07 Aug Want to Make an Impact with Your Event? Start by Defining Your Purpose
It’s a little surprising the number of people that build meetings and events without a clear mission or purpose. Many of them have the mindset that an annual event should be the same year after year, whether it makes an impact or not.
But one of first steps to when putting together an impactful, change-agent event is to consider the event’s purpose. Once you define the purpose, every element when planning the event should then speak to that purpose.
An event without a strong purpose is more susceptible to failure. Spending a considerable amount of time defining your purpose helps you stay on target throughout the planning process and puts you in a better position to have a successful event.
It also helps avoid wasting resources. If, for instance, last year’s event budget is to be considered in planning, it should only serve as a baseline. Otherwise, expenses may prevent you from achieving your objectives when changes to accommodate this year’s purpose come in over budget.
To help you start the process of defining your purpose, bring together the key people that have a stake in the outcome of the event. Ask the group these questions to begin formulating your purpose:
- What are we hoping to achieve?
- Who is our target audience?
- How do we engage participants?
- What worked well in past events? What didn’t work?
- What do we want to achieve with this event?
- Do we have the human capital and financial resources to support the event?
- How do we measure our success?
Avoid focusing on the tactical elements such as group size, venue, location, and types of presenters. Instead, think strategically about the bigger picture—the user experience should be the focus. In other words, where do you want this event to move the dial for your company? For instance, if your organization wants to reduce opioid abuse among targeted populations, the event purpose might be to educate at-risk audiences and 30 industries about the problem to reduce the impact of opioid abuse by a certain percentage.
It can take a considerable amount of time to decide the purpose of the event, but in the end, it is well worth the effort.
Jennifer D. Collins is the founder, President, and CEO of JDC Events. She is a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP), Digital Events Strategist (DES) and well known events industry thought leader. She is Vice Chair of the Board for WBEC Metro NY and WBEC Greater DMV, a member of the Women’s Presidents Organization (WPO), and the Author of Events Spark Change: A Guide to Designing Powerful and Engaging Events.