Whether you’re looking to get your message across to a wider audience, encourage support for your own project or simply want to promote better energy awareness in general, running an energy fair has a lot to offer. Although it might seem a daunting prospect at first, with a little thought, it certainly needn’t be too difficult to organise one of these events for yourself.
Find A Venue
The first thing to do is to find a place to hold your fair. It’s important to think about this at the outset, not least because it may take a while to get all the necessary permissions from the owners and check out the legal situation with regard to insurance, health and safety and so on. Your local authority should be able to give you some useful advice on this score – particularly if the venue you are hoping to use happens to belong to them. It’s important not to underestimate the amount of time securing a venue can take – so start as soon as you can. Most local and parish councils are only too pleased to help, but it’s essential to remember that these things take time to arrange.
Target Your Audience
For a successful event, you’ll need to decide fairly early on who your target audience is, and what are they key messages that you want to get across. Knowing who you are aiming your energy event at is a key part of the planning – particularly if you are hoping to raise awareness – and allows you to make sure that you “pitch” everything at the right level.
Once you’ve decided who you’re hoping to get to come, the next step is to settle on what you want to achieve. What are the main messages to get across? Whether it’s to inform the world about a successful project, help the community save energy, or a way to gauge local energy awareness, you’ll need to settle on a few central points. If you don’t have one or two clear messages, you may find thing becomes diluted and people go away having had a good time, but not necessarily having picked up on what you saw as the important aspects of the day.
It’s essential to think very carefully about how you’re going to “sell” the benefits of energy efficiency, renewable technologies or general measures to save energy – but having identified your audience first should help you focus on what aspects are likely to be important to them. This may include environmental, economic or social benefits – but whatever you choose, it’s obviously important to make them as relevant as you can.
Before you even begin to think about who you’re going to ask to come along to the event, it’s vital to have thought about who is going to be helping out. If the fair is part of a community energy project, then some of the people on hand are obvious, but it can often be worth casting the net a little wider, especially if you want the event to have a bit of an educational function too.
Fortunately, there’s seldom much of a shortage of people who are willing to help – the trick is to speak to the right sorts of companies. Renewable energy installers, local electrical retailers, green energy companies and the like all have a vested interest in finding new customers – and if you approach them in the right way, you should find they’ll be more than ready to come along. Since most of them – and the bigger ones especially – tend to have healthy advertising budgets, they can often be relied upon to bring along a good supply of “freebies” which are bound to please your visitors.
Don’t Forget The Publicity
If you’ve gone to the trouble of setting up an energy fair, don’t forget to make the most of it. Posters, notices and leaflets will attract a local audience and a web page can be helpful too, but don’t be afraid to let the local press, radio stations and perhaps even TV know what you’re doing to spread the word further afield. It’s also worth thinking about inviting local – or even national – figures to come along and join in. They may not take you up on your invitation, but if they do, it can certainly add an extra boost to proceedings.
Organising any event inevitably takes time and effort, but with a bit of careful planning, holding a successful community energy fair can bring more than enough benefits to make all that hard work seem very worthwhile.