Make your own Big Bi Fun Day

An event like Leicester’s Big Bi Fun Day doesn’t take special skills – mostly it’s about planning and the will to make it happen.  Find out how…

 

How to run an event like Big Bi Fun Day (BBFD) in 10 easy steps

1.  Why – decide why you want to run the event.
Is it to fill a gap in the bi community that exists?  Is it a glorified party of your friends? Is it an outreach event to a specific part of a community?  Is it a regional, national or international event?
BBFD’s aim was to provide a child and family friendly social space for people already in the bi community and for it to be run by the bi community.

2.  You – be realistic about how much time and energy you can devote to it.
Do you want be chasing venues and getting legal agreements sorted?  Do you want to be preparing lots of workshops, handouts and guest speakers?  Do you have the energy to run a complex or a simple event.
BBFD was intended to be run by one person and to be as simple as possible whilst still fulfilling its aim.

3.  Where – decide where you want to have it.
Whereabouts in the country will it be?  What sort of venue do you need?  Is the venue reliant on there being good weather on the day?
BBFD was intended to be for people from across the UK so needed to be central.  It needed a venue suitable for children.  It needed to be accessible by parents with prams and without their own transport.  So it had to be within a reasonable distance of a train or bus station.  Given weather is something we can’t control, it needed to be able to cope with rain.  It was also to be an alcohol free, non-sexualised space which wouldn’t have been possible at pubs and some LGBT centres.

4.  When – decide when you want to have it.
Do you want it on a bank holiday weekend?  Do you want it mid-summer or mid-winter?  On a weekend or an evening?  Will it last a whole weekend or day?
BBFD needed to be on a weekend day when public transport would be running.  A Saturday fit this purpose.  Given people would be travelling with children; it couldn’t start too early or finish too late.

5.  How much – decide how much money it will cost to run.
Do you have funding to run the event?  Will you be paying out initially for the event and recovering it later?  Will you be getting money from the event and then paying out costs later from it? Will you be able to recoup the money from attendees?
BBFD was intended to be an inexpensive to run as possible.  Firstly because I was providing the initial funding for insurance, venue and drinks myself.  Secondly because it was intended to attract a range of families who might or might not have huge incomes.

6.  Money – decide on what you will do with it.
How much will you charge attendees (if anything)? How will you store the money?  How will you keep track of the money?  What will you do if you get too little or too much money from the event?
BBFD intended to cover costs.  Any surplus was originally going to be donated to the venue as I wasn’t sure if I would run it again.  However, it was successful enough that I wanted to run it again.  Surplus was therefore used towards running it again.  Given it was a community event, it was important to be clear to attendees what their money would be used for.

7.  Legal – get the paperwork and legalities in place.
Do you need insurance? Do you need to be CRB checked? Do you need to sign a contract with the venue?  Do you need to fill out reports for any funding you have received?
BBFD’s paperwork was: a contract with the venue and an insurance document for public liability.  Also an informal, simple record of income and expenditure.

– Event insurance – £56+ Venue hire – £63 + Drinks – £12.70+ Materials – £5.00= total of £136.70 Surplus from 2010 = £40
Therefore, we needed £96.70 this year to cover costs.At the end of the event, there was £154.20 in the donations tin. This meant that after paying for costs, £57.50 will be able to go towards running Big Bi Fun Day in 2012.

 8.  Marketing – decide how you are going to let people know about the event.
Will you create leaflets?  Will you do it all online?  Will it be word of mouth?  Will you put an advert in a magazine?
BBFD’s purpose was to be a community event, so I took the risk of letting the community advertise it.  I put posts on Livejournal, Facebook and created a wiki page.  I had help from others with some of these and just asked people to spread the word with reminders about the event every now and then.  People spread the word.

9.  Materials – decide what else you might need to run the event.
Do you need flipcharts?  Do you need food and drink?  Do you need craft materials?
BBFD was a community event where I provided the space.  It was therefore up to the attendees to bring things to enjoy – such as games, some crafts, things to swap.  If someone wanted to bring a specific item, it was up to them to bring it.  However, bearing mind people would be travelling and things were already in existence in the community from other events, we provided basic drinks and borrowed the craft kit from Birmingham BiFest.

10.  Afterwards – what happens next.
Are you going to run the event again?  Are you going to let people know what happened at the event?  Do you need to re-book the venue?  Do you need to follow up with anyone – venue, attendees, the wider community?  Does anything need to change for next time?  Was anything different from last time.
BBFD made clear it was a community event so it was important to let not just attendees but others within the community know how it went, what it cost and whether it would happen again.

There were 40 people in 2010 and 65 in 2011.  The venue like us and I have re-booked for 19th May 2012 – same space, same timings, same venue.

A particular highlight for me as the space organiser was seeing that people really made use of the space and everyone contributed.  Not simply with a financial donation, but by helping set up, by bringing food to share, by sharing toys and games, by offering guided activities and by cleaning up afterwards.  It had such a good feel with everyone co-operating well together.
My aim was to provide a child and family friendly social space for people already in the bi community and for it to be run by the bi community.   I’d say that with the help of everyone, BBFD has done exactly what it set out to do.

Thank you for making me feel it was worthwhile running and wanting it to be run again!

Sanji