Publications & Products
In The Unlikely Event

By rethinking the approach to how you advertise, plan and run events on campus, you can garner more interest, attendees and success. 

In a recent Currents article, writer James Paterson provides advice on how to bring some (often) much-needed life to events—at low costs and with high potential ROI:

  • Crowdsource Visuals. Consider engaging attendees from the outset, such as with an eye-catching save-the-date email. For its $77 million "Blueprint for the Future" campaign, the Pingry School in New Jersey asked its save-the-date recipients to Instagram or upload casual photos of themselves. The resulting images became part of the design used in online and print promotions and were displayed during the event's introduction.
  • Engage the Masses. Generate excitement for an event by staging a unique or exclusive kickoff for major prospects. To launch a $95 million campaign in 2010, Binghamton University in New York not only held an exclusive celebration in New York City, but invited an additional 1,000 participants to follow along online. Virtual participants could watch a live feed of the main event, chat with faculty, watch additional videos and participate in contests and trivia games. The campaign successfully engaged more than 1,200 people and exceeded fundraising goals by $6 million.    
  • Change Perspectives. Take advantage of the fact that a physical event requires a location. Defy event preconceptions simply by having attendees enter an event space in an unexpected way, such as through the back door of a theater or through an alternative exit. During Harvard Law School's 2003 campaign launch gala, attendees were ushered into the law library through emergency stairs and dimly lit hallways before entering the dramatically lit stacks filled with potted boxwoods containing hundreds of white lights. Presenting the library in a new way was an attempt to capture the awe of a first-time law student, according to event coordinator Kile Ozier.

    "Alumni loved it," Ozier says. "High spirits, laughter and anticipation. They're thinking, 'What else is going to happen tonight?'"

Read more about how organizations and institutions are finding new ways to freshen up staple events in "The Return on Revelry" in the May/June issues of Currents. Download the Currents app on iTunes or Google Play to access to the digital edition.

This article is from the May 2017 BriefCASE issue of BriefCASE.