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CPD Requirements

When looking at my own professional development this event taught me a lot of things which I would not have learnt otherwise. This event taught me the importance of structure. Without a good structure it is easy to forget aspects of the event which you planned to do, for example we ended up doing the raffle right at the end of the event because Julia had not provided us with a good structure.

I also learnt the importance of properly informing your staff and volunteers on what they should be doing throughout the event. If staff/volunteers are informed of their role at the last minute or not at all this can result in chaos and can give the impression that the event has not been well organised.

Marketing correctly is another aspect which is vital. Without effective marketing the amount of attendees is low which results in a low amount of money raised.

Had all these aspects been done correctly in the first place the event would have been a lot more successful but I also would not have learnt these important lessons.

Potential for Improvement

As this event was held in September in Manchester the odds of the weather being good was very low. Unfortunately we ended up with really bad weather which caused some difficulty as the event was being held outside. As you can see from the table below rainfall for the Manchester area starts to increase from August onwards. This would suggest that the likelihood of rain is increased. Therefore, planning ahead and finding a suitable indoor venue would be recommended from August onwards in the Manchester area.

weather.jpg

 

(Met Office, 2010)

When I volunteered at this event I found that the set up and structure of the event was not as co-ordinated as it could have been. All of the raffle prizes and the items which were for sale were all on one table with caused a lot of confusion amongst the attendees. It would have been much easier if the RSPCA has two gazebos set up with the raffle prizes in one and the items for sale in another rather than putting them both in the same gazebo. It was evident that not a lot of thought had been put into the event. Even though a fair amount of people turned up and we had enough volunteers the person running the event only stayed for half of the event leaving myself and the rest of the volunteers to run it without them. This meant that when it came to the competitions and the judging it did not run as smoothly as it should have done. As the event planner had to leave they asked me to help judge the competitions but did not offer any guidance. If more time and effort had been put into the structure of the event and properly preparing the volunteers for their roles then the event could have been very enjoyable. Instead it was disjointed and left the volunteers feeling unsure of what they were meant to be doing.

The third area for improvement would be the marketing of the event. I felt that the event could have had a higher attendance if the event had been promoted more effectively. This means that if the RSPCA had applied some theories to their marketing process then they might have had more of their target market attend. Mountinho discusses the four different types of marketing; undifferentiated, concentrated, differentiated and customised. The type of marketing I would suggest the RSPCA use for this particular event is concentrated marketing. “Concentrated marketing is when a marketer selects one segment, develops an appropriate marketing mix, and directs its marketing efforts and resources toward that market segment exclusively.” (Mountinho, 2000). This means that the RSPCA would need to choose one segment and focus all of their marketing methods on them. I would recommend that the RSPCA target dog owners for this particular event. Each event can have a different target audience, the reason why I think dog owners would be best for this event is that we needed them to take part in the competitions.

Another segment the RSPCA could look into is socialgraphics. “Socialgraphics capture the attitudes, characteristics, behavior, and, most important, motivations of customers online. Understanding an audience’s socialgraphics allows marketers to design internet marketing strategies that attract and retain customers in different online venues.” (Crepeau, 2016). As social media has such a big influence on people nowadays it could be an effective way of promoting events if used correctly. Currently the local RSPCA page for my area does not promote their events on social media. If they took the time to understand the “followers” they have on their pages then they might find that promoting through social media has a range of benefits, it is quick, free and it can target a large group of people at once.

Social and Economic Impact

Impacts are one of the main purposes of events. Oxford dictionary defines impact as “Have a strong effect on someone or something.” (Oxford Dictionaries, 2017). There are many different types of impacts, especially when it comes to events. “Planned events always have a purpose and goals. This means that certain ‘outcomes’ are both desired and predicted, but it is also possible that unanticipated and negative outcomes are also generated.” (Getz and Page, 2016). Thankfully this particular event did not result in any negative outcomes but it did have some positive impacts.

The main social impact this event aims for is to raise awareness of what the RSPCA does and how the money they raise from these events help them to continue doing the work they do. Every time someone attends a RSPCA event they are becoming more aware of the charity and the positive impact they have on animals lives.

Economic impacts

  • The venue was free to use.
  • The gazebo was not a new purchase and can be seen as a long term investment as it is used at many of the RSPCA events.
  • The volunteers work for free.
  • A book of raffle tickets can be bought for £1.
  • Most of items on sale and in raffle were donated to the cause so are free to the RSPCA.

Overall this event was low cost to run. This meant that the £205 raised from this event is all beneficial and none of it necessarily has to go back into the event department. This result can be seen as the best economic outcome.

A bonus aspect is the fact that will not be proven until much later is the attendees telling their friends about the event, this can lead to an increased economic impact at the next event.

Delivery

The dog show was held at Jacks Boathouse, this is located at Sale Waterpark which is a popular place for people to walk their dogs. This was a good choice of location as it attracts passers-by who were not previously aware of the event.

As Jacks Boathouse is a pub they were able to provide the event with food and drink. My main job was to judge the competitions, I also sold raffle tickets and merchandise.

The Six Segment Model (Eason-Bassett, C. 2016).

  1. Strategy – The main aim of the event is to raise money. However, the secondary aim is to raise awareness of what the RSPCA does.
  2. Content – The structure of the event was as follows:
  • Allow people to enrol in the different classes whilst selling raffle tickets and other items to raise money.
  • 12pm first set of classes
  • Break for food and drink
  • 2pm second set of classes
  • Raffle draw
  1. People – In this theory people relates to all of the stakeholders. For this particular event that would include the volunteers, staff, attendees and the suppliers.
  2. Marketing – For this event the RSPCA used posters, emails and volunteers to promote the dog show event.
  3. Operations – Before the event took place the RSPCA would have had to do a risk assessment, organised any contracts necessary, worked out the format of the event and organised any equipment needed.
  4. Finance – Before the event the RSPCA would have a set amount to spend on the event. This particular event used equipment the RSPCA already had which included a gazebo and fencing to outline the section for the classes, this helped to keep the costs down. Jacks Boathouse offered their venue for free and the advertising was at a low cost. Overall the total expenditure was extremely low so any money raised could be seen as a success.

Unfortunately the overall delivery of the event was unorganised. It was lacking in structure and knowledge. This was mainly due to the fact that Julia who had organised the event was not in attendance and had not given suitable instructions to the right people. If sufficient information had been communicated to the right volunteers then the event may have run more smoothly. However, I felt that even without directions I was able to execute my role and help others with their own roles.

Week 8

In week 8 we learnt that there are 3 key phases to the evaluation process:

  1. Formative – This is undertaken before the event has happened.
  2. Process – This is undertaken throughout the project which allows you to improve during the planning and execution of the event.
  3. Outcome – This is undertaken after the event, it gives you an insight into what happened, why it happened and how to improve for future events.

There are a number of evaluation methods:

  • Questionnaires/surveys
  • Structured, semi structured or unstructured interviews
  • Focus groups

There are many other methods. The chosen method will depend on the event and the attendees/people they are asking. There are many strengths and weaknesses to the evaluation process, they are as follows:

Strengths

  • Questionnaires – can require short or long answers from the participants. They can be used for both qualitative and quantitative evaluation.
  • Questionnaires – can be done at the leisure of the attendee.
  • Interviews – can provide in depth thoughts of the attendees and allow the interviewer to ask spur of the moment questions to further analyse the attendee’s thoughts.
  • Focus groups – gets the thoughts of a select group of attendees at one time.

Weaknesses

  • Interviews – they require face to face participation which some attendees might not want to do.
  • Focus groups – they also require face to face participation.
  • Focus groups – require a certain number of participants which you are not guaranteed to have.

If the RSPCA had used one of the three key phases to evaluate the event then they would have discovered ways they could have improves throughout the event or post event.

Target Audience

Overall the RSPCAs target audience is the general public. However, for this particular event the target audience can be narrowed down to dog owners. This is because we need the owners and their dogs to participate in the dog show. However, the target audience should not be limited to members of the public who have dogs and the RSPCA should acknowledge that they should target the families and friends of these members to gain maximum donations.

There are a number of ways of marketing. For this particular event the RSPCA used the following:

  • Posters are a good form of marketing due to the visibility and if placed in the right locations can encourage people to attend and spread the word about the event. Below is the poster designed for the dog show. We were encouraged by Julia who was organising the event to distribute the posters in our local neighbourhood to increase attendees.
  • Email lists are an effective way of contacting regular supporters and making them aware of the upcoming events which they may be interested in attending.
  • Word of mouth – although this is not a form of marketing the RSPCA can control, but by doing direct marketing correctly it might influence people to start talking about the event. If someone who is already going to the event mentions it to their colleague it might influence them to attend the event too. Although this form of marketing cannot be relied on it can be seen as a bonus.Dog Show Poster

The Event

The event I have chosen to critique is a Dog Show that was run by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA). The RSPCAs vision is to “live in a world where all animals are respected and treated with compassion” (RSPCA, 2017). The charity has been around since 1824. One of the main reasons why they have been able to stay successful and continuously improve the lives of animals is that they have been able to move with the times. “The greatest shift across the times has been in attitude… When we were founded it was a challenge to get the British public to recognise animals as sentient beings – and not just commodities for food, transport or sport.” (RSPCA, 2017).

Like most charities the RSPCA relies on the support of the local community through donations and volunteering. The RSPCA hosts many events every year to raise money so they can help animals. These events include; auctions, cake sales, fun fairs, charity games, quiz nights and dog shows. The event I have chosen to analyse is the dog show I volunteered at. Members of the public could sign their dogs up to partake in different competitions such as agility, best party trick, best in show and many other categories. As well as the competitions we also had a raffle and other items for sale.

Charity events have become very popular recently and are a common way of raising money. “Since 2007, the number of fundraising events has increased by 700% and participant numbers have doubled.” (Booker, B. 2017). This suggests that the general public find events interesting and are possibly more likely to give money to the charity when they get to participate in an event. According to Cardwell the top 10 charity fundraising events in the UK for 2014 were as follows:

  1. “Race For Life (£51,521,000)…
  2. World’s Biggest Coffee Morning (£25,102,796)…
  3. Movember (£11,000,000)…
  4. Moonwalk (£8,168,992)…
  5. No Makeup Selfie (£8,000,000)…
  6. Ice Bucket Challenge (£6,800,000)…
  7. Dryathlon (£5,000,000)…
  8. London to Brighton (£4,308,599)…
  9. Christmas Jumper Day (£4,300,000)…
  10. Go Sober October (£4,300,000)…” (Cardwell, 2015).

All of these events require the general public to donate their time and effort to raising money for different charities. As you can see from the amounts raised that if someone decides to participate in an event then they can raise some significant money for the charity. Therefore, by asking for the public to participate in the dog show the evidence would suggest that the money raised was due to the inclusion of the public.

Week 2

For week two we learnt what creativity is and when we are at our most creative. We are all different and our creativity emerges at different times. I am at my most creative when I am under pressure.  I find that my best work and creativity happens when I am under pressure. Even though I can find this overwhelming it helps me to focus and produce some of my best work. However, I do think that to be continuously successful it would be best to develop my creative practice by drawing on other sources other than pressure. Feeling constantly under pressure is unhealthy and will eventually lead to failures. If I could find another method it would be highly beneficial as leaving things to the last minute in the world of events will not always result in the best outcomes.

Having the ability to work well under pressure and still be able to present creative results will be useful towards the end of the planning process when everything needs bringing together for the big event but only if I am organised enough on the lead up to the day. By finding another way of being creative it should help with the planning process.

During week two we were also introduced to rich pictures. A rich picture is “a cartoon-like representation that identifies all the stakeholders, their concerns, and some of the structure underlying the work context” (Monk and Howard, 1998). We were also introduced to the Five Senses approach. The five senses are sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch. They can be used in a number of ways to effectively plan an event. For example, by making the event visually appealing it will encourage people to attend and stay for the duration of the event. In addition to this most events provide food and drinks, if the food gives a pleasant aroma people will be encouraged to stay and purchase food while they are at the event. Sound is another main one of the five to keep in mind when planning an event. If the event is too loud or guests cannot hear someone giving a speech it can instantly put them off from staying.

Week 1

During the week first week we were asked to write our first reflective blog post. We were asked to consider four different questions:

  • Did you learn anything unexpected?

I did not realise that the weekly information would not be in a presentation format. As I have just done a degree I am use to looking at slides and sitting in lectures, I presumed this online course would just be presentation slides with audio. It was a nice surprise to find out that there were videos and a lot of interaction with lecturers.

I also learnt that there is more than one way to define the term ‘event’ and that not only one definition is correct. It is all about how you perceive it and what you expect out of it. Where Robinson described an event as a ‘Societal disruption’ (Robinson, 2016) I would describe it as a moment or thing which can happen whether it is planned or unplanned. It can be man-made or a natural occurrence, a regular thing or once in a life time.

  • Was anything covered of particular interest or significance to you?

I found it particularly interesting to see how different members of the course perceived the different historical images. By analysing the images it gave me an insight to different types of events, I decided to look into this aspect more. According to Getz and Page “the scope of events spans individual celebrations and community festivals, sports, business meetings and exhibitions; it also includes mega events, which have largely become the realm of professionals, corporations and entrepreneurs.” (Getz, D. and Page, S. 2016).

  • What would you like to know more about?

I would like to know more about the history of events and how event planning became the industry it is today. Currently “The UK events industry is worth £42.3 bn” (Booker, B. 2017). I would like to learn how it became such a big and successful industry would be interesting and useful for the future.

  • Are there any areas you have identified that you might want to focus on in terms of personal development?

In May 2016 I finished my degree in business management. Although I am very proud of this achievement it does mean that I have spent three years analysis facts and figures and not necessarily using my creative side. Throughout this course I hope to become more creative and build on my academic knowledge of events and the industry.