- Who will be in charge of public relations and any specific promotions?
- Who will produce copy?
- Who will produce layout and artwork?
- Who will sight and approve copy and artwork
- Are you authorized to use the organization's logo? If so, are there special rules about how it may or may not be used?
- Will you conference or meeting have a logo of its own?
- Should your logo be registered as a trade mark?
- Do you have written permission to to use sponsor logos?
- Define the current constituency or the event's target population:
- interests and priorities
- preferred means of communication
- location and transport
- class, wealth, or disposable income
- time on their hands
- What is your organization's current public profile? (How is your organization viewed?)
- What will you outsource?
- Graphic design
- Targeted media advertising
- How will you handle the press:
- Press releases
- Appoint a press liaison officer and define a role description
- How will you keep track of press coverage and make records? (e.g. clippings)
- Will you want a photographer or videographer before during or after the event? Or for the most important sessions? What for?
- Develop a list of contacts and prospective attenders:
- Full details (cf. privacy laws)
- Email list (cf. spam laws)
- What will be your procedure for providing information?
- Mailed info pack beforehand?
- Info pack at door?
- Housekeeping announcements at plenary sessions?
- Regarding event websites:
- What would be their most effective use?
- What would be their nature and purpose?
- How would you use it for establishing, operating, promoting and consolidating events?
- What information do you need from attenders:
- Contact details
- Payment preferences
- Choice of options (workshops, sports events, etc.)
- Special food/health needs? (Vegetarian, allergies, disabled access)
- What will you include in announcements sent out to people:
- What is the event?
- Why should you come?
- Where will it be held?
- How do you find it?
- When will it be held?
- What is its purpose?
- Accommodation (e.g. hotel)
- Is accommodation paid separately?
- What choice of events is offered?
- How much does it cost?
- Who is the contact person?
- How to respond (usually a form)
- Is there a limited number of places?
- What is the last date for registrations?
- How will you handle late registrations?
- What penalties apply for cancellations before particular date (e.g. non-refundable application fee, 10% of payment not refunded)
- Define the clerical procedure for processing applications
- Legal riders about changes or conference or cancellation.
- Develop a list or database of registered guests
- N.B. You must have your conference plan and budget approved by your supervisor before any advertising goes out.
Identify sponsorship opportunities
- Identify items, activities or projects to be sponsored. Look at their potential appeal to sponsors and the needs of the organization. Items or projects could include:
- overall conference sponsorship
- physical items (e.g. satchels, stationery)
- speaker sessions
- social events
- ongoing organisation activities (e.g. an annual publication)
- one-off promotional activities or projects
Identify potential sponsors based on your audience reach and on previous sponsors. Potential sponsors may be:
- private companies
- government agencies
- industry organisations/associations
- educational institutions
Develop financial targets for sponsorship Agree sponsorship activities and targets with your supervisor.
Create a sponsorship package and get sponsors to commit to the event
- Develop sponsorship packages that include full breakdown of costs and benefits and other relevant sponsor information. Sponsors need to have a clear idea of what's in it for them. Hints:
- Create win-win relationships.
- Don't promise more than you know you can deliver.
- Produce information regarding sponsorship opportunities in a professional format and distribute to potential sponsors.
- Get approval from your supervisor for the sponsorship package.
- Follow up promotion and negotiation with potential sponsors.
- Discuss and negotiate additional opportunities with the sponsor if it is appropriate (e.g. additional opportunities or synergies)
- Make written agreements with the sponsor to include full details of commitments made by both parties. (Have an expert write an agreement, or have it checked by a lawyer before you use it.)
- Add sponsorship agreements to the register of agreements.
Manage the media
Dealing with the mass media is a specialized field, so this is only an introduction. You might need to do an Internet search to go further into it.
Consider how much you will commit to mass media. It may be more effective to develop stronger grass-roots relationships with your constituents.
- You need a strategy. You can't make it up as you go along.
- Keep your message very clear. Test your communication. Do people get the same message you intended to send? Is it the right message to get their support?
- Have a unique, consistent market image.
- Use your name, slogan, logo, layout, and color system according to your market image.
- Your materials need to be easily recognizable and appear contemporary.
- Have a quality control system. People expect professional-looking materials.
In the beginning, aim to raise awareness. Getting widespread public support is usually a later step. Have a telephone contact person with follow-up skills. Prevent being in the spotlight for the wrong reasons. A serious scandal can torpedo any progress your organization has made:
- Have a media policy that prevents unauthorized media releases.
- Check any organizations to which you become affiliated.
- Implement proper procedures so that you have a defense against public allegations of improper conduct.
Different kinds of media
- A set of good brochures is quite basic, but necessary.
- Some kinds of excellent publicity are one-time rather than recurring:
- Newspaper articles and current affairs TV programs can support your cause if you can show that injustice is damaging people's lives.
- You can nominate your organization or key leaders for public awards.
Well-managed public events can create goodwill and maintain your constituency. Conferences usually relate to a very different audience. Their effectiveness depends on how you handle them:
- They are excellent networking opportunities, especially when you follow people up.
- If you are invited to give a presentation, you have an excellent opportunity to influence many people.
- A well-done stand can be effective.
Websites often work best as follow-up sources of information because they depend on people knowing it is there and going to it. Even when they get there, people will only return to it frequently if you keep updating it with something important and stimulating. Newsletters can be effective if you have real news. They have a recurring value because you keep sending out new editions.
Implementation starts during preparation and continues fairly seamlessly through to the end of the project.
- Brief your colleagues on details of the sponsorship arrangements.
- Organize activities according to the sponsorship agreement.
- Monitor and evaluate activities make sure it goes well according to plan.
- Take opportunities to get optimum value of sponsorship for sponsors and benefits for your host organization.
- Give feedback to all sponsors
- Request feedback from all sponsors.
- Monitor sponsor payments.
- Monitor compliance with the contract throughout the project.