How to run better events

From gaining more members to local press attention, adding a little creativity to your events can work wonders for your club.

Value of Volunteering

On your marks…

Here are four quick and easy event tips you could start doing straightaway:

    1. Set up a club stand
      Why not have a small stand at all of your events, where people can find out more about the sort of extra volunteer roles you’re looking for? Write out a list of all the roles you are looking for, give some information about what it is they’ll be asked to do and how much time you’d like them to give.
    2. Parent potential
      Some parents may already be involved in your club, but many may not, despite having the skills, time and energy that would hugely benefit the club. At your next club night or event why not ask parents to get involved and find out what they’d be good at.
    3. Plus 1 please?
      Encourage club members to bring along a plus 1. This could be anyone they think might be interested in the sport or in getting involved in volunteering. You could double your numbers!
    4. Taster sessions
      Want to kill two birds with one stone? You can recruit more members and volunteers at the same time by hosting a taster session. It’s a great way to attract new people to your club to have a go at the sport or the volunteer role they are interested in.

How to innovate at your events

From gaining more members to local press attention, adding a little creativity to your events can work wonders for your club. But often it’s a little easier said than done. To give you some inspiration, Join In visited Highgate Harriers and their Night of the 10,000m PBs...

 Dawn Bracken
Dawn Bracken
Join In Volunteer Network Manager (and swimming coach at Chelmsford Swimming Club)

Event checklist

Join In Volunteer Network Manager and Games Maker Dawn knows a thing or two about running events – here's her checklist for making sure everything runs smoothly:

BEFORE THE EVENT:

  • Date – try to get this in everyone's diaries as far in advance as you can.
  • Venue – this could be your normal training venue but remember that you may need to accommodate more people, or need somewhere with a different feel for the event. Again, external venues often book up in advance so make this one of the first things you do.
  • Budget – setting a budget for your event is always important. Once you know your budget, this will help inform the rest of your event decisions, for example: venue hire, entry fees, minimum entries for break even, sponsorship, etc.
  • Risk assessment – if you’re using an external venue the owner will already have one in place, but you’ll still need to complete a risk assessment from the perspective of the club and the event attendees. Visit Sport England's Club Matters ↑ to find out more about risk assessments.
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  • First aid – ensure you have a qualified first aider (and first aid kit) or St. John's Ambulance at the event.
  • Insurance – your club will already have an insurance policy to cover your members and their activities. However, you will need to check that it's valid for an event that may be outside of your normal venue – and that may include participants/spectators who are not club members. You may need to get a separate policy.
  • Volunteers – what help will you need to run the event? Ask your existing volunteers well in advance to ensure they are available to help and make sure they confirm. If you do need extra hands, make sure you update your club page on Join In with all the details – and then spread the word on Twitter and Facebook
  • Officials – depending on your event type and sport you might need to find officials to operate your event successfully.
  • Promoting your event – remember to tell people about your event. Update your website, post on social media, put up posters in your area and outside the club, and invite down the local media (see our media tips here).
  • Photography – it's always a good idea to capture the day on camera. Do you have someone at the club who can be responsible for taking photographs and videos on the day? If not, why not update your page on Join In to ask specifically for a volunteer photographer to support your event. Read about Mash, a local photographer who volunteers for Double Jab Boxing Club.
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  • Refreshments – many clubs will provide refreshments at their events. It's a great for raising money and an excellent way to get people involved, who don’t usually volunteer for your club.
  • Awards – if you're planning on awarding trophies or medals, remember that you'll need to buy, engrave and bring these to the venue. And, of course, you'll need to factor them into your budget first.
  • Equipment and paperwork – it's a good idea to have a final meeting in the run-up to the event with your club volunteers to make sure everyone knows what they are doing on the day. Make sure that you've got all the equipment you need, for example: a PA system, whistles, stop watches, clip boards, etc. If you're using a laptop or other electrical equipment, do you have access to a power supply – or will you need an extension cable? Finally, check that you have prepared any paperwork that you'll need on the big day.
  • Health and safety – health and safety is always important when organising events. See Sport England’s Club Matters ↑ for lots of useful information.

AFTER THE EVENT:

Once you've patted yourself on the back and had a cup of tea, here's a quick post-event checklist:
  • Remember to return any equipment
  • Produce a results sheet – and update your website
  • Publish your pictures
  • Send thank you emails or letters
  • Write and send a post-event press release with photos
  • Store your event resources, including photos, for future use