15 Ways to Host an Awesome State of Young Philly Event
We want your State of Young Philly event to be the best it can be. Over the years, we’ve learned what does and doesn’t work for our members and we want to share what we know. Below you’ll find our top ways to make your event both successful and engaging. We hope these insights will get the gears turning and give you a better idea of the ways you can participate in SOYP.
Don’t forget the deadline to submit an event proposal is Thursday, July 31st and this year’s State of Young Philly will be held November 14th through 22nd.
Make sure to hold your event at a venue that fits your goals and size of expected audience. Ideally, the history and purpose of the venue itself ties into the themes of your event. This will also make it easier to partner with venues if missions are aligned. PhillySpaceFinder.com is a great resource for finding some new and unique locations around town.
Ensure that different viewpoints and backgrounds are represented at your event — age, race, gender, geographic, levels of experience, etc. Above is an example from our event on young entrepreneurship held in August 2013. Speaker bios and headshots can easily be compiled as a way to promote your event to your network and theirs.
In our experience, by charging a small fee of $5 or $10 you will ensure a much more solid commitment from attendees upfront and be able to put this revenue into covering costs — by either offering refreshments or something additional at the event that will draw folks in.
That said, free events are still an option — given that it is a good fit. They should be able to naturally draw in a large crowd or be attractive to a specific, niche audience. Above all, put yourself in the attendee’s shoes and think, “what is the real motive to come to this event?” Have questions? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hashtags work very well for YIP events and our members use them to tag photos on Instagram and post updates on Twitter. These photos and comments can become great ways to look back on your event but more importantly serve as an avenue to continue the conversation after the event concludes and connect with the folks you didn’t get a chance to meet in person.
Many YIP members rely exclusively on SEPTA to get around, so take that into consideration when planning your event and make note of transit directions when you are advertising. It’s not a deal breaker, but definitely a major a plus.
By simply elevating your speakers onto platforms like the ones pictured here at the Citizens Planning Institute‘s event, you can immediately quiet the room (often a difficult task) and capture the attention of the attendees. Also, by inviting multiple people to speak and giving them brief amounts of time (5-7 minutes) you can cover more topics in just a few hours.
With a couple stacks of Post-Its and markers, ask one (or a few) questions and have attendees write down and post their answers on the wall. Think: What questions would you want to ask young people in Philadelphia? Gather the feedback, document it, and share it out.
Prepare an experience for attendees with a behind-the-scenes and hands-on look at your work, a local institution, or an overlooked part of Philadelphia. Walking tours can be either indoors or outdoors and are a way to have people experience a place first hand rather than simply talking about it. YIP members prefer to move around and roll up their sleeves over sitting and listening.
You can provide a way for everyone in the room to meet each other with a timed and structured speed networking session. Divide the room into two sections, put the time on the clock, and go. This format could also be used to brainstorm or discuss ideas around a certain issue of topic. It could also be used to introduce communities that may not have formed connections (i.e. generational, industry, neighborhood, transplant vs. locals, etc.)
We suggest adding in a networking and/or workshop component before or after a panel discussion. This photo is from a State of Young Philly 2013 event about the ways to develop your career and find employment in Philadelphia. After the event, attendees were invited to have their resumes reviewed by experts during a workshop.
Utilize an app like Poll Everywhere to pose a question to the audience and gauge live feedback on-site. With a projector you can share the results in real time.
No matter what format your event takes, consider your Twitter strategy. As mentioned above about hashtags, Twitter is an easy and simple way to amplify the message of your event. Post quotes, photos, and the handles of speakers, attendees and organizations so that even those not physically in the room can participate online. If you need something say during a transition point or a question for a speaker, read some interesting comments from Twitter users.
Maybe you don’t even need to have a venue for your event. Or maybe your keynote speaker can’t make it to Philadelphia for the only day that works for you… Think about creating a Google Hangout to host your discussion virtually. Folks can easily drop in and participate from anywhere and it’s cost effective. Bonus: you can easily record video of the Hangout and share it later.
A Twitter Chat is another virtual (and cost effective) option and possibly a way to bring in some national voices to your event. You’ll see the example above has all the trappings of an in-person gathering: a date, time, speakers, and discussion topic… but the venue is the hashtag and Twitter.
Now it’s up to you. Go forth and send us your idea for a State of Young Philly event.