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How to run a community event

Decide on the aim, objective and audience

Start defining your goals first off with these handy questions:

  • Who is the target audience? Are they IET members, potential members, the general public, a specific interest group or demographic?
  • Who will organise the event? Is there a lead volunteer or do you need an organising committee?
  • Who do you want to invite to give a presentation?
  • What’s the best format?
  • What’s your budget?
  • What’s the best way to market the event?
  • What will be the output?
  • When is the best time to hold the event? Think about the time of year (seasonal and religious holidays) as well as the day and time.
  • Where will you hold it?
  • Why are you holding this event? What’s the purpose?
  • How many people do you want to attend?

If you’re arranging an event for Young Professionals (YPs), the Young Professionals' Communities Committee (YPCC) have put together a brilliant booklet on attracting YPs in your region.

If you are planning to run a Present Around The World competition then visit the organisers area of the website to find out everything you need to know. 

Choose the right event format

Your event style will depend on what you’re hoping to get out of it. You might want to consider some of the more popular community event formats, such as formal, semi-formal or social.

You may find our guide on selecting the correct format useful.

Whichever format you choose, it is usually possible for delegates to receive CPD hours for attending communities events.

If you are making CPD hours available you may wish to provide certificates on the day. You can download the editable pdf below.

Budget and keep an eye on costs

An event budget is a great way to map out all the areas of income and expenditure. The budget will ensure that the event is viable to organise and execute. Our budgeting for events guide will take you through this process.

We have also created an event budget template to assist you with your planning which can be found below.

Choose the date and venue

When choosing a date, try and avoid religious and school holidays, other IET events and even competitor events to make sure that you attract the people you want. You should also leave yourself at least three to six months to market your event to make sure that people are aware it’s happening and can make arrangements to come.

Your venue can play an important part in the success of your event. You should consider the location, the facilities, the space requirements and the room itself when looking at potential options. Here are some questions you may want to ask the venue before booking. 

Invite speakers and gather content

Securing speakers early on is important as it means you can share a full programme with potential attendees. By capturing important information such as the speaker’s name, contact details, job title and biography, you can paint a picture of the event and the content to be expected.

Here’s what you should ask for from your speakers.

Register attendees

It’s important you keep track of your attendees – we recommend the Plus! for Events tool as it offers simple online registration and attendance tracking, sign-in sheets and badges and feedback request forms. Knowing how many people come to your event is vital for the future funding of your community so make sure you have something in place to capture attendee numbers. If you’d like to be set up on Plus! for Events tool, speak to the communities team.

Market your event

Build it and they will come…well, not always. You should tell people about your event as early as possible, and make sure you stay front of mind as the date approaches. The first thing you should do is enter your event on the IET Events calendar, and read up on the best ways to market and promote your event.

Host your event

If your attendees enjoy themselves, your community will flourish: our pointers on how to host will help your event go down a treat.

If you’re planning on taking photographs for promotional purposes, make sure you let your attendees know. You can use this sign.

Prior permission is required for any images where individuals can be identified. It’s a good idea to print out some consent forms and take them with you.

Post-event analysis and output

After the event, you’ll need to submit the total number of attendees, including the member/non-member split, within a week. Find out more about community event metrics.

Make the most of your event’s intellectual property:

  • Ask for feedback. If you’ve used Plus! for Events, you can send a direct request via the online portal, otherwise, you can email your attendees for their thoughts.
  • Write a post-event review on your community page.
  • Share and comment on event footage and invite your community members to contribute their experiences.