Running events is the bread and butter of any society! For advice on the set-up stage, check out part one of this blog series.
Here are some more tips from Cheyenne, ex-President of Aston Women in Business:
- SORTING YOUR TASTER EVENT
Regardless of what kind of event it is, here’s some crucial pointers that may help it run smoothly:
- Eventbrite – My team and I would set up an Eventbrite to get members to register to check attendance. Make sure you check the ratio of who registers, to who actually turns up, and to make a note of any newcomers.
- Food – Could be worthwhile having refreshments? If you’re worried about turnout, a good old free pizza incentive goes down a treat with students.
Don’t shy away from asking for feedback – this is how you improve, and get to know your members. They are paying you at the end of the day!
- Research your speaker and make it crystal clear to them why you think they’d be beneficial. You don’t want to waste their time, as they may be coming out of office hours for you, or even after work in their own free time.
- Stuck on who to ask? Make use of your connections with your team, friends, parents, anyone!
- You may not have the funding to pay for your speakers in monetary terms, so maybe have a fund so you can give them a small gift?
A speaker’s thank you gift doesn’t have to expensive but the thought will go a long way! I suggested with my team for us to give merchandise, as that way, our name gets spread around their office (win-win).
- LIASING WITH YOUR STUDENT UNION (SU)
Your SU should be on YOUR side. They’re there to support you and help you through your year.
First things first, introduce yourself, either in person or email. Here’s a few things your SU can help with:
- Finances – you may have to sign claims forms, so people can get paid if they’ve brought things for your benefit, and can’t access the account directly. Also, if you want to donate to charity. It may be the case that your SU is a registered charity anyway, so it is worth a conversation with them to check what you’re doing is in fact legal!
- Speakers – You may wish to invite externals, and this means paperwork! Try and send your forms off as soon as possible to make it an easy process for approval.
- Room bookings – You may need a room in your university, whether that be for an event or meeting. Remember to add additional time in your booking for prepping the room and tidying it away. If the room isn’t left in the condition it was in, you may receive a nasty email about it (yep, it happened to me).
It may vary with different universities, but my experience was that our SU was in control of our finances. There would be an SU account number and code that you could publicly give out, but your society and club may be owned by your SU, so you may not have your own. If we wished to purchase anything, it would have to be approved through them.
You can always ask for up to date accounts, and I recommend doing this daily (maybe give this responsibility to your treasurer or VP). You do not want to be in minus, as you may have to pocket out of your money for it!
However, as I was a business student, we were a bit cheeky…. We did a have a secret stash* for petty cash, as sometimes expensing and sign forming can take a while. I’d advise having a stash of around £30.
*If you and your team have worked really well for an event, I’m sure that £30 can be a round 2 of tequila shots to reward yourselves!
- FRESHERS FAIR
The big day! Now time to get as many sign ups and members as possible. It could be worthwhile investing in a snazzy roller banner. I did this, and it was a great investment, as we then proceeded to use it for every event we held – just be careful not to add a date on it when you first print!
Make your table as attractive and lively as can be. Hold a competition, raffle, or play music to attract footfall. Always, always keep an additional list for yourselves of who is interested.
Don’t rely on those interested to all become paid members, so you can receive the list from the SU. With your own list, you can track who was interested and didn’t pay, and can perhaps S-P-A-M them with emails and Facebook messages persuading them to pay up and get involved.
My team and I organised a ‘Welcome Event’ which invited all those who weren’t an official member too, as this introduced who we were and gave an opportunity for those to pay if they missed the fair. Our ‘Welcome Event’ attracted just under 100 people, so it’s worthwhile!