Why plan an event?
When we asked local UNAs what are their main reasons for organising events, they told us that they are an important means of sharing information; promoting a particular cause; recruiting new members; team building and raising funds. On this page we share aspects of event planning that local UNAs already incorporate, some thoughts of our own, as well as links to other resources that we hope you might find helpful.
What type of event?
In thinking about the many different types of event, local UNAs told us that the type of audience they wanted to reach is a deciding factor as this informs the format, location, timing and publicity of the event. The Government's general guidance to putting on voluntary events highlights the importance of having a clear idea about what you want to achieve through an activity. Below are several ideas about some of the events local UNAs currently organise.
Many events are organised to inform an audience about an issue and encourage debate. Some local UNAs have found they can effectively tell a story through, for example, an art or photography exhibition, but more often this happens through a public speaker. Local UNAs agreed on the importance of trying to find a speaker who engages with the audience and can speak authoritatively on the topic being discussed. The sourcing public speakers page, suggests some ways in which you might find a suitable speaker for such an event.
Organising campagining events, such as a public assembly or a march, can be complex and will inevitably need consultation with, and the cooperation of, the local police. Many local UNAs, however, support or collaborate with other organisations and coalitions, such as the IF campaign, who share their aims and goals. Lobbying a select group of decision makers (local councillors or MPs, say) can also be an effective way of raising an issue. My Society and They Work for You are two sites that can link you to decision makers and groups campaigning for change.
Events for school pupils
A number of local UNAs already work with school children by organising competitions and debates. For example, one local branch runs an inter-school debating competition that involves over 30 schools; another works with their local Scout group helping them gain their Scouting Global Badge; yet another works with sixth form colleges, augmenting lectures about the history and governance of the UN, whilst many others are involved in local model UN projects. Check our events calendar for work done by local groups that engage young people.
Fundraising events may appear simply to be asking people to dig into their pockets for a particular cause. But we often overlook the fact that there is actually an exchange taking place, in which those who give can also gain. If done well, giving to a cause provides a sense of participation, of 'doing something' that can make a difference to someone else and reinforces a shared sense of social justice. We have put some ideas and more information about fundraising on our financing local events page.
Social events are a great way to draw people together in a more relaxed and informal setting. A local coffee morning, networking event or dinner all provide an opportunity to draw people together to celebrate success, motivate teams, draw in support, raise funds, inform and spread the news.
Where could an event be held?
Many local UNAs talk about the importance of selecting an effective venue for their events that provide a good balance between the type of event, its location, size and cost. We have found that venues don’t need to be luxurious or expensive, so long as they are convenient, affordable and have facilities that are suitable for the kind of activity being organised. We have also found that, as a not-for-profit organisation, lower hall hire and conference rates can often be negotiated. Most communities will have resources available, such as school halls and community centres. Two useful websites that can help find local community venues are Halls Hire and My Community Space. General online advice about hiring a venue is available and an internet search will reveal all sorts of other possibilities.
Other pages in this guide: