by Jasmin Kanditt
1. What & why? Carefully contemplating your event’s topic (instead of randomly “throwing thematic dices”)!
The topic of the Charity Performance Evening – “Women & Equality” – was inspired by my participation as a trainee in the Dance Subcommittee at the European Commission (EC). This special committee, which is organised by trainees for trainees, is full of incredible women who all share a passion for dancing.
I have, to be honest, never given that much thought to these topics before the event. It’s only in the cause of organising a fundraising evening for the European Women’s Lobby and (a female artist from) Refugees got Talent that I have had the opportunity to learn about a new exciting topic that inspires and concerns everyone – men/women, refugees/non-refugees, black/white, old/young, etc.
“Doing something meaningful which I can feel passionate about was the main driving force that motivated me to organise the Charity Evening in the first place.”
2. When? Grab your pen and boldly mark a red cross in your event’s calendar! ×
There is always something going on in Brussels – Europe’s busiest hub of competing lobby groups from all around the world. There is a “24/7 social media bombardment” with bullet-point-like tweets and posts being aimed at myriads of target groups out there. The list of events – taking place (often in parallel) on many equally exciting topics – is infinite…
This makes it extremely challenging to find a suitable timeslot in people’s schedule. In order to avoid “War of the Events” clashes as much as possible, it is thus advisable to check with the EC Trainees’ Committee and other Subcommitees at the European Commission well in advance.
Once you have marked a cross in your event’s calendar, I’d recommend communicating the date by using a live countdown timer. This useful online tool functions as a visual reminder for people to easily keep track of how much time is left until your event takes place.
3. Where? Embarking on a crazy venue hunt in the heart of the Brussels’ “urban jungle”!
The venue should be located quite central near the EU institutions in order for your guests to get there easily after work. It should furthermore be accessible without difficulty by public transport. The Charity Performance Evening was held in a place called Sazz N Jazz, which is located in proximity of the EU’s institutional landscape within walking distance of the metro station “Botanique”.
Other criteria to be taken into account when searching for an appropriate venue for your event inlcude: the venue’s size, opening hours, possibility for catering (drinks&snacks), availability of a podium, chairs, tables, technical equipment (lights, speakers, etc.).
Possible venues include Brussels-based Community Centres as well as private venues. Please note that the European Commission does not allow any charity events to be organised on-site of their buildings. Taking this into account, my advice is to start your venue search in Brussels as soon as possible!
Sazz n Jazz is “a real art house, music room, café théâtre, comedy club, expo hall”! (Ali)
4. With whom? Gem-stone searching and face-to-face interviewing of international artists and performers!
DENA – Brussels-based Comedian who performed at the opening ceremony of the EU Trainees in March 2018.
4. For whom? Inviting guests!
The question of whom to invite depends very much on the venue chosen. Do note that if it was possible to organise a charity event in one of the EC buildings, it would be more or less restricted to EC trainees only (as they are the ones who hold a badge to enter the EC’s on-site facilities). However, if the event is organised in a public place, it is possible to invite people from everywhere – making it thus more open and inclusive to others.
Another option is to politely (but persistently) “knock at the door” of other Subcommittees at the European Commission who take an interest in your event’s topic and cause. This includes in the case of the Charity Performance Evening, first and foremost: the Dance Subommittee, the Culture Subcommittee, the Europeans of Colour, the Solidarity/Human Rights Subommittee as well as the Sustainability Subcommittee.
Note: the picture below shows a personalised cup by the Refugees got Talent artist Chinara Moukhametova whose work won with nearly 100 likes the plastic-free pluxing game organised every Thursday by the Sustainability Subcommittee at Place Lux (Brussels).
5. How? Reach out and cast your net via different communication channels!
As regards charity-focused events in particular, I’d recommend using an online crowd funding tool to easily promote and safely collect donations made via the internet. Please note that in order to set up one’s own crowd funding site, it is necessary to convince the respective service providers of your charity event’s concept in: emails, phone calls and face-to-face meetings at their office in Brussels. This takes some time but it is definitely worth it as can be seen here!
There’s also the vast social media repertoire you can always resort to nowadays, including: Facebook (the event’s virtual public “diary” as well as thematically-related closed groups of the European Commission’s Subcommittees, for example), email lists, online newsletters, etc.
Design, print and always have some flyers readily available with you to hand out to interested people (whilst chatting away on a “Thirsty Thursday” at Place Lux, for example 😉 ) ⇓
Register, attend and find inspiration in various Brussels-based meetings and conferences that deal with topics related to the one of your event.
Note on the picture below: Inspiring speech held by Vera Jourova – European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality on the question of “What’s the scorecard on gender equality?” (Conversation series organised by Friends of Europe at the North Rhine-Westphalia Representation in Brussels on 26 June 2018).
Lessons learned for life!
Whatever happens, don’t panic! Remain flexible even if things are not always going according to plan. Take the case of the online crowdfunding attempt by means of a raffle game to be held at the EC’s Euroball, for exampe. As plan A didn’t work out, the raffle game was simply held at the Charity Performance Evening instead. Here, guests were able to win fun prices whilst making additional donations at the same time. This shows that “the game is never over” and that there is always a Plan B to resort to.
Besides from resilience and persistence, other skills aquired over the last months include:
- Organisational skills
- Communication skills
- Creativity and out of the box thinking
- Ability to work autonomously as well as to cooperate where necessary
- Budgeting skills
I have moreover learned valuable insight into the meaningful work of the European Women’s Lobby and Refugees got Talent in the cause of organising a fundraising evening for these two NGOs in Brussels. The incredible women I have met and interviewed on my “5-step-journey” left a lasting impression on me – and hopefully also on many others. Last but not least, I have managed to extend my dance repertoire while making friends with people from all over the world! ♥