Event Planning Tips
We’ve taught hundreds of workshops, and in the process discovered several key factors to think about when planning an outreach event.
- Work backward. Identify the ideal end result and work backward to determine the steps needed to get there.
- Target the right audience. Once you have your goal in mind, decide who your target audience is. Then ask yourself a series of questions. Who will most benefit from your information? What types of media is this audience in to? What teaching approaches will work best? What setting will make them comfortable and engaged? Are there extra measures you should take? (childcare, interpreters, food, travel or parking arrangements, etc.)
- Don’t assume you’re on the right track. Get feedback from your target population to make sure your planning is on the right track. This way you’re more likely to have a session that’s great, with a message that makes a difference.
- Consider the location. If your target audience has limited transportation, go to them rather than requiring them to travel. If you’re reaching out to parents, find a location that can accommodate childcare and consider providing a meal or snacks so it’s easier for families to participate.
- Plan appropriately for publicity. What types of media will best entice your target audience? Posters at churches? Notices in mailboxes? Inserts in school folders? Brainstorm a list of publicity approaches that will best meet your need. Use clear, bold fonts that are easy to read -- be creative but also make sure your message comes through clearly. No matter which method you choose, make sure you allow plenty of time for people to make plans so they can attend your event.
- Use creative titles. Few people will attend Budgeting 101, however, call it “The First Step to Becoming a Millionaire” and people may show interest. Both workshops cover the same material and are led by the same teacher, but there’s stigma in not being successful with money – wanting to be rich is something most people can relate to. Even though your title may have a creative flair, be clear about the content of your event so attendees know what to expect.
::Getting the Word Out::
Getting students to show up for a workshop depends on you getting the word out early and taking advantage of every promotional opportunity available to you. Use colorful flyers and posters to grab attention. View sample press releases to help you get the word out about your session. Contact us if you need help creating marketing materials.
Not sure where to start? Here are a few ideas to jumpstart your brainstorming:
- Your school website
- The local newspaper
- Bulletin boards
- Chalking sidewalks
- Handbills passed out by students
- Work with professors to offer extra credit for attending workshops
- Social media: Twitter, Facebook, etc.
- Table tents in the cafeteria
- Posters in common areas (elevators, restrooms, computer labs)
- Email blasts
- Targeted promotion to student groups (International Students, Student Government Association, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Greek Life)
- Posting advertisements at off-campus sites (coffee shops, church bulletin boards, restaurants)
- Asking professors/teachers to allow you to speak to their students during class.
- Reserve a table in a high traffic, designated area.
- Ads in student mailboxes (for on-campus students)
- Use your car. Write event information on it and drive around campus.