AN IMPLEMENTED COMMUNICATIONS PLAN
Education and promotion around your plastic free agenda is essential to increase staff/ vendor/ public awareness and participation.
We are creating a template communications plan (coming soon) that you can download and adapt to your event. If you already have a communications plan in place, you can simply add these actions to it. You can also use the template as basis for a new plan - this is totally up to you.
We have broken it down into categories below and included resources to help you.
1 communicating with vendors
Information should be provided from the start to your vendors explaining what you're doing, why you're doing it and how they can participate. You may encounter resistance, particularly if there is an additional cost. A pre-event letter to vendors is a great way to provide information and gain their support. You will find a template Vendor Letter here.
You can also include with this copies of our Vendor Plastic-free Guidelines and supplier details (see Action 1- Vendors) plus your event policy.
Words of encouragement and support also work well. Ensure your vendors understand that successful composting requires all to be involved and that they are key players. Work with your vendors and be on hand to help them with the transition. If any vendors sign up as a Make the Switch member, we can come out and work with them personally, so please encourage them to do so.
You may also want to consider a vendor agreement, or incorporating specific clauses in your current vendor agreement, to ensure vendors agree to comply. If you plan to compost and have zero tolerance written into your event policy for vendor non-compliance, this is a good idea. You will find a template Vendor Agreement here.
2 communicating with staff & volunteers
Communicating to your staff and volunteers is a priority. They are directly affected and may need some guidance to help them participate. Information should be provided from the start explaining what you're doing, why you're doing it and how they can be involved. Most people are very willing to be involved once they have been included and understand the process.
For staff and volunteers, you will want to ensure they understand your waste system and what goes into each bin. You will also want to ensure they know what to do to prepare for the day. For e.g. if you would like them to bring their own water bottles. It would help to send out a pre-event letter to your staff/volunteers that outlines your practices, how you would like them to be involved and FAQ's- you can use our template Staff Letter for this purpose - just edit and send.
For those staff and volunteers that are directly involved with your waste (e.g waste warriors who will be standing with your bin stations), you will need to ensure they have adequate training - find out more on this in Action 6 - Waste.
3 communicating with the public
For the public, include the message on all event materials, promotions and site signage. Your aim is to ensure they are aware, but also to ensure they know what to do in order to participate. In your messaging we advise that you thank the public for their help and for being a part of the solution to help them to feel positive about the experience.
Pre-event promotions (media, social media, advertising etc)
Pre-event communication should include consistent messaging about your plastic-free/zero waste agenda. This is not only great promotion for you, but ensures your attendees have the chance to be prepared, and also helps to raise awareness to the general public about single-use plastics.
In your promotion, encourage customers to BYO water bottles, bags, and coffee cups. You can even run competitions around this or provide discounts or vouchers to encourage participation. Some examples are that anyone who brings a reusable item will receive:
a ticket to a raffle, where the prize/s could be a free meal or an item donated by a sponsor
a discount to entry of the event
a voucher to a free drink (ensure vouchers are given to vendors who collect for reuse or compost)
We encourage you to send out a media release to the local newspapers/radio 1-2 weeks before the event. Here is a template pre-event media release that you can adapt to suit. When writing the release, aim to write it like an article, rather than dot points. This, plus a great picture, will give you the best chance of having your story picked up. For an example of a great pre-event media release, check out this one from Splendour.
You can also use our list of local media contacts to send it to. Note that this list is dynamic, you can use the sort function to filter by region and media type and then simply copy the relevant email addresses.
Utilise your website and social media, and that of your networks. We can promote your event as well if you send us a sort copy and a photo.
Downloadable templates (.docx)
Signage at the event
For site signage, ensure vendors display that their takeaway products are compostable - this will assist correct disposal. Also have signage around the event that lets your attendees know that your event is plastic free/ zero waste and what to do. Make sure signage is simple and visually effective. Below you will find some signage options you can print and use.
Zero - Waste Posters - Use these to put up around food areas and entrance and exit points.
Water Poster - Use to informing patrons about the reusable water system you have in place.
Soft Plastic Poster A4 - Put up around vendor stalls and in areas of need.
Promotion at the event
The event itself is a great opportunity to spread the message and engage and educate your attendees. Have staff and volunteers communicate with people about what you are doing, particularly near your food vendors, entrances and bin stations. There is a Handy Guide included in section 2 above (communicating with staff & volunteers) which will prepare them for questions. If you have a team of Waste Warriors, they will be your most effective form of communication. Ensure they are trained well and easily identified.
Make regular public announcements explaining what you are doing and how to use the bins correctly. If your event allows opportunities for presentations, make sure you include one or several on your plastic free and zero waste initiatives and what your attendees can do to help. Here is a template PA Announcements script you can use for this.
Downloadable templates (.docx)
Just because your event is over does not mean that the promotion has to stop. This is especially true if your event will re-occur. If you are a market, it is always worth periodically putting out a media release to gain exposure. People will be interested to know the results of your plastic free and zero waste measures. Particularly of interest are things like:
Was the composting successful?
How much of your waste was composted?
How much waste did you divert from landfill?
What does this mean for future events?
For a great example of a post event media story, see this one about the Noosa Food & Wine Festival.
Aim to send out your media release as soon as you have some results about the success of your initiatives. Here is a template post-event media release you can adapt to suit, and don't forget there is our local media list if you need.
Downloadable templates (.docx)