12. Event Planning and Evaluation

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1 12. Event Planning and Evaluation What is an event? Events include fundraisers, public outreach campaigns, general meetings, and combinations of the above. No matter what the objective of an event is, all successful events require thoughtful planning, a clear picture of the end target, and strong leadership. This section is intended to guide you through thoughtful planning and evaluation processes in order to ensure that your event is superb and includes guidelines for: Guidelines to Event Planning Event planning can be broken into 3 stages: It is often the easiest to complete the first two stages, but your event is not complete until all 3 are complete Before you begin selecting dates, or recruiting volunteers, or even thinking about recruiting volunteers, you must understand what exactly your event is trying to achieve. This is what the is and it is perhaps the most critical part of your event. Here is what you should be thinking about during this stage. State your objective What is the objective of your event? Are you trying to raise money, raise awareness, or a combination of the two? If your event has a combination of objectives, which is the primary objective, and which is less important? Event Planning and Evaluation pg 85 of 94

2 Do these objectives fit into your year plan and EWB s mission? This ensures that your activities remain focused on EWB s mission. Perhaps you may be able to run a wildly successful fundraiser, but raising $10,000 for the Heated Blankets for all Groundhogs Foundation is not particularly useful for international development. Think clearly about what you are trying to achieve. Is it a fundraiser? An education event? Your planning should fall from this understanding. Define Success Identifying success is crucial to achieving success. Think of event planning like driving. Would you ever just get in a car and drive without really knowing where you re headed? Chances are, the answer is no, otherwise you could drive around for hours, waste a lot of gas, expel a lot of pollution into the air and end up just circling the block. Not a productive way to pass time! Define what success means to your team. Being able to visualize and verbalize specific outcomes to an event provides focus to planning and re-affirms that you have a realistic goal. It is easy to get caught up in the details of the planning and organizing of an event (driving), but keep in mind that it is the end impact (destination) that should govern your activities of the event (driving). You should be able to identify the following: Short-term (Outputs): The most immediate results of your event For example, for an educational mall display for EWB Day, you wish to reach 500 people in one afternoon, have 100 people stop, 50 people ask questions and 10 people engage in a thoughtful discussion. Medium-term (Outcomes): Effects of the Outputs/Immediate Results For example, you would like 40 of those that asked questions to go to the EWB website or other informative resources. You would like 25 of those people to tell a friend or relative about EWB. Long-term (Impacts): The longer-term change you hope your event will help create. For example, people are more informed about human development and make more sustainable lifestyle choices. Are the anticipated outcomes and successes worth the inputs? As outlined in the charter, EWB strives to maximize social returns by running an efficient and effective organization. This means that every event that is carried out should involve the question of is the end worth the means? This includes not only financial input, but also time and human resources. Event Planning and Evaluation pg 86 of 94

3 For example, consider an idea to hold a fundraiser at your chapter to send a volunteer on a Op21 placement. The fundraising target is $5000. Scenario 1: One idea is to hold a black tie dinner that will cost attendees $50 a plate. You hope to attract 100 people. The inputs are: 120 hours of organization, $25 per plate. Lets assume that you were able to get everything else donated (you have a super strong team!). As a result of this event, your chapter will net $2500. Scenario 2: Another idea is to have a band night. You convince some student bands to donate some stage time and attract 250 people at $5 a person. It takes about 15 hours to organize and after paying for hall rental of $100, you net $1150. Let s look more closely at these options. Scenario 1: Scenario 2: 50% of the money donated actually goes towards development. Value of time input is $41.6 raised /hr invested. 92% of money donated goes towards development. Time value is $76.67 raised / hr invested. Now, that is only considering the financial comparisons. Some other considerations that could be weighed in the above example include: Will you be more successful in reaching out to students that are willing to pay $5 or to a more affluent crowd will to pay $50? Which event will save you more stress? Are there other non-financial trade-offs that are worth the input? As a chapter this sort of analysis on immediate successes needs to be carried out and decided upon. Once you have identified the goal of the event, and can articulate the specific objectives, the rest is simply making it happen! Here are some useful tips: Prepare for the worst One of the downsides about doing events is that they can be costly if they don t work. Think about the event you are planning. If the worst thing that could possibly happen happens, what will the cost be to your chapter? What if it rains on a run you have planned, the band you booked doesn t show up, or no one comes to hear a guest speaker? There are variables Event Planning and Evaluation pg 87 of 94

4 with events that you will never be able to control so make sure that the elements you can plan for you can manage with the resources you have. Once your chapter has agreed that the event aligns with your goals and has the capacity to roll out the event effectively, the next steps predominantly about arranging the details. Build a team Managing a project or event does not mean that you do everything. One of the secrets to good management is to be able to delegate. Events can cost a great deal of people time, so make sure that you have a team who can work together, who can balance each others strengths and each hold responsibility for their elements of the event. Get butts in seats In general, events require attendance, so a major part of having a successful event is letting people know about it! One of the biggest reasons why events are not successful is that they aren t publicized enough, or more importantly, they aren t publicized well. Consider who your audience is and the best way to reach them. Make sure to stagger publicity- refresh posters, put a series of ads in the school newspaper, send out reminder s - so that people remember the event. Don t forget once you have people to your event to make sure to have them come to the next one - always have an sign up sheet! Know your audience Who is your target audience? Is your event going to be in a mall? In a classroom? On the street? What is the level of awareness of your audience? Understanding how your audience will be engaged during the event, their mindset when they interact with the display or information about development or EWB will be is crucial in identifying what your event needs such that it will achieve the desired outcomes. and how you will engage them Ask yourselves, On the Aware, Care, Prepare, Dare scale, where does my audience sit? How can we move them up the scale? What is the message? What do we want them to walk away with? Details, details, details. Planning the specifics will ensure that your objectives will be met. Finally, once the activity is over, remember that the actual event is not completed until you have measured impact, evaluated the program and carried out all follow up items. Event Planning and Evaluation pg 88 of 94

5 Be sure to hold some debrief and evaluation of how well the objectives were achieved. This process is absolutely critical for the continued improvement of your chapter s impact as well as personal improvement in managing events. Did you achieve your objectives? Would you repeat the event? What worked well? What could have been improved? An Event planning and Evaluation framework provided in the Appendix, has been provided as a guideline to assist you in your event. It should be used before and after all of your events. A completed copy should be kept in the Yearbook binder as having this record will help out with future planning of activities. As you may realize, event planning requires a lot of foresight and understanding of where you wish to go. Like a high performance athlete, being able to visualize the event beforehand can lead to better performance and more effective results! In Canada Projects There are other Canadian activities that EWB chapters can get involved with such as: Design/Research Competitions SDRC Research Competition (Sustainable Development Research Competition) Other: Mondialogo, NRC Energy Ambassadors Competition Technical Training Technical training at local libraries, community centres, multicultural groups, seniors groups, disabled groups, or back-to-work programs Construction Builds Habitat for Humanity builds, and other construction builds for groups with mandates consistent with EWB Beyond these encouraged Canadian activities, we ask chapters to really think about activities that mesh with EWB s Vision, Mission and Charter. After you ve brainstormed some ideas, feel free to contact your Chapter Buddy from the National Management Team. Event Planning and Evaluation pg 89 of 94

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