Launching a project

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A launch event is a one-off opportunity to have an impact – really think about the impression you want to make and the key messages you want people to take away with them. You may want to run a launch event to raise awareness when a new group is formed, to start connecting the community with a planned project, or to unveil a project which is ready for delivery.

If you can involve renowned public figures and local leaders, this can raise the profile of your event, attract attention and making it more likely that people will attend. Numbers can also be boosted by welcoming and involving other local community groups, especially if members of those groups then bring along some of their own friends and family too.

Ideas for different types of launch events include:

Launching at a public meeting. Launching at a public meeting can be a good approach in order to allow people to feedback on your plans, to contribute ideas and to offer help or support in taking it forward. This can therefore be a good option for achieving practical outputs and to determine next steps. This kind of event is likely to be most successful when it is a creative exercise with lots of interactive activities which takes place before the precise details of the projects have been decided, as this will allow those attending to have an opportunity to shape the outcome.

Launching at a party or social event. Launching at a party or social event is a good option for building social networks and generating a positive energy around a new group or project. This type of event can be more hands on with aspects appealing to all ages compared with a public meeting. Such an event could involve talks, music, dramatic performances, competitions or practical tasks – there are lots of different options! Including interactive activities and practical tasks will make it more engaging and active.

Unveiling a completed project. If you are unveiling a completed project, it is likely that there will already be a degree of local awareness about your group and what it has been up to. You will also have more information to communicate about your project, its results and impact, as well as people to acknowledge and thank who inputted into the process. Compared with events to launch a new group or project, events to unveil completed projects should therefore be more about celebrating achievements.

Case Studies
Country: UK

Dingwall Wind Co-op's launch event was well planned with an evening event followed by a drop-in the next day. The venue (Dingwall Auction Mart) is well known to local people, and important in the farming community. The Mart also has its own wind turbine so has an existing connection with renewables. Presentations and running order were shared and agreed well before the meeting and promotional printing was all carried out in good time. Directors visited the venue ahead of time. The evening event was a tight, 1hr long launch with short and clear presentations from directors, technology providers and advisors. A good deal of time was set aside for people's questions and opportunity to speak informally was provided before and after the speakers. Share offer documents were available on the night. The drop-in session was held the next morning at the same venue, alongside the normal activities at the Mart. Most of the directors and support staff were on hand to have one-to-one conversations with people considering joinign the Co-op. A number of people who had attended the launch returned to the drop-in, having read the share document - with questions and in some cases cheques.

Country: UK

Stroud Community Agriculture put up big blank posters at their first public meeting with headings asking questions such as “What would you want from a farm project?” and “What can you offer?”. Other posters invited people to get involved in planning the project, and people were given contact forms to fill in so they could be added to the mailing list, enabling them to keep updated on the project’s progress, to contribute further ideas or to donate money. They describe the meeting as “pretty chaotic” and “wide-ranging” but note that plenty of enthusiasm was generated.

Source: The Story of Community Supported Agriculture in Stroud

Country: UK

Westmill Wind Farm Co-operative combined their AGM, an open day and the official unveiling of their wind farm into a single event. The AGM began at 11.15am with over 300 members of the Co-operative attending. The meeting covered the progress of the project to date, including costs, budgets and electricity generated, recent events and future strategic options for developing the Co-operatives activities. Jonathon Porritt, Chair of the Sustainable Development Commission, then formally opened the ceremony, inviting over 600 guests to raise a glass to celebrate the official unveiling.