4 Ways to increase the social impact of your event

You must have heard that events are important because they have social impact. But what does it really mean when we talk about the social impact of events?

In 2009, a research group on events was formed by the universities of Tilburg, Wageningen and Breda in the Netherlands. It was the first formal attempt by multiple educational institutes in Europe to study events and their impact. A basic questionnaire was created to evaluate and monitor events.

Researcher Linda Wilkes suggested that to consider the social impact of an event, one needs to look at the whole life cycle of the event and the context it was happening in. Looking at only the ‘end result’ of an event was not enough to accurately reflect its social impact. So, what could that mean for our present day events?

4 ways to increase the social impact of your event

  • A direct link to a giving or kind act can be established at the event. Let me explain. A few days back, fellow emcee Jeff Civillico shared an adorable snippet from a Xylem Inc event he was hosting. There were puppies at the event! Not only could event attendees pet or play with the puppies but if they wished, they could also take one home since the puppies were up for adoption. Perhaps this can be a seed of inspiration for other events? Providing attendees the opportunity to adopt an animal in need.
  • Include an opportunity for those who are interested to get their hands dirty… for a good cause. A good way to introduce freshness to an event is to incorporate outdoor activities with indoor ones. Many events happen in the same space for a long duration, sometimes over a couple of days. Why not break that pattern by giving the option to your attendees to step outside for a mini tree planting event? This can be an especially great consideration for events that are focusing on sustainability.
  • Food is often wasted at in-person events. So why not consider a fun way to reduce waste? You could send all attendees who sign up for an event a pre-order menu and a timeline to respond to the menu by. Alternatively, you could partner up with food donation programs to redirect the food that might otherwise be wasted. To learn more about possible food donation programs, you can see here, here and here. To go a bit more in depth, here’s a report from the Rockefeller Foundation on how to reduce food waste at events.
  • Establishing a social impact mindset. Simply put, it means to remember it yourself but also remind all stakeholders of the event that an event is capable of great social impact. Be it for the most direct aspects like knowledge sharing or community building or for less obvious ones like nudging people to consider new thoughts or ways of doing things.

Given that the event industry is thriving and in-person events are back in full swing, now is the time to be mindful of the ways we can contribute to a better world with events. The event industry can change the world for the better by creating events that remember the continued urgency of fighting climate action and being allies in social justice movements.

Kautz

Now I will write something about myself. I like to be with people – but I don’t like it when the atmosphere is tense. That’s why I’ve learned to shorten the distance and make it bearable. Sometimes it’s even friendly. So much so that I host the largest conferences and panel discussions in Poland, and increasingly abroad.

My specialities are technology, environment and business. I am also a legal advisor (but that’s a longer story for another time). I have created dozens of radio and TV programmes, including a talk-show in English. I studied at Appalachian State University in North Carolina. And I love the United States. 

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