How to Organise an Event
Establish your Aims
It is important to clarify your aims and objectives from the outset. What you hope to achieve through engagement should be a decisive factor in your choice of activity.
- Do you want to increase awareness of your research?
- Do you want to increase applications to your department? (if so, it may be worth contacting the Undergraduate Recruitment Office)
- Do you want to improve perception of your subject area?
Once you have established the purpose of the engagement activity, it should be easier to develop the format and content for your event. If you have clear aims and targets, it will also be easier to evaluate your event afterwards.
It is important to organise your event at a time which will be convenient for your audience. As a rule of thumb these timings tend to suit the following audiences:
- Adults/general public: evenings
- Families: weekends
- Schools: during the school day. Secondary schools have a busy exam schedule, so it may be best to target certain periods of the year:
- October / November / December / February / March / April / late June-early July
- Older people: during the day, weekdays or weekends
Good event management includes identifying any potential risks and deciding how you will mitigate them. A blank risk assessment form (Appendix 1) and a worked example (Appendix 2) is included in this guide to give you some idea of the type of risks you may need to consider. For further advice on how to complete a risk assessment, contact the Community Engagement Team.
Depending on the nature of your event, you/your colleagues may need to have a CRB check. The Criminal Records Bureau website ( www.crb.homeoffice.gov.uk) has more information on when a CRB check is required. CRB checks can be arranged through the University – contact the Human Resources Division for more information.
Selecting and Training Students
Using students can be an effective way of minimising staff time contributions to events as well as giving the public an opportunity to talk to students about the University. There is a cost involved, but generally it is money well spent, as long as the students are well prepared for their role before the event. Contact the Jobshop for further information.
Before the event:
- Make sure you have details of any delegates with special needs (e.g. allergies, disabilities).
- Consider preparing name badges for all visitors so that they will be easily recognised as visitors to the University.
- Alert Security (Tel: 02920 874445) to the fact that an event is taking place.
- Make sure you have the number of the nearest first aider, and check they are in on the day.
- Arrange parking to be available through Security.
On the day:
- Start your event with a general safety talk. Include an emergency contact number, should anyone get lost.
- Take a register of all the visitors that are on University premises, in line with University fire regulations.
- Keep an incident book and record any incidents that occur during the day (e.g. theft).
- Provide a feedback form for delegates to tell you what they thought of the event.
After the event:
Evaluate the event from a staff point of view and from a visitor’s point of view, and then document improvements and lessons learned in time for the next event.