsworthy’ angle with which to promote your event and appeal to the largest possible audience.
And it’s not just in the promotion and execution of your event that these influencers are useful – by filming their speeches and sharing their presentations with attendees and wider audiences online, you can guarantee the legacy of your event. These voices, supported by you, will help spread your message further – and who knows who might be listening?
Ofer Yatziv is a senior events manager with Better Venues, one of the UK’s leading event venue providers. He has over 15 years’ experience of events management, including nationwide music tours, festivals, conferences and global product launches.