Events are a great way to promote your project, to gain trust and support for your cause, and to bring together people who may not otherwise become involved in the project. Events should be fun and social occasions which encourage interactions between and participation from all who attend. This will not only make your event appeal to a wider audience, but also more memorable and talked about, hopefully inspiring more people to attend your events in the future.
Different types of events will be relevant for different projects at different stages. There is no hard and fast rule for which events to run for a given purpose or at a certain stage. It is likely to be most beneficial to organise as wide a range of events as possible in order to offer something for everyone and to capture the interests of different groups of people.
The following sections offer ideas and examples for engaging citizens through particular types of events. However, general considerations for maximising the engagement of citizens regardless of the type of event include:
- Deciding on a type of event. Before organising an event, why not ask people what events they would like to attend? This is not only a useful exercise if you are stuck for ideas, but can also help to ensure you engage the largest audience possible and avoid risking running event that has a poor turnout.
- Venue. Try to pick a neutral venue which is accessible and well-known within the community, such as a local café or village hall. The more convenient the location, the greater the number of people who are likely to attend.
- Publicity. Unless your event is publicised effectively, few people will know your event is happening at all, let alone will attend on the day!
- Invitations. Make the effort to personally invite particular people or community groups who are likely to be interested in your event or who could make valuable contributions. This will help to ensure you get a representative audience and start to build local connections.
- Incentive. Providing an incentive can tempt people to attend who may not be sufficiently motivated by the cause alone. Free food can work a treat!
- Keeping in touch. On the day, make sure you take down contact details from those who attend so you can keep them updated on your project and follow up from the event.
Click on the categories below to explore practical suggestions and detailed case studies by theme.