Event Planning 101

Consider holding an event to officially launch the campaign in your community or to promote recycling during the campaign. When planned properly, events can be an excellent opportunity to catch the community’s attention and really cut through the clutter to reach your target audience.

We recommend using special events as one method in your communications arsenal. For a complete plan of action, check out this sample Communication Plan that will allow you to launch the right campaign for your community.

When you’re ready, the tips below will help:

  • Plan ahead – Begin planning as early as possible. Decide whether you need a stand-alone event or if there is an existing event you can piggyback off of. Announce a pledge or challenge to residents. This will give everyone a goal and will give local media a reason to cover the campaign again – as they track its progress.
  • Locations – Are there any landmarks in your community that exemplify its pride? What about ones that demonstrate the importance of the environment? Consider holding an event at such a location. These could include your MRF, a park or even a local school. The event can be a press conference about the campaign with community leaders, or a bin drive or other event.
  • Invite list – Consider engaging your elected officials and others, those whose opinions are respected as well as those whose support you will need. These include the mayor, commissioners, local business leaders, other organizations, etc.
  • Promote – As soon as you nail down the date, time and location of your event, start promoting it to your target audience. This doesn’t have to be a costly or time-consuming task. Simply use the resources available to you, such as community newsletters, bulletin boards in public spaces, public access television channels, e-mail communications, articles and event calendars in local newspapers, etc. Check out Attracting Media Coverage for tips on working with the media in your community.
  • Spice it up – Make your event space or booth visually appealing and attention-grabbing. You have only a few seconds to get people to pay attention to you. Use your imagination! Consider spicing up your area with balloons, music, banners, bins and posters designed by local students. And, of course, use all of the posters and other creative materials available to you through the statewide campaign.
  • Ask for a commitment – One of the basic tenets of any social marketing campaign is to ask people to make a commitment to your cause. Use your event to ask attendees to make a public pledge to either increase or begin recycling. People are more likely to follow through with a promise if they’ve made a public pledge to do so. Then promote this pledge/goal regularly. Depending on your budget, you may want to reward pledge-makers with a giveaway to remind them of their commitment (and promote your program beyond the event!). Things like bottle openers, can koozies, letter openers, etc., make great giveaways and can be inscribed with your recycling program’s Web site, logo or slogan. Check out the fun giveaways we’ve created for this campaign.
  • Who’d you talk to? To add even more value to your event participation, consider administering a brief survey. Since most visitors will have short attention spans, the simpler you make the survey, the better. At the very least, ask for their name, address and e-mail address. That way you can add them to your mailing list after the event.

Consider administering a short survey like this one.

Questions? Contact us.