How to organize an event? This guide contains best practices in organizing valuable working life and professional growth events and activities for students and university staff.
As constantly organizing Y-kampus events, we collected the valuable steps for you to follow to organize your own.
Following the guidelines given in the guide you will be able to
- attain top notch knowledge from your specific professional field of interest
- learn how to value your own knowledge and skills
- create meaningful connections to working life as well as job opportunities
- meet awesome students from different study fields
Always start with why. Would you like to work the most time of your life in something meaningful? Do you want to help people to achieve the same goal? It is possible.
The future working life skills include people management, creativity, coordinating with others, complex problem solving, service negotiation and so on. We will learn those skills by putting them in test and that we can easily do by organizing events.
We believe that growing new leaders and creating events are a great way to plant the seed of wider thoughts. Events are a gathering where people form long lasting friendships and meaningful partnerships. Your event can change people’s lives.
Making a change in people does happen in small steps. You will inspire them to dream more, challenge their way of thinking by colliding them with different people and empowering their ideas and actions with resources and networks.
- Create inspiring events, speeches, workshops, excursions.
- Connect different organizations together to make interaction.
- Allocate resources to great ideas.
- Lead the projects by giving the power to others.
- Be the one who has time to listen and help.
Fundamental steps of planning an event
1. Define your vision and the event goals – Why, how and what do you hope to achieve?
Create your vision.
Smart goals are:
Ideas for event goals:
- Finding inspiration
- Idea development
- Finding funding
- Business opportunities
- Creating worklife connections
- Meeting potential employers
2. Who is this event for – who do you want to reach?
Target groups can be for example:
- University staff
- Other stakeholders
What do they need?
What do the participants get from your event?
What value does your event bring to your target group(s)?
3. Who do you need – compose the organizing team
Think about what needs to be done to achieve the event goals, what kind of skills do you need in the organizing team. Find at least one person to help with organizing. The bigger the event, the bigger the organizing team needs to be. Be realistic.
Think about the locations: do you need organizers from all the campuses?
Think about collaboration: Tribe and other organizations around Tampere – do your goals unite? Could you work together to achieve event greater reach?
Define roles for team members.
- In the beginning, the most important part is to talk about and share roles and responsibilities: who is doing what.
- Decide who is the project leader keeping it all together and having the big picture clear in mind.
- What other roles and responsibilities you need to make a great success with the event?
- What skills does your team have?
Roles can be for example:
- Project lead – must
- Marketing lead – must
- Sales and sponsorships lead – must
- Finance lead – must
- Production lead – tech, venue
- Graphics lead
- Program lead
4. Event budgeting
- Define what kind of costs are going to be at the event.
- How many participants are going to be at the event
- Performers, speakers – do they need a reward or covering other expenses
- Possible food and beverages
- Marketing and for example print materials
- Think about the costs and how to cover them in your budget – for example how much do you need to sell to make things happen? Can you get the university to pay some of the costs?
Remember to keep some emergency spare money in the budget.
Check out the budgeting template for example.
5. Set a date and venue
Set the date
Check the upcoming events organized in Tampere area and the universities, for example:
Select and book your venue
Things to consider:
- How many participants are expected?
- What if all of the participants are not coming: do you need an alternative for a smaller group?
- Who do you want to reach – consider distance between campuses
- What kind of venue: do you need an auditorium, classroom or just a place for a stand?
- Make the reservation long enough for building the event and cleaning up
- Remember to think about the safety issues when organizing events in outside venues and announcements to police when organizing huge crowd events
- Possible emergency plan for emergency officials if over 200 persons, fireworks or other things considered dangerous
You can find lists of the possible venues in the university website or just ask the janitors.
Here are some spaces used quite often:
- Kampusklubi, about 100 persons
- Kielikeskus aula, about 150 persons
- Y-kampus space, about 10-20 persons
- Kampusareena auditorio, about 100 persons
- Y-kampus Backstage, about 60 persons
- Y-kampus Stage, about 120 persons
- TAMK juhlasali, about 700 persons
- Y-kampus Keskusta
- Tribe Tampere, Pinninkatu 47
6. Define event content and program
Does your team already have good speakers or hosts or do you need someone else to host your event?
Speakers – what kind of speakers do you need to fill the event goal?
What do you want to communicate about with the event?
Things to consider:
- Level of interaction between audience and speakers
- How to involve participants
- How to inspire participants to network
- How to introduce Y-kampus (video, slides or other)
- Setting up the timetables
Do you need registration or ticket sales? For example Lyyti, Eventbrite or Google forms are possible ways to make event registration possible.
- Plus side of having a registration
- you can have a list of interested people who you can send follow-ups after the event and ask if they want to know more about Y-kampus
- knowing a bit beforehand if there are actually people coming to your event
- easier to make food and beverage preparations
- easier to collect participation list or have at least some list if you forget to ask for participations list at the event
- Minus side of having a registration
- some might not come because forgetting to sign up
- people don’t want to sign up and commit to participate, but might show up otherwise
7. Finding partnerships and sponsors
1. Think what you can sell
- for example logo visibility, speaking slots, lounge space, stands, rollups, logos in t-shirts, lanyards.
- Set pricing. Sometimes you have to make some specific offers, but remember that the value should be same and fair for all collaborators. Use your eye for the game
2. Make a list of potential partners and their contact persons.
- Think about your events target groups.
- Think about who to reach, who has the possibility to decide
- Create an excel sheet.
- Do a sales plan: who is going to contact them and when.
- Set deadlines for contacting.
3. Contact potential partners and sponsors – find your own way of contacting collaborators. Bigger things may need an appointment.
- Ways for contacting:
- Send a message in Linkedin
- Send email
- Call + follow up message after, thanks and list things that you have agreed on
- Book an appointment + follow up message, thanks and list things that you have agreed on
For example introduce yourself first shortly, tell them why they want to participate and set the pricing afterwards.
Don’t wait too long for them to answer, follow up – call if you don’t get responses by email. People are very busy these days and they don’t often have time to read their emails properly.
Sponsors can be whatever company from startups to big corporates. Sponsoring can be money, but it can be also food, drinks or other stuff or services. Startups can provide maybe something different than money, for example services.
Try find companies who would benefit something from supporting your event. Describe the event shortly and state clearly the following things:
- how would the company benefit from supporting your event
- how much money/other stuff is needed and why
Use your own connections and network. It is always useful to use your own contacts or the contacts of those around you.
Be patient, selling usually is not easy, but it is a perfect way to develop yourself and grow your own network.
Partnerships and collaborators
These are some of the organizations that can provide for example help with marketing, venue or other support. They have a wide network around Tampere.
Examples of Y-kampus collaborators/stakeholders:
- Tribe Tampere
- Pirkanmaan nuoret yrittäjät
- Tampere ES
- Tampere Startup Hub
- JCI United
- Crazy Town
- Kampusklubi Hervanta
- Health Hub
- Creativity Squads
- New Factory
Tampere area student organizations:
Almost every students have their own organizations. Depending who is your target group, you can find partnerships and collaborators from these organizations. By collaborating, you can also reach more people and potential event participants. Think widely, who would be interested in your event.
Students organizations belong to student unions of each campus, so check out the listings about organizations on their websites.
Reach Hervanta and Keskusta students:
Reach Kauppi students:
8. Brand your event and create a promotion plan
You think you’re done and everything is ready? Well not at all, here follows the most important part.
Do not forget marketing, after all your event is not happening without participants. Here is gathered some advice on how to spread the message.
Try to think about marketing the event even two months beforehand. Also branding is a good way to distinguish yourself from all the other things happening in Tampere area.
1. Think about your target groups
- Think about how and with which arguments to approach different interest groups?
- Which could be the channels to reach different interest groups?
2. Plan and create content for marketing: visuals and texts
- Decide who is responsible and make a schedule
- You can use Y-kampus Canva to create nice visual content with pre-made layouts or use your own way of creating stuff
- Introduction to Canva
You need for example:
- Event “logo” (especially when creating a repeating event)
- Facebook event cover for Facebook and Y-kampus website
- 19:6/powerpoint event picture for possible info screens around campuses
- Plan if you are going to make print materials:
- A3/A4 posters, table triangles
- Flyers – student restaurants are a good way to reach people with prints
- You can play around, but remember to try and follow Y-kampus graphic guidelines: colors and fonts
- Tailored for different platforms and audiences
- What? When? Where? For who?
- Main event description (to the Y-kampus website)
- The longest description, the base text
- For website and Facebook event
- Describe the main focus of the event and speakers/companies involved
Make sure all of these are explained:
- What is the event about?
- Who is speaking or collaborating?
- Where and where it is?
- Who is it (primarily) for?
- How is the event structured? (workshop/lecture…)
- Second longest description
- Catchy but does not include all information
- For example to social media posts, emails to be forwarded
- Guides to Y-kampus website
- “Tweet” Really short description
- For example to Instagram and Twitter
- Remember to consider the language: Finnish/English
- You don’t need an event description in English for Finnish events
3. Communication plan
Make sure the event has:
- Webpage to link to (y-kampus.fi)
- Facebook event page + connection to Y-kampus Facebook page
Other thingh to consider:
- Social media: what is going to be published, when and by who
- What materials are going to be shared in all 3 campuses, how and when
- Think about sending personal messages, do you have friends who could be interested?
- The best way to be seen is to stand in their way and talk to them! Go and put your stand with a rollup in the hallway and face people, offer them some coffee.
4. Communications at the event and after the event
- Remember social media hype during the event!
- Remember to post to social media: at least one post to Instagram and Twitter
- Think about streaming your event live to Facebook
- Remember to collect participant details – ask how did they find this event and if they want to join our newsletter, follow us on social media and use our hashtag
- Is someone going to write a blog post about the event?
Marketing channels to remember:
Remember also universities inner communications and intras: firstname.lastname@example.org
9. Production schedule – who does what and when?
- Does building the venue require much time? What needs to be done?
- Wi-fi passwords
- Computers, is a temporary account needed for the event?
- Sounds and mics, music working
- Additional wires, extension cords
- Live stream tech
- Testing of the materials, functioning of the videos
- Tech check with speakers
- The plan for running the event program, planned in advance
- Figure out who wants to be in front of the camera
- Someone available to take care of tech issues
- You need to make a clear scheduling about recruiting volunteers if you need them.
- Who is going to organize the work, when and where are they needed etc.
Volunteers can be divided for example to:
- Info team
- Social media team
- Hosts for speakers
10. After the event – wrap up
Have a team meeting – what we learned? Think about what could you or others do better next time.
Fill up the event form, it helps you, but also others can learn and reflect.
Ask for feedback from all the participants and sponsors etc. with a form. Ask if the participants want to know more and join our newsletter list.
Download the pdf version here:
This guide was build by us to you. Credits to at least Santeri Tuovila, Aino Siiroinen, Veera Reko, Noora Saros, Maria Ruokonen, Lauha Peltonen and Anna-Elina Pekonen. Thanks for reading, hope we we’re of help to you.