We spend so much time lost in our phones, computers, or other digital screens, yet events are still one of the most powerful communication tools out there. Why do you think people pay thousands upon thousands of dollars to go see the Super Bowl instead of just watching it in the comfort of their own homes without spending a dime? There’s just something about being at a live event among other people that can’t be experienced or replicated in a digital world. But instead of the live event being about the excitement of a sporting event, it could be about uniting people by working for a cause and building community. Here are our top tips for using local events to strengthen and improve your social enterprise community!
Do you know what your event is going to be all about? This is something you need to get figured out before you can start planning anything else. Will it be a charitable 5K race? An open forum discussion with the local community? A neighborhood block party? A golf tournament? You can turn just about any event into a way to raise awareness for your cause, you just need to get a little creative!
Once you’ve figured out what your event actually is, you need to consider where and when it’s going to be. Do you need to book a venue to hold your event? If so, you’ll want to do that as soon as you can to make sure the date you want is available. If you’re putting on an event that’s going to be outside like a 5K race or a bottle and can drive, you’ll have to make sure you have a space to do that as well. Parks are typically a good option for outdoor events like these, so be sure to get in touch with your local parks department to get it booked.
Bonus Tip: If you’re booking an event venue or a park, ask them if they’d like to sponsor the event by donating the venue reservation. It’s a great way to cut down your expenses and get more people passionate your cause.
Marketing & Promotion
Once you’ve got all the planning done, it’s time to get the word out! Depending on the nature of your event, it might be a private invite-only situation, or it could be open to the general public. Either way, think about using an online event management service to keep everything organized. Most of these services will allow you to send out invites for your event, track RSVPs, and share to social media accounts to reach even more people.
To beef up your event and get more people involved, try reaching out to local businesses to see if they’d like to sponsor your event by donating something to be raffled off. When you get donations from businesses, encourage them to share the event on their social media page. Most businesses will happily do so since sponsoring a cause is a great opportunity for them to get positive press as well – people love to see local businesses that are contributing to their community.
If you want to really swing for the fences on your business sponsorships, you could try reaching out to bigger businesses with similar charitable interests. For example, if you’re putting on a fundraising event to support those who are visually impaired, you could reach out to Warby Parker, who donates a pair of glasses for every pair they sell. Since their own charitable efforts are in line with yours they’ll be more inclined to support your event. So poke around the internet to see who might be interested in supporting you!
Another avenue you could venture down to let more people know about your event is reaching out to local media outlets to pitch a story about your event. If you’re putting on a 5K race to support local renewable energy adoption, you could reach out to your local news station and have them interview you for a story on their evening news segment. Local news stations are always on the lookout for new stories and things to promote; especially things that are going on right in the local community.
Depending on what kind of event you’re putting on, you might need some people to help you facilitate it. If your event is on the smaller side, you might be able to get away with guilting your friends and family into helping you out. But if you need more manpower, consider reaching out to local businesses to see if they’d be willing to sponsor your event by having some of their employees donate their time. Again, it gives a business a chance to show off their sponsorship of a worthy cause, and you can get some free labor out of it. It’s a win-win. Just keep in mind that if you’re going to do this, you might want to reach out to businesses that have enough employees to accommodate the amount of help you need.
If you really want to make an impact in your community, holding an event to support your cause is the way to do it. By uniting people at an event to work together towards a common goal, you’re not only contributing to the cause, but you’re fostering a sense of community as well.