By Abbie Peterson
Finding easy, eco-friendly, sustainable solutions for large-scale events can pose a challenge for non-profit professionals juggling every aspect of planning their event. When you’re managing participants, vendors and volunteers, adopting environmentally friendly policies can quickly fall to the bottom (or completely) off your ever-growing to-do list. In honor of Earth Day, we’ve compiled a short list of simple ways to go green at your next event.
1. Think about Transportation
When creating the FAQ for your event, do some quick research on Google Maps and add a section about public transportation options. Is your venue near a bus or train line? Is it close to any public trails? Easily accessible by bike? Mapping out the public transportation options and giving your participants directions could make it easier for some to leave their cars at home. If your event location is not accessible by public transport, provide a platform for participants to connect with each other and coordinate carpools.
2. Establish your “Green Groupies”
Do you have volunteers who are anxious to get involved and help out the day of your event? Designate a group of volunteers to act as your “Green Groupies” to oversee trash and recycling to make sure items are being placed in the correct bins. They can also help out during event clean-up so no trash is left behind!
3. Go Paperless
Since the onset of the pandemic, we’ve all seen the rise in using QR codes for a lot of things in our daily lives. Capitalize on this trend to create contactless registration, check-in and donation processes for your guests! No more staying up until midnight the night before to print out the most up-to-date registration report.
QR Codes in Action: The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network is implementing QR codes at their upcoming PurpleStride events on April 30th. Participants will arrive on event day and scan a QR code with their cell phone to check themselves in, alleviating the need for paper copies and long lines at the registration tent.
4. Use LED screens and Projectors
If you’re planning an indoor event, look at your signage needs and determine if any printed signs could be replaced by using a projector or LED screen at your event. Using a screen or projector can not only provide your guests with information but could also transform the look and feel of your event space. Plus, screens can be easily updated with information, which means no more printing accidents!
5. Partner with Other Non-profits
Does your event involve serving food or handing out swag? Look through your event’s historical registration data to order amounts based on previous event attendance. These numbers can help keep you from ordering way too much “just in case.”
Do a quick search to find other non-profits in your area and contact them to see if you would be able to donate any items left over after your event. For leftover food, FoodFinder is a great online tool to help make your search quick and easy. No need to keep those granola bars in your office for a year after the expiration date even though you thought you’d surely find a use for them!
Eco-friendly tip: When ordering swag, don’t put the date or year on items. This will allow your organization to reuse swag for future events!
These 5 tips are a great way to kickstart an eco-friendly event. Do you have any other ideas that you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments!