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How do you start an event strategy?

Part 2



This is the second part of this blog, so if you haven't read the first part, do that now!


If you've done the exercises from part 1 you will have a list of limiting beliefs that might be holding you back from starting your strategy or going bigger, if you haven't done that yet have a go now...


What consequences are there for doing more/different events and raising more money?

For example:

  • More work for me/my team - I’m/we’re already flat out.

  • More participants means more stewardship. They won't get such good/personal service.

  • I’d have to get better at budgets with more income/expenditure...


Once you've got a list of things that are perhaps holding you back from growing your programme, see if you can rewrite them into more positive thoughts.


"More work for me/my team" might become: if we're generating more activity and more income there would be a case for getting more support to help us with this task


"More participants means less personal service" could become:

Is that true that participants of the biggest charity events don't get a good service? No, those charities have found systems and ways of automating things that mean that everyone feels cared for and valued.


"I'd have to get better at budgets with more income and expenditure" could become:

It will be time to upgrade the old excel sheet system we've been using, I could request I go on a budgeting course to upskill myself or ask the finance team or database folk to support me so I can get more accurate records and feel more confident. There are people who can help me with this.


Make sense?


Perhaps there are other things you can declutter whilst you're at it. Old files, marketing materials, merchandise, processes that no longer work or serve you, your desk space... anything that might be taking up brain space and keeping you dwelling on the old rather than focusing on the new.


Once you've decluttered and created some space, it's time to look at your goals!


I like to start with the big picture or vision or destination. Something that may be set for 1 - 5 years in the future. What success looks like for you and your team (if you have one).


So it may be something like 'In 5 years the events programme will be generating £1m to fund our research so that no one dies of lung cancer by 2030. 5,000 people will have attended one of our events and 75% of them will go on and do another activity or take another action in support of our charity.'


Then you might want to do the strategic priorities that will enable you/your team to hit your big vision. This might include marketing that you'll need to get the numbers to your events, what financial investment you'll require, what systems you'll need, what types of activity you will require to hit your vision etc.


If the vision is your destination, the strategic priorities are the map that is going to get you there. And there will be various routes you can take. Ideally you will want to break these down into more timely chunks - 3, 6 or 12 months which are reviewed regularly as things shift and change. There will be external and internal forces that might push you off track or detours you need to take so reviewing regularly throughout your journey is important!


The final section is your tactics, or the tasks you need to do day by day to meet those strategic priorities. What are you doing daily eg. tracking what marketing is working, what activity is working, what opportunities are on the horizon, as well as ensuring supporters are well cared for and likely to take on another action for you.


In my latest email I shared a quote that I heard recently that I really liked. I'm afraid I didn't catch who said it so can't credit them.


"The bigger and clearer the vision of tomorrow, the greater our ability to sustain the challenges of today"

In other words, when you have a clear vision or goal you're heading for, something that is motivating and ambitious and inspirational, the smaller day to day challenges you will face on your journey, become less of a issue. Because you know you're heading in the right direction.


If you tend to feel a bit overwhelmed at the idea of "strategy", think of it as a road map to your desired destination which will shift and change over time. It should be a living, breathing, moving thing, not a 30 page document you save on your computer or in a file that you never look at. It should help you, not hinder you. Have some fun with it.


And remember you're doing waaaaaaaaaaay better than you're giving yourself credit for.


You've got this!


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