The nonprofit you work for wants to have a special event to raise awareness of the organization’s brand and cause. Your leaders don’t want another fundraiser; they want something fun and interactive to engage people into getting to know their story. What do you do?
Executing a pop-up event allows your organization to interact with numerous folks from all walks of life, who will hopefully be so inspired by your event that they go on to talk about your cause’s message among their friends and family. Not to mention, it’s an opportunity to earn coverage from top press outlets and produce additional content for your social media channels.
Recently, my colleagues and I put together a one-day awareness event in New York City’s Flatiron Plaza for our Learning & Attention Issues campaign with Understood.org. Watch the video below to see what we did and find some inspiration for your own future events!
As you can see, we were able to educate a massive amount of people on learning and attention issues in just one day. With the event officially complete, I wanted to offer up some words of wisdom for any nonprofit leader out there who might be planning (or looking to plan) their own pop-up affair. Here’s my 5 tips for ensuring your awareness event is a success:
1. Have a Flexible Budget
Think about it: you’re literally building something from the ground up, so keep in mind that outdoor or pop-up events come with a hefty price tag – everything from permits to staffing to swag needs to be accounted for. The good news is that with savvy planning, the event you design could include elements you can re-purpose for other branding or awareness activations.
But be prepared for unexpected expenses, too. Consider making room in your own event budget for last-minute costs associated with weather or technology.
2. Permits Take Time – Don’t Give Up!
When applying for a permit you not only have to be very specific on what your event looks like, but you also must be patient once you submit it for approval. Government and city officials need to make sure your event is safe and adheres to all fire and safety regulations – don’t be surprised if they ask you to re-draw your layout or do a walk-through of the space before they approve your request for a permit.
With all that said, have multiple locations in mind for your event – that way if your permit is denied because of other events going on, you have a back-up option that you’re ready to apply for right away.
3. Multiple Experiences Attract More Visitors
It’s a fact of life: different people like to do different things. For our Learning & Attention Issues event, we created an experience with three unique activities: an art installation, a touchscreen simulation, and a social media photo opportunity. Our visitors were able to pick and choose the activities they liked or had time to do. Visitors loved this idea because they could come and go as they pleased and feel like they were a part of our brand’s story in way that made sense to them.
4. No One Can Resist Free Stuff
Branded swag is a fantastic reward for those who participate and offers a way for you to extend your organization’s message beyond the boundaries of your one-day event.
When ordering your swag, consider how many people typically pass the space on a given day, and be somewhat conservative in your estimate. You don’t want to run out of swag too early but you also don’t want to have too much left over – your brand’s gear may be an exclusive piece for that event only, and no one likes to carry extra boxes back to the office after a long event.
5. Invite Press Outlets to Stop By
Reach out to relevant press outlets the week before your event and follow up the day before as a reminder. Offer them a window of time but be sure to pick a time in the day when you know your event will be buzzing, like rush hour or lunchtime. Be prepared with a designated spokesperson who’s ready to appear on camera if needed.
With the right media attention, you could extend your brand’s message beyond the passerby of your event and into the homes and phones of thousands (or even millions!) of potential supporters.