How to organise large events

So you’re going to organise a Young Greens Event? That sounds like fun. But also a bit daunting right?

Starting off

Let’s start with the basics. That is the what/why/when/where/who.

What is the event? Is it an action day? Is it an activist day? Is it a training event? Maybe it’s a rally? Outline what the event is

Why does the event exist? What does it aim to achieve? (i.e. with Young Greens Women Activist Days - it aimed to get more Young Women involved in the party)

When will the event happen? Do you have enough time to advertise and get it sorted? If it's a large event, it would be adviseable to have at least 4 weeks for organisation and then 4 weeks for advertising, but it can be done in less depending on the size

Where are you going to host it? Groups based at universities will usually be able to book free rooms, but if not, start looking into cheap spaces. Friends Meeting Houses tend to be on the reasonable side

Who do you want to attend? Is it young greens only? Is it a specific grouping of Young Greens?

These questions should form the outlines of your early planning. Once you’ve got these started, you’re ready to go onto the next step!

Budgeting

Ugh money. Unfortunately, it has to be accounted for. So first question, do you have a budget?

If you don’t have an allocated set of funds, there are a few ways you can get some.

  1. Green Groups Fund - you can apply to the Young Greens for money! Details here
  2. Fundraising - Why not buy some badges and sell them with a small mark up? Or order t-shirts for your group? You could even organise a small fundraising event.
  3. Donations -  You could ask for donations on registration to your event. Generally this can be quite successful, but do ask for it for a purpose - i.e. for access funds, or for lunch
  4. Partnerships and Support - contact a relevant organisation (for example Young Womens’ Trust for Young Greens Women) to ask if they want to sponsor the event
  5. Contact the Exec Committee - The Young Greens Executive Committee may be able to give you some advice on where to find funds. Contact them by emailing admin@younggreens.org.uk

Once you’ve got your money, now it’s time to allocate it. You might want to do this after you’ve thought about some of the other steps below first. Here’s an example budget:

Item

Cost

Budget Remaining

Budget

£50.00

£50.00

Food

£20.00

£30.00

Access Fund

£20.00

£10.00

Facebook Advertising

£5.00

£5.00

Contingency Costs

£5.00

£0.00

It’s best that you create the budget in excel or google sheets because it has lots of helpful formulas. I.e. =SUM(c2-b3) which you can then drag down to the whole column and it will automatically allocate your remaining funds.

Also, always allocate a 10% contingency fund. This is to cover any extra expenses that may pop up on the day!

Timetabling

Now you know what your event is, it’s time to start building a timetable. Whether you're just hosting a one or two hour event, or you're hosting a larger event, you need to consider what is happening and when. Some tips and things to think about:

  • For a day event, start it no earlier than 10, 11 if possible, to give people travel time. If you’re going to start it early, then get some free crash space the night before
  • On crash space, if your event is over a weekend - get some! You could charge people for a hostel, or contact local members to arrange some floor space
  • How many sessions are you having and how long are they? Generally 45mins - 1 hour works. If it’s a big event have 3 or 4 things going at the same time
  • Most young greens events will have a session on intersectionality or discuss it at the beginning
  • Do you know anyone who could run sessions or are you going to ask for volunteers?
  • Are you going to timetable in short breaks between some sessions?
  • Are you going to have a big guest speaker to draw people in?

Once you’ve got all these things down, start building your timetable. Here is an example from an event organised by Young Greens East!

Main Room

Second Room

11:00 - 11:45

How to be a Green Party Activist

11:45 - 12:30

#I’mwithEU - how the young greens can fight the EU referendum (Tom Pashby, Young Greens Campaigns Officer)

12:30 - 13:15

Lunch (Provided)

13:15 - 14:00

Developing campaigns - how to be a good campaigner (Chris Jarvis, Campaigns and Democracy Officer at University of East Anglia)

14:00 - 15:30

AGM (Elections, Constitutional Amendments, Discussion on the future of Young Greens East and updates on the Green Party Governance Review)

Chaired by Rhiannon Ennis, Young Greens Regional Senate Co Chair

5 minute access break

15:35 - 16:20

Debating Your Way to Political Success (Hannah Ellen Clare, Young Greens Co Chair)

5 minute access break

16:25 - 17:05

Craftivism: Displaying our love for Young Greens East

You will see here that originally two rooms were planned. As it got closer to the event, it became clear that only one was required. Having this flexibility is helpful!

Accessibility

You’ll have already thought of this in some regard about the access breaks and maybe about the budget. But it’s also good to have an answer to the following questions:

  • Are there any gender neutral toilets? Is the venue okay with you labelling a toilet as gender neutral for the day?

  • How is the wheelchair access?

  • Is there access to a small kitchen for people to fill up drinks and maybe make tea?

  • Are you providing an access fund for travel or accommodation costs?

For more information on Accessibility, read the Accessible Events Guide.  This document is super helpful in thinking about how you’ve included certain groups

Catering

Don’t panic, you don’t need to start thinking about expensive catering companies and hot meals. But it is good to provide a free lunch! It doesn’t have to be anything super special but you will need to consider dietary requirements (vegan, vegetarian, dairy free, wheat free etc). Generally the staple of a Young Greens lunch will be:

  • Bread

  • Houmous

  • Fruit

  • Some veg sticks to dip

  • Crisps

  • Biscuits

  • Fizzy drinks

  • Water

Feel free to mix it up a bit! You will need to think about how you’re getting it to the venue, who’s buying it and where you’re serving it.

Socials

It’s nice to end off an event with a good social. This will help you debrief, while also further cementing the relationships made in the day. Things to think about:

  • Dietary requirements again! Will the restaurant cater for everyone?

  • Will you need multiple restaurants? (this is one of the reasons we ask regions to organise meals at conference, because there’s too many of us for one room, but if you’re only expecting 20 people at your event you’re probably okay with a group booking)

  • Are you including Under 18s?

  • Do you need to pay a deposit?

  • Who’s in charge of leading to the social while others clean up?

Here’s an example of how Young Greens Women did it by having multiple restaurants and group leaders.

Publicity

Publicity is crucial to a getting people to your event!

Registration

Phew! You’ve thought about everything and now it’s time to open registration! Or maybe you’ve opened it a while back (that’s okay too! A lot of events will open registration before timetables are confirmed and things like catering don’t need super loads of planning until close to the time - use your initiative here)

Opening registration helps you have an idea of who you’re expecting so it’s very much recommended. A great free(*) tool to do this is Eventbrite, which has a lot of good features including enabling you to print off a list of attendees on the day or even check them in online. If you have access to the Green Party membership database, events can also be organised through there.

(* if you are asking for money, even if it’s donations, they will take a cut. You can ask people to account for this in the money they’re giving you, and then it will go into a paypal account and then you’ll need to pay the bill at a later date)

Social Media

  • Make sure you utilise as many social media channels as possible, namely Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Use your Young Green account to promote, and your personal account if possible!
  • Create an event group on Facebook and share/retweet as much as possible
  • Keep your posts concise and to the point, no-one wants to read a Facebook essay.
  • Try to use humour when possible, positivity is important when building a movement!
  • Always use images, or boomerangs and videos if you can! People’s eyes magnetise towards moving, colourful images
  • Post in the evening when people are most likely to be online
  • Don’t over post, compassion fatigue is real, and you don’t want to get blocked! Use Hootsuite or Buffer to schedule a consistent and steady flow of reminders.
  • Identify what hashtags are already out there, and use them if they attract mass attention.
  • Alternatively start your own! Make it short, snappy and memorable and use it consistently.

Press

Think about getting a press release out there! Here's some hints to help you write one:

  • Title: Has to both stand out and explain what’s happening (don’t overdo being quirky)
  • Standfirst: Further context
  • Opening sentence: Describe what’s happening
  • Context: 2 more sentences - set the scene
  • Quote: Make it LEAP out of the page. Use strong words ‘outraged’ ‘disgusted’ ‘honoured’ etc
  • Further Context: A bit more scene setting
  • Supporting quote (preferably outside Organisation): Who can add more gravitas to your story?
  • Contact details (including people available for broadcast interview): Give a mobile number, and make sure you’re available to answer the phone.
  • References: Back everything up using [references in square brackets] - saves journalists the job.
  • Top Tip: Write your press releases in the body of an email - don’t send as a PDF or attachment and don’t include any logos.
  • Do your student newspaper know your demonstration is happening? Make sure you’ve got an opinion piece or an article in there to spread the word and build momentum.

Contact us on media@younggreens.org.uk for any more support needed.

On the day

Here we are - the final step in the planning process. Making sure you’re ready for the day ahead.

Having a concrete plan of what is happening when and who is doing that when will reduce stress on you during the day so is highly recommended. Here’s an example of what the planning team for Young Greens Women activist days did:

Tasks Prior to the day

Person 1

  • Redesign handout to make amendments to sessions
  • Source lanyards
  • Make feedback form (or sort link that’s on handout)

Person 2

  • Plan sessions
  • Bring iPad for feedback form

Person 3

  • Print off this task list x1
  • Print off guest list x 2
  • Print off room labelling (Room A, B, C and D Safe Space / Prayer Room)
  • Bucket with sign for donations for Mollie
  •  Source blutac

Tasks on the day

10:00 - 10:30
All arriving at 10am
Welcoming organisers & brief them on tasks that need doing now
Young Greens banner
Move tables in big room out of there & set up the room theatre style
A/V works for all rooms
Room signs are put up
Put up posters with caucus times in all rooms
Donation bucket in break-out room
Tea & coffee in kitchen
Lanyards for organisers

10.40- 11.10:

A welcome desk with guest list, hand outs and contact details for organisers and speakers

10.50

Usher everyone into the big room
1 person on duty to let in the latecomers

11.00:

Start of the first session

12:00

Take picture  outside with the banner

5.30

Wash up cups

Make sure dinner leaders know where to go.

The list of each task per time was then allocated to someone to deal with. You should be able to steal some ideas from this on other things you may need to think about.

That's it!

And here we are! You’re ready for a successful event. We hope this guide was helpful, but if you have any further questions or need some help, please contact us at admin@younggreens.org.uk