There’s an important distinction between events designed to raise awareness about the goals of the core group and events designed to solicit donations to the skatepark fund. Fundraising events can often be combined with awareness events, and fundraising campaigns that rely on the public always have an awareness component to them.
It’s valuable to put as much energy as possible into raising awareness about the need for a local skatepark BEFORE specific locations are talked about. The location of the skatepark is a touchy subject for people that don’t understand skateparks and skateboarders. Anyone that has neutral feelings about skateboarding will be susceptible to the anti-skateboarding messages issues by your opposition, so reaching these people before your opponents have organized against the project is very important.
Awareness campaigns reach a lot of people but usually lack an opportunity to establish personal connections with the audience. Before you begin holding awareness events, you should be confident in your ability to talk about the skatepark in positive, short, easy-to-understand ways. You will have about a minute to describe what the event is about before people begin to lose interest, so keep it short and sweet.
Common awareness events:
- Skate jams and demos
- Learn-to-skate workshops
- Street fairs and festivals
- Movie premiers
- Musical benefits
- Coin Drives*
- Rallies, Sit-ins, and other acts of civil disobedience**
*Note: The awareness value of coin drives is the opportunity to present a short, pro-skatepark message to every shopper. And, of course, to make a few bucks.
** Note: Events that are disruptive to the general public are not very good ways of building popular support. They should be considered only as a last resort. It is difficult to return to a positive place after engaging in these types of activities.
When organizing public events, gather advice from others with experience before you make any public announcements, particularly if you intend to include skateboarding activity. Event insurance may require expenses you aren’t prepared to meet.