immersive events

Spring round-up: raising millions and launching campaigns

Traditionally, January is a quiet month in the world of events - the desk tidying, paper sorting, thumb twiddling month. Some of my best holidays have combatted the Winter blues. For some reason, 2017 started differently and over the last two months, the team has delivered nine events in as many weeks. 

We started with two drinks receptions, one to promote the work of our client and the other with Eddie Redmayne launching a fundraising campaign to the film, television and games industries. At the end of January, we enjoyed working with new suppliers Free Love Group and the wonderfully creative Mark Valentine to bring the work of the Education Partnerships Group to life in London. 

Ahead of the British Academy Film Awards at the Royal Albert Hall, the following week we ran the third annual Film Gala for BAFTA, with patrons Colin Firth and Emily Blunt. This year we took the event income from £250K to £400K through a brand-new VIP experience. February also saw us running two international education conferences (in Africa and Switzerland) and a whole staff away day for 150 delegates, working with etc venues.  

March has brought a Q&A with the fabulous stars of Netflix's The Crown, as part of the ongoing Academy Circle series. And to finish, over 60 pieces of student artwork went on display earlier this week at Saatchi Gallery raising money to fund enrichment programmes at Ark Schools. 

Fully immersed: the rising popularity of experiential events

For years I've been reading Event Magazine's articles on experiential and immersive events delivered by corporate brands across the world. And last week, I read with excitement as Save the Children received national coverage for their Forced to Flee event.

Having worked on Ark's immersive event Ark by Night since 2014, I often speak to charities who are also keen to do something different. In recent years, I’ve seen a shift away from the often very costly traditional gala dinner and a move towards something that better reflects the work that they do. In order to truly bring their work to life, charities need more than a three-minute film or a compelling speech to get their mission across.

From my work as Chair of the Special Events Forum for the charity sector, I’ve become aware of a whole host of innovative and unusual events, breaking the mould of the traditional fundraising dinner and dance - from the DEC taking guests on a journey to demonstrate how they take action in emergency situations to the Royal Opera House hosting guests for behind-the-scenes experiences.

It’s long been a bugbear of mine that the charity sector is seen as a cardigan-wearing, risk averse and boring place to work – with 10 years in the sector, I can confidently say that this is far from the truth. And perhaps you'll be lucky enough to get an invitation to one of these events in the future so that you can see for yourself...