We went to AR 2009. It was my first time and I’m really glad I went. And I’m excited to go to other animal rights conferences in the future.
For details about this event, please take a look at arconference.org.
These are my notes from the presentation titled, “Producing Effective Events“:
Speaker 1 – Debra Erenberg, Rainforest Action Network
- There are lots of different kinds of events with varied purposes but one thing in common, they’re all resource-intensive.
- Rule of halves: half of the people who say they’ll come (to your face) will actually show up
- Planning board: have a committee, make it diverse, helps take care of various issues and helps get the word out far
- Drop dead date = the time when you’re willing to pull plug, reschedule, etc. if not enough people are going to attend
- Be prepared to shrink space, move plants, tables, etc. to make the room feel smaller and thus make your event seem better attended
- Have back-up plan for if too many people attend
- Detailed event plan, timelines, clear expectations, etc are helpful
- Use the buddy system. Everything is more fun when you’re doing together. Make the planning process fun, each task is a mini event.
- If people aren’t as involved in the planning process, ask why.
- Thank people constantly. They appreciate it and come back for more.
- What if the fund raising event doesn’t make any money? Make the best of it, find the positive
- Secure as much funding in advance as you can
- If you’re planning a fund raiser, make sure people understand it’s a fund raiser
- Media events? picture is worth a thousand words, reach out to media personally, be ready for them
- If no media bite? Make your own media – blog, flickr, etc. send out post-event release
Speaker 2 – Amy Baird, Sea Shepherd
- Getting the info out is crucial for an org like Sea Shepherd because if noone hears about it, it’s like it didn’t happen
- Timing is key, people pay more attention when related events coincide. So take advantage of hot topics and news stories that relate to animals
- Advertising can be activism – LUSH campaign example
- Let people know about the event in advance: public needs time to plan (announce the even 1 week in advance MIN), media forgets (announce event 3 days in advance MAX)
- Designate one person as the official media spokesperson. (My thoughts: I remember attending a pro-choice demonstration once with only two other people. But the news crews were there and they outnumbered the demonstrators. So all of a sudden, I had to speak. I wasn’t prepared because I hadn’t been designated as “the official spokesperson.” Lesson learned: prepare a soundbite and tell ALL your people.)
- Follow up after the event so media and supporters know what happened.
Speaker 3 – Alex Hershaft, FARM
- He offered some examples of past events in order to stimulate our creativity:
- Street theater “die in” = all dress in black, all lie down at same time, sign-holders explain the demonstration
- Slaughterhouse assembly line = blow-up dolls, calf doll, cable line, fake blood… you get the idea
- Vigils at slaughterhouses, public picnic feed-ins…
Because these posts are simply published notes, they are not official transcripts or exact quotes.