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Thinking of running an event for EMCAM?  Here are some useful tips for putting on successful events

 

Event ideas

There are many different types of events you can run to raise awareness of cancer. Below are a few ideas to get you started:

Information/education event
Getting information about cancer out to people is one of the best ways to raise awareness of cancer. An information based event is a very effective and simple way to do this. If you want to run an information or education event you will need to think about what information you want to get across to people and if relevant arrange for some speakers to talk in more detail about the risk of cancer. You can also set up a stand with information about the signs and symptoms of cancer and national screening programmes.

Screening event
Currently the UK runs screening programmes for breast, cervical and bowel cancer. Screening detects the early signs of cancer, and for cervical cancer can prevent cancer. You may be able to arrange for a mobile screening unit to attend your event, some national charities and local PCT’s have mobile screening units. Or you could contact your local screening unit and arrange an open evening to show local people round the unit. For more information about screening look at: www.cancerscreening.nhs.uk/

Entertainment/fun event
You can combine the cancer awareness message with a more light-hearted event. An entertainment or fun event may appeal to more people and give you a wider audience for your message. You could run a quiz or a coffee morning, or if you are feeling ambitious you could organise a family fun day.

Piggy-back an existing event
If you don’t think you will have time to organise an event consider piggy-backing on a pre-existing local event.

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How to run a successful event

Organising your event will require some planning but it doesn’t have to be daunting. There are a few things to consider such as where to hold your event, what to do and who to invite. Here are a few helpful tips to make your event a success.

1. Decide on a day and date
Think about your target audience. If they are likely to be working then weekends or evenings are usually best. However if they are retired or are likely to be at home with children then it may be difficult for them to attend in the evening but events during the day will probably work well. You don’t have to run your event during Ethnic Minority Cancer Awareness Week but we would appreciate it if you could try to.

2. Find a venue
Consider the likely size of your event and the target audience when choosing a venue. Make sure it is local to the people you want to attend and ideally it should be easy to get to on public transport and has some parking available. Consider venues that are familiar to and popular with your target audience, such as common space attached to religious buildings, community centres and sports centres. You will need to contact the owners of these venues and get their permission. Make sure you plan your event well in advance as some venues book up quickly.

3. Plan in advance
Make a list of everything you need to do in advance and plan when you need to do everything by. This will help make sure you get everything done in time and will make it easier to organise the event. Don’t be afraid to delegate some jobs to other people, as many hands make light work!

4. Create a team
Organising an event on your own may be a lot of work. If you get other people to help you not only does it become easier but it is also a lot more fun. Find out what skills your team have and try to give them some tasks they will enjoy, for example if one of your team is creative you could ask them to design posters.

5. Advertise
You need to make sure as many people as possible know about your event. Word of mouth is one of the most successful forms of advertising so tell as many people in your target audience as possible. If you are working with a specific community find out who is influential and get them to help you spread the word. Make and put up posters around the local area; in shops and community spaces. You can also contact the local media to try and promote both your event and the wider issues (see our sheet on how to contact the media).

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Contacting the media

Contacting your local newspaper and radio station is an excellent way to get publicity for your event because they are always looking for local news. Don’t worry, it’s not as daunting as it sounds!

How do I start?
Make a list of all local papers that cover your area including the free press, the local radio stations and any free magazines that people get delivered to their homes. Also, if you are targeting a specific section of the community see if there are any papers, magazines or radio stations in your area specifically aimed at that community.
If you want a piece in the press before the event to help advertise it think about contacting the media about 2-3 weeks before the event. If you are trying to get local reporters and photographers to attend your event you should also work 2-3 weeks in advance. If you want to get a write up of your event afterwards you may be able to work a little closer to the event date, however you will still need to talk to them in advance.

Who do I contact?
Contact the news desk or editorial team by phone, letter or email to tell them about your event. It’s probably a good idea to phone them in the first instance. If it is a daily paper, do not call before 11am or after 3.30pm, or if it is a weekly paper which is published on, for example, a Thursday, do not call on a Wednesday as these are their busiest times.

Most journalists will be pleased to hear from you and will take down your details. If they are not it is usually because they are under pressure on a deadline for another story and do not have time to talk to you at the moment – please do not take it personally!

What do I say?
Make sure you have all the information you may need at your fingertips. You will want to have information about your group, information about your event and information about why the issue is important. You may want to have statistics about cancer rates or cancer incidence in ethnic minorities, anything that suggests people are less aware, or participate in screening less. (Cancer Research UK provide a range of statistics about cancer http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/cancerstats/keyfacts/?a=5441)
If you are unsure about the facts we can provide you with the information you require.

Do I send a press release?
Once you have spoken to the reporter/journalist it is always helpful to follow up the call with something in writing which gives the details of your event and your contact details. The easiest way to do this is with a press release.
Again, this is not a daunting document just a simple, straightforward description of your event that answers the key questions a journalist/news reporter needs to know.
The main things a journalist needs to know are:

  • Who you are – your name, age and where you live
  • What you are doing and why you are supporting EMCAM
  • When you are doing it
  • Any interesting or quirky facts about you and your event, i.e. if an MP or local celebrity is attending
  • Key facts and figures about EMCAM and about cancer in ethnic minorities
  • Whether you are happy to have your picture taken
  • When you are available to talk to newspaper journalists or on the radio and what are your daytime contact details.
  • What do I do then?

Wait for a few days and then ring your contact to find out if the press release has arrived and whether they need any more information. Quite often they will ask you to send it again which is frustrating but worth it if it means the paper/radio station is going to feature your group and your event.

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Invite a local celebrity

Having a local celebrity at your event raises the profile of the event in the local community and can help raise media interest. Possible local celebrities you could contact include

  • The Mayor – most local council websites provide you with details on how to contact the local Mayor
  • Local MPs – see our sheet on contacting your MP
  • Local Councillors – most local council websites have a way for you to find out who your councillors are and how to contact them. Alternatively www.writetothem.com has details of councillors and you can email them directly through the website.
  • TV and Radio celebrities – local radio DJs, local TV newsreaders and weather people are often willing to come to local community events. Contact details for these people can sometimes be harder to track down but a good starting point is the radio of TV station’s website. Also, specific shows sometimes have websites, and some local celebrities will have their own website.
  • Sportsmen/women – think about what high profile sports teams are in your area. This could be your local football club or any well known national sportsmen/women who are from your area. It is likely that they will have their own website that you can get contact details from.

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Contacting your local MP

Why invite my local MP?
Inviting your local MP is a great way to raise the profile of your event. If your MP is attending you will increase media interest in your event and will also make it more appealing to the local community. It will also raise the profile of your group and the work you do generally.
EMCAW Launch

Who is my local MP?
There are a number of ways to find out who your local MP is. If you have access to the internet have a look at the following websites: www.theyworkforyou.com provides you with details of your local MP, including their interests and how they have voted in the past.

Directgov also has a function to enable you to find you local MP: http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Diol1/DoItOnline/DG_4018047

Parliament has a full directory of all MPs: http://www.parliament.uk/directories/hciolists/alms.cfm

Alternatively you can phone the House of Commons Information Office on 020 7219 4272 and they will be able to tell you who your MP is.

How do I contact my local MP?

Letter:
All MP’s can be contacted at the House of Commons; all you need to do is to address your letter to your MP at House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA. Alternatively you can write to their local constituency office, the address will be listed in your local library and town hall, or will be available on the MP’s personal website or through the House of Commons Information Office.

Email:
The majority of MPs now have email addresses that you can write to. The directory of MP’s listed above includes each MP’s email address. Alternatively you can send an email via the website www.writetothem.com. This website also enables you email your local councillors.

Telephone:
Calling with a simple question might get a faster response than writing. You will talk to a relevant office or have to leave a message. Phone the House of Commons switchboard on 020 7219 3000 and ask for your MP by name. You may also contact your MP through their local constituency office. Addresses and contact numbers will be listed in local libraries, town halls, an MP’s personal website or through the House of Commons Information Office.

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