ACCORD Touring Project Resources: Events Planning Workshop, Brenda Rooney

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In depth Event Planning Workshop developed by Brenda Rooney (Rooney Productions, Wakefield QC). Shared with ELAN during preparations for the March 22, 2012 ACCORD Touring Project Workshop with Regional Partners, at which Brenda presented an adapted version of this workshop focusing on 'Marketing, Communications and Local arts as community development.'
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  Written by Brenda Rooney 1   Events Planning Workshop  Chapter 1 Defining the EventChapter 2 Drafting the Event PlanChapter 3 Scripting the Event Event Planning content online.  Written by Brenda Rooney 2   Creating an Event Define, Plan, and Script are the three stages of creating an event. Each is aChapter in the workshop. Defining the Event is the first step and often is itthe most difficult. Until you have defined the parameters of the event itself you shouldn’t begin the planning process. Chapter 1: Defining the EventTarget Population Often when you ask someone who their target population is they say “everyone” – as in “everyone will love my” film, event, music, ideas…but infact, if you look carefully, our target audience is never so broad.For example:1.   If you are running for federal election your target population is between18 and 80, and agrees with you on key issues like the environment,economics and peacekeeping. That would limit “everybody” quitesubstantially.2.   If you are putting on entertainment to generate awareness (or raisemoney), you would have to determine the age group most likely to enjoyyour show. You need to identify those who will come because they agreewith you (sometimes called “the converted”), and those whose ideas youwant to influence, and of course your own network of friends andcontacts. In general, you wouldn’t showcase a jazz band if you wantedteenagers, or street rap if you are appealing to the older set.In defining your target group, it helps to answer these questions. ã   Who do you want to attend the event? ã   Who will share common values and tastes? ã   Who do you want to hear about it and wish they had come too? ã   What do you want the media or outside groups thinking before the event,and after it?  Exercise: Write down as precisely as possible who your target population or audienceis.  Written by Brenda Rooney 3    Desired Outcomes and Objectives What do you want to achieve? Do you want to bring 20 people to see youmake a presentation? Or do you want to reach 250 with your message? Nomatter what the event is – there are reasons for you to put it on. You needto think through what those reasons are in order to have an opportunity tofulfill them. For example, when the Wakefield Grannies hold their annualconcert they state as their objectives: ã   To sell 500 tickets to the event thereby raising $6000 to help theircounterparts in South Africa, the Gogos. ã   To share adequate and accurate information about the great courage anddetermination of the Gogos who are raising their grandchildren. ã   To inform people about the Wakefield Grannies’ mandate and ourpresence in the community.  Exercise: Establish what the goals and objectives are for your event. Answer thequestions “Why are we doing this event? What do we hope to achieve?” Makeyour answers as detailed and specific as possible.  Brainstorming Ideas Now that you know exactly who you intend to reach and what you hope toachieve, this is the perfect time to stop and spend a little time brainstormingaround the event.Often when we begin to create an event plan, we already know what it is weplan to do. We may have decided to have a concert, put on a play, or hold adinner. Ask yourself how you can enrich the event – you might havesomeone make a speech or tell a story. Or create a brochure or program withextra information that you can hand out. Add something special to theprogram – some small gift, an activity, or decorations – to make the eventmore exciting, more intriguing and to forward your objectives.For example, a local theatre group has an event program and in it space isallocated for a message from the Director and one from the Board. Here is aperfect opportunity to articulate your message. At an event dinner, you canhold a silent auction of items donated by personalities from the communityor from local stores. Or you might put in “quotation” cards that relate to yourkey messages at all the seating places that get people talking to each other.The creativity of your committee members for providing enrichment to theevent means the possibilities are unlimited.  Written by Brenda Rooney 4    Exercise: Describe the event as you have envisioned it, taking into consideration yourtarget audience and goals.  Key Messages   Key messages describe the type of information you want to produce and thecontent of your communications. Although there may be specific messagesyou want to convey to targeted members of your stakeholders orparticipants, these messages should be broad enough to appeal to a wideraudience. They should also be backed up with truth or evidence. They shouldbe able to be used in different ways such as in the creation of publicitymaterials, choosing your event’s MC (master of ceremonies) and performers,or writing the event script.For example, during the launch of a membership campaign to raise money tobuild a Community Centre, these were the key messages: ã   The co-operative Wakefield-LaPêche Community Centre brings togetherfour vital community organizations to create a multi-purpose cultural andsports centre for the region. ã   Membership in the Co-operative Wakefield-La Pêche Community Centrebuilds support for a new public facility where youth, seniors, families andcommunity groups speaking both of our official languages can gather for awide range of recreation and cultural activities. ã   A successful membership campaign shows funders from all levels of government that the project is needed and wanted by the community,and that all related groups in the community are working together for thecommon good.For another example, promoting the Great Granny Concert, the keymessages would be something like this: ã   AIDS is devastating Southern Africa and it will take all of us to help haltthe rising death toll. ã   The Wakefield Grannies work as a group to offer financial and emotionalsupport to the Alexandra Township GoGos, a group of 50 women and mencaring for their AIDS-orphaned grandchildren. ã   We also assist the 200 children who attend the Alexandra Clinic ã   We are grateful to the Wakefield community for its support over the lastfour years
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