Putting an event together can be daunting or confusing if you have never organised one before. Here are a few things to consider or do to help you get started. Message us on Facebook if you have any questions!
- What ‘features’ do you want your event to have? Some options might be a speaker, market stalls, a walk or showcasing greyhounds available for adoption.
- If you want to have speeches, you will need to think about renting audio equipment and possibly a stage. We have found that megaphones are usually not loud enough for outdoor events.
- If you want to have market stalls, you may require a permit from the local council – please contact them to find out.
- Does your event have a theme? Give your attendees advance notice if you would like them to bring themed signs or wear a particular colour theme. For example, the March for the Murdered Million is funeral-themed and we would appreciate it if attendees wore black clothing.
- Set some event rules early on to avoid confusion:
- Would you like people to wear anti-racing or greyhound rescue shirts?
- Are dogs welcome? Do you want greyhounds only or may non-greyhounds come as well?
- Remind participants about muzzling regulations, bringing poo bags, keeping all dogs on lead, etc.
- It is a good idea to make people aware that the event will be crowded and noisy, and that some members of the public may want to interact with and touch their dogs. If they have a dog who is nervous, anxious or fearful of unfamiliar people, dogs or surroundings, it may be kinder to leave him or her at home.
- Choose a venue, date and time that will not clash with other events or major public holidays to increase attendance. We suggest a late morning time to give attendees some time to travel without waking up unreasonably early and so that journalists have time to write up their stories in time for the evening news or tomorrow’s paper.
Venue and Risk Assessment:
- Check your proposed venue, walk the walk route (if applicable), and consider the following:
- Do you require permission to have an event/rally in that location? Is a good idea to contact the council or venue manager to ensure there are no competing events using the same space.
- Is there enough parking within walking distance of the start and end points?
- Are there toilet facilities?
- Are there dog-friendly facilities, e.g. water fountains with drinking bowls, poo bag dispensers.
- Is there adequate space for people to gather safely and without obstructing traffic or pedestrians?
- Is the walk too long for people with older dogs? You may want to include a ‘short walk‘ option for people who cannot do the full walk.
- Is it easy for journalists to get to this venue, if you are expecting some media representatives?
- If you expect over 20 dogs, it is best to notify a relevant ‘someone’ of your event details. It is always a good idea to contact the police in the area and ask if you need a police permit.
- Doing a risk assessment is always a good idea where dogs, their owners, and members of the public are mixing.
- Do you have insurance for the event?
- Do you have a wet weather contingency plan?
Promoting Your Event:
- We advise event organisers to set up a Facebook event as this allows people to register their attendance or express their interest in the event – this will help give you an idea of how many people to expect, makes it easier for us to help promote your event and helps you communicate with registered attendees more easily, as they will receive a Facebook notification when you post on the event page.
- Provide the contact details of the person who can be contacted to answer queries (phone number and/or email address).
- Provide clear details of the location of the rally. It is a good idea to post a map of the venue showing the meeting point, the end point, the path you will be walking on and parking or public transport facilities.
- Provide an event meeting time and a start time that are 15 minutes apart. This is to allow for people who are running late, lost or having trouble finding a parking spot.
- Provide a summary of your event rules on the event page description, e.g. dogs or no dogs.
- Ask people to share the event on Facebook so your event gets as much publicity as possible. If you have printed flyers available, ask people if they can distribute these to their neighbours or at their local dog parks, vet clinics, pet shops or community noticeboards.
Media and Publicity:
- Your goal for your event will probably be to raise awareness of the greyhound plight or to promote them as pets to help with adoption rates. And while social media is great for getting the word out, traditional media like TV, newspapers and radio are still good at getting your story out to a wider audience.
- About 2 weeks before the event, encourage the greyhound lovers who plan to attend your event to contact their local paper and ask them to run a story about why they are attending this rally with photos of their greyhound.
- Be sure to add in your post or email that anyone who is happy to do this can contact you if they need any help. Some people may want to help but not know what to do.
- Most local papers need time to factor any new articles in, usually 2 – 3 days. We advise you to put the call out 2 weeks before the event because most people won’t be able to drop everything they are doing there and then to call their local paper. This allows a bit of extra time for people to factor it into their schedules.
- Issue a reminder of this request 1 week before the event in case people have forgotten.
- About 1 week before the event, create a media release of your own as the event organiser for both local and state media. This is best sent out with the letterhead of your organisation, rather than yourself individually.
- If you are not experienced at writing media releases, put a call out to friends and family asking for any public relations, communications or marketing professionals to help you. If you can’t find anyone, feel free to get in touch with us for assistance via Facebook.
- If your event is part of a national event organised by the Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds, we will issue a media release and help you customise it for your location. Adding a local element to a generic national media release is essential to catch a local journalist’s attention. Please contact us on Facebook for more information.
- Send your media release via email or website form to TV stations, newspapers (local and state) and radio channels 1 – 2 days before the event. If you are sending via email, be sure to ‘pitch’ your story in your email itself to get them interested enough to read the attached media release – don’t just say “Hi, please see attached” as your hard work may never be read! Make it clear in your email that you are also inviting journalists to attend the event too.
- Print out a few copies of your media release and bring them with you to the event in case any journalists turn up and ask you for a copy.
- The day after the event, send out another ‘post-event wrap up’ media release with two or three high quality photos from the day to any print media outlets that could not attend on the day. Be sure to highlight the number of attendees and any other interesting details such as powerful quotes from your speakers.
Be Organised On the Day:
- Make yourself and any other organisers visible so people know who’s in charge and who to come to if they need help or have questions (hi-viz coats work well).
- Hold a briefing for your event volunteers half an hour or an hour before your event’s meeting time – this will give you time to tell the volunteers what they need to do and answer any questions they may have, plus give them time to walk to their stations if necessary.
- Ask your event volunteers if they can bring and carry some spare poo bags, a doggy drink container, sunscreen, etc. in case any attendees forget to bring their own.
- If you are having your event at a venue with multiple entry points (e.g. a park), station some volunteers at each entry point so they can help direct people to the starting point. (If your volunteers are not familiar with the venue, print out a few copies of the venue map and mark up the place you want them to be.)
- Station some volunteers at the event meeting point with pens and copies of a relevant greyhound petition so they can gather signatures while attendees are waiting for the event to start.
- Ask a volunteer to stay active on your Facebook event page in case people cannot find their way to the starting point and are posting on Facebook asking for help.
- If you have a volunteer who is your event’s photographer or videographer, it is a good idea to give them a list of shots or footage that you would like taken along with good locations at the venue for photo opportunities before the event starts.
- Journalists may be in attendance at your event. They may want to speak with you as the event organiser or to another person of interest, such as a rehoming charity director, an activist group leader, an experienced greyhound foster carer or an average greyhound adopter. It is a good idea to contact one or two people in these categories, obtain their mobile phone numbers and ask them to be on standby in case a journalist asks you to point out someone they can interview.
- Bring any extra signs or banners that you can distribute to attendees to carry during your walk, as not everyone will be able to bring their own.
- Give an introduction talk once people have arrived, so they know:
- The rules
- Why they’re there
- A running order for the event, and what else you might have planned (speeches etc.)
- Estimate the number of attendees and ping us after the event so we can post about what a success your event was.
Thank you for holding a greyhound event and speaking up for the greyhounds!