The leading UK yearly recruitment fair for the Third Sector, forum3, is a two-day event held in London that attracts visitors from the full spectrum of the not-for-profit sector including 150 top charities such as Cancer Research UK, Big Issue, Citizen’s Advice, World Vision and the RSPCA.
2010 marks the event’s 10th year at a time when the economic downturn has put a squeeze on funding and public sector cuts mean not-for-profit organisations are being called upon more and more to deliver vital services to the community.
The need for committed professionals to volunteer and join in paid roles, is a priority for most charities and forum3 is an opportunity for many to engage with candidates and encourage more people to work in the third sector.
forum3 has been working with independent communications agency, Wordville, since 2008 and turned to them again this year to deliver a campaign that would attract interest from the widest possible audience .
?- Establish a way for forum3 to engage with more people and establish the not-for-profit sector as a rewarding place to work or volunteer
?- Accelerate brand awareness of forum3 among the UK public sector, charity, recruitment and national press
?- Establish forum3 as a thought leader by providing opportunities to express opinions and insight
?- Raise awareness to social care jobs, volunteering and fundraising and highlight forum3 as a key point of reference
?- Educate journalists, analysts, and industry pundits about forum3 and its participants
?- Engage attendees at the recruitment fair, making sure they take away everything they can from the event
Clear messages for the event were developed, linking to forum3’s tenth birthday and the benefits of volunteering for career development. A campaign that was first initiated in 2008 to reward those working in the not-for-profit section (The Alternative Rich List) was renewed to recognise those rich in terms of life experience, not necessarily money.
A media outreach programme made use of news alerts, and interviews were arranged between the media and some of the top names in the sector, as well as those shortlisted for the Alternative Rich List. Mainstream, broadcast and business press were targeted as well as the recruitment and charity press.
We also incorporated David Cameron’s call for a ‘Big Society’ and used this to promote the working in the third sector, whether it be in a fulltime, part time or volunteer capacity.
Wordville was part of the forum3 team onsite at the event, liaising directly with the press attending, issuing announcements from the site, making use of social media to issue updates and ensuring all attending media were introduced to key exhibitor spokespeople. Wordville continued proactive media outreach until the very last moment of the event.
Wordville was also challenged to make use of the forum3 stand at the event, on a shoe-string budget, to engage the general public in a way that was meaningful and had a longer-term impact. A small questionnaire to celebrate forum3’s tenth birthday was prepared and printed internally. Known as ‘The Big Ten Pledge’ attendees were asked to answer three questions:
Where do you want to be in ten days?
Where do you want to be in ten months?
Where do you want to be in ten years?
This created an opportunity to engage with the general public and collect ideas about what brought them to forum3 as well as gather email addresses and a legitimate reason to contact the visitors after the show and in advance of next year’s show. The Big Ten Pledges were followed up by email to remind the participants about their goals.
Results in numbers
· 110 cuttings between 5th May and 24th September in publications including Yours, The Recruiter and Third Sector.
· Meetings and interviews facilitated between journalists and forum3 director including with Reuters, The Economist and The Independent.
· Over 5,000 people voted for the winners of The Alternative Rich List
· 10,000 people attended the event.
· 300 pledges were recorded and emails sent to all ten days after the event.
· The implementation of the Big Ten Pledge involved a follow up aspect where forum3 emailed the participants to see how they fared with their goals. This creates a continued outreach well after the event was finished.
· The event connected 150 not-for-profit recruiters with more than 10,000 potential employees and volunteers.
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