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Friday, 17 May 2013

The Importance of Acknowledging Volunteers

Volunteers are regarded as the backbone of many charity and non-charity events in the UK and Volunteers’ Week is a perfect opportunity to acknowledge and appreciate the hard work carried out by them as well as launch new volunteering campaigns to attract new people to help out.
All of the main volunteering umbrella bodies within the UK – Volunteering England, Volunteering Wales, Volunteer Scotland and Volunteer Now (Northern Ireland) – participate in Volunteers’ Week which takes place from 1st to 7th June.
It’s hugely important that volunteers are recognized as they make an invaluable contribution to the third sector. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to consider the best ways of acknowledging volunteers.
Social Events – There’s no better way to show your appreciation than organizing a social event with the whole team and even their family members. It’s a simple yet effective way of encouraging team bonding and also provides you with the opportunity to find out more about the volunteers and their motivations and goals. It’s always important to build strong working relationships with your volunteers, especially if they’re part of a wider team in which some members of the workforce are paid and others unpaid.     
Be Flexible – Listen to the needs of your volunteers and respond positively to them. Each volunteer is different and will be able to offer varying levels of commitment to your project – don’t display any preference to those who can make a greater commitment. If a volunteer’s personal circumstances change, always ensure that you can adapt to that and maintain a strong and open working relationship with them.   
Make Note of Their Contribution – It’s a nice touch to keep track of volunteers’ individual contributions. Consequently, this makes it much easier when it comes to reviewing their progress in staff appraisals. It’s also a good way of keeping track of any long-term goals they may have as a volunteer and seeing whether or not you can work around that to provide them with the tools they need to develop.  
You should always ensure that you’re getting the most out of your volunteer workforce. The most sensible approach is to do so with bespoke software tailored to your needs. Custom-made software can help with both major and minor staffing issues such as employee scheduling and workforce management. Specific bespoke packages such as sports event management software and volunteer management software are designed to have the capability to help you manage volunteering events of various types and scales, resulting in a well co-ordinated and productive volunteer workforce.    

The Cost of a Major Sporting Event

Major sporting events not only provide a great spectacle but also lasting legacies for the nations in which they are held. With so many factors to consider before, during and after an event, how much do you think a major, global sporting event costs?
London 2012 Olympics – Last summer saw one of the greatest sporting events ever held on British shores, the London 2012 Olympics. Held between 17th July – 12th August, the Games were a celebration of both British culture and global sporting excellence - but be assured, this came at a hefty price. The total cost for the event came to approximately £11bn. The money came from a range of sources including the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Limited, Olympic Delivery Authority, National Lottery, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Greater London Authority.
2010 FIFA World Cup – The 19th FIFA World Cup was held in South Africa in June and July 2010. This was a huge occasion for football as it saw the first ever African nation host the finals and it turned out to be a huge financial success. The total cost of the event came to £21.6m, however ticket sales revenue totalled £185m and, additionally, TV rights revenue amounted to a huge £1.5bn.
2011 Rugby World Cup – Autumn 2011 saw the Rugby World Cup return to the Southern Hemisphere. Held in 12 towns and cities throughout New Zealand’s North and South Islands, the tournament truly reflected the New Zealand Rugby Union's desire to make it a nationwide event. With approximately four million global viewers, the total cost of the event came to £19.8m, a small price tag, many New Zealanders would say, for the host nation to capture the William Webb Ellis Cup on home soil.
2012 Superbowl – The Superbowl is a huge event within the sporting calendar, particularly in the United States. The 2012 final between the New York Giants and New England Patriots was viewed by 111 million people. The total cost came to £17.2m, with ticket sales revenue totalling £44.4m; but it may not come as a shock that this event raked in £12.9bn in TV rights revenue, the most of all the sporting events on this list.
There’s no doubt that sports event management is tough when it comes to large-scale, multi-site events. With organizing committees wanting to keep costs to a minimum, it is imperative that factors such as employee scheduling and workforce management are not overseen. It is by cutting down on unwanted administrative costs and figuring out the exact size of the workforce required that money can be saved. By investing in bespoke employee scheduling and volunteer management software, a lot of money could be saved in the long run.

How to Simplify the Workforce Management Process

Businesses are constantly on the lookout for new ways to help their operation run smoother and be more productive and one of the main ways to do this is by investing in effective software. 92% of organizations still claim they use spreadsheets to manage some aspects of their workforce, but 42% of them also admitted that the use of spreadsheets made it more difficult to manage a workforce. However, there is a simple and cost-effective solution – workforce management software.
Ventana Research published a report at the end of 2012 detailing the findings of their research into what businesses wanted from a workforce management software package. The majority of participating organizations in their study were time-clock-based organizations that used software packages to manage their workforce. Below are some of their key findings:
Of all the participants in their study, Ventana Research discovered that only 10% of those organizations were using workforce management software to its full potential. This meant that a huge 90% of participating organizations either didn’t have workforce management software or didn’t fully understand how to use it and its many features. This simply proves that a bespoke software package tailored to your organization’s specific needs, along with full support from the software providers is exactly what organizations require when they invest in these software packages; especially as nearly three quarters of the participating organizations stated that improving the productivity of their workforce was a critical matter for them.
Two thirds of those that have a dedicated workforce management software system stated that they were satisfied or very satisfied with it. The value of these custom-made software packages is easy to see. They can help you resolve various workforce issues such as higher productivity, centralizing all your vital information and improving inconsistent execution.
Given the results of the study, it will not surprise you to learn that more than half of the organizations that participated in this research are now planning to adopt labour and workforce analytics tools in the next year, joining the 30% that already have them. Every organization’s ambition should be to streamline its employee scheduling and empower employees to take responsibility for their job and this is exactly what a strong workforce management software package can provide. These ambitions don’t only apply to workforce management processes within the industrial and business sectors, but may also be applied to sports event management.

Friday, 10 May 2013

The Advantages of Digital Screen Advertising

Advertising has advanced a great deal since the 19th Century when Thomas J. Barratt came up with the now infamous campaign for Pears Soap. The basic principle of advertising, however, remains the same but the way companies go about it has evolved a great deal.
Various advertising tools have been used throughout the decades, including posters, billboards, television and radio. However, we are now at a stage where more advanced techniques such as digital screens are the preferred methods of advertising, especially within our bustling towns and cities. Using a combination of factors, including moving images, sound (including music and the spoken word), along with the more traditional written word on the screen itself, helps to create a more attractive advertising campaign that’s far more likely to grab consumers’ attention. For example, companies are now able to advertise as they would on your TVs at home but through large digital screens within urban hot spots, meaning thousands of people will be exposed to a particular campaign. Recent research shows that digital advertising gets ten times the amount of eye contact from passers by compared to traditional static signage, therefore companies would be foolish not to recognize the potential results from this advertising method.
From automotive advertising to fashion advertising, anything and everything can be shown on these huge digital screens. A big advantage of digital screen advertising is that the advertisement can be updated in live time, which makes this method far more appealing for companies that may want to use it for on-going campaigns or charity campaigns with a view to keeping the public up-to-date on their progress. Another advantage associated with this type of advertising is that it’s environmentally friendly – such a cost-effective and greener advertising method could appeal to companies with certain environmental aims and strategies.
Having run digital screen campaigns for huge companies such as Citroen and Gillette, blowUP media are specialists in big advertising campaigns. Using the most recent technology, their campaigns are always full of impact and authority.  Having developed a state-of-the-art digital programme, the innovative and contemporary campaigns are placed right in the city centre, delivering on quality and innovation. Digital screen advertising is fast becoming the most popular forms of marketing with companies looking for vibrant, state-of-the-art campaigns that entice consumers to their product or service.  

The Benefits of Bespoke Workforce Management Software

A project or event, regardless of its scale, could easily encounter a certain problem or stumbling block that could jeopardize that project. Traditionally in the run-up to an event, the organizer(s) will have endless lists and resources in various forms and all stored in different places. The events industry has always been competitive and with people constantly striving for improvement, many are now turning to event scheduling software.    
With so many factors to take into consideration, workforce management can be a real headache for an event organizer, but it needn’t be. Specifically-tailored software can be created for an event which helps event organizers with the major challenges they face. Software packages can help you manage an event more efficiently when it comes to key factors such as intelligent employee scheduling and clear communication with your workforce.
With everything stored in one, central cloud-based system, a bespoke software package enables an event management team to store everything they need to run an event in one place. It also enables the workforce to access this information at the press of a button through gadgets such as smartphones and tablets. Along with these features, this software also benefits from many additional features, including mass notifications for emergencies, leave management and the ability to produce and distribute reports at the end of any project.
In comparison to off-the-shelf software packages, bespoke packages also work better in unforeseen circumstances. This sort of software package is adaptable and can ease an event organizer’s workload if anything happens unexpectedly. With its adaptability and multifunctional use, a bespoke package can inform a whole workforce of any changes to shift times or locations through its central cloud-based system. The fact that everyone can access this information eases the workload of an event organizer as he or she will not have to communicate with each member of the workforce individually. A great example of this would be a large-scale sporting event in which a bespoke sports event management software package could help resolve any logistical issues that may arise, as often has done in the past.
With projects and events becoming increasingly more competitive, organizers require software packages that are adaptable and tailored to their specific needs. A bespoke package can contribute to creating a unique and seamless project, and hopefully, a stress-free management team and workforce. 

How to Manage Volunteers

According to the National Citizenship Survey, 59% of people who volunteer do so to help organize or run an activity or event. These volunteers are vital for many smaller-scale events and organizations that are on tight budgets. The majority of third sector organizations, along with various cultural and arts organizations, rely upon volunteers even more now that finances are tight and grants are being cut. These volunteers are a huge asset to any event, but organizers need to be sensitive to a volunteer’s motivations and know how to manage them.

Charities rely on the goodwill of their volunteers. People usually choose to volunteer for a charity for very personal reasons, so be sure to take this into consideration. It’s always good to get to know a volunteer and understand their reasons for wanting to work on a specific project or event.  This will make them feel valued and encourage them to work harder for your cause.

Volunteering can also massively improve someone’s CV and benefit their career prospects. It’s a great way to learn new skills and experience, whether you’re starting off your career or getting back into work after a spell of unemployment. According to TimeBank, 80% of employers value volunteering on a CV when recruiting, so make sure that if a volunteer wants to gain knowledge or skills in a certain area, you try your best to accommodate this. Tailored volunteer management software can help when it comes to workforce management and deciding who would be best suited for various roles. This way, you can ensure that you’re providing invaluable experience that could benefit someone’s long-term career prospects as well as your own event.

Many people volunteer as they genuinely want to make a difference, be it in their local community or on a national level. Sport is a popular way of bringing people together in a sociable and positive environment, regardless of whether this involves individual or team events. Volunteers are usually the backbone of a sporting event, especially large-scale ones, and sports events management software can be invaluable to tackling the hurdles faced by events organizers within the sports industry.

Volunteers really are a big part of making an event successful. From employee scheduling to allocating job roles, it’s vital that event organizers appreciate volunteers and ensure they are fully integrated within the wider team. They need to know that what they’re doing makes a difference as it’s crucial that they continue to devote their much-needed time and energy.

Event Staff Logistics - Five Things to Remember when you are Planning

Organizing a large workforce is a tough task that can be overwhelming and stressful at times, but there are some basic logistical rules which every event organizer should abide by.  Sticking to these makes it much easier to staff an event.
Recruitment - It’s crucial that you fully understand the size of the workforce required. There’s no point organizing an elaborate event when there aren’t enough staff to do it justice, but at the same time you can’t blow the budget on overstaffing either. It can be tricky to get the right balance when it comes to employee scheduling, so ensure that you invest some quality time in recruiting for your event.  
Training – You should always try and recruit the right people with the right skillsets. You may pay a bit more in salaries, but will off-set this by getting the job done properly first time and unsupervised. However, if you are unable to do so and your event staff needs to undergo specific training, make sure that this is provided in due course and that everyone fully understands it. You want your team to feel comfortable and confident with the service they will be delivering, so be sure to remain involved and kept updated during the recruitment and training processes. 
Shifts – Workforce management can be challenging when holding a large-scale event and ensuring that everyone has access to their individual rota, along with other rota patterns, is vital. You should also remember that you may have a combination of paid and unpaid staff at your event. If you do have volunteers at your event, volunteer management software helps you allocate their shifts and expertise appropriately.  
Locations – While the majority of events are held on one site, large-scale events can be held across various locations, both domestically and internationally. A sports event management software package can help ease the process of allocating who should be where and when at larger sporting events. It can get extremely confusing when there are so many factors to consider, so try and make things as easy as possible. A stressed and disorganized event organizer is usually unproductive.   
Transport – When you hold a multi-site event, always ensure that your staff can get to the various site locations and understand that lateness is unacceptable. Sometimes, if it is tricky to get to a certain site location, it may even be worth considering providing a shuttle bus service to take staff to and from site locations. Even though public transport runs all day in larger cities like London, this isn’t the case in more rural areas. Think about where your event is being held and always listen to your staff.  This way, you are guaranteed that your staff will be on site and ready to start their shift on time.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Big Advertising Leads to Big Results

From our television screens to public transport, consumer advertising is everywhere these days and companies realise the difference a strong and innovative campaign can make to their product or service. The advertising industry is getting bigger and bigger, quite literally, and giant posters can be seen throughout the UK’s larger cities these days. From Ford in Fulham to Bacardi in Birmingham, these huge advertising platforms are a familiar sight to busy urbanites all over the UK and beyond.

World-renowned companies from all sorts of industries have used giant posters as part of their advertising campaigns. Placing these huge campaigns bang in the centre of urban hot spots, ensuring they dominate their surrounding area, is a proven way of grabbing people’s attention and effectively getting a message across to consumers. One of the leading companies within the outdoor advertising industry is blowUP media. After establishing in the early 90s and specialising in billboard advertising at that time, the company has evolved within the industry and now provides quality giant posters, building wraps and large-scale, digital screen advertising campaigns. The company is a real frontrunner in the outdoor media industry and recognizes the importance of impact advertising in the heart of busy towns and cities. 

With competition fierce and rival companies always trying to produce bigger and better campaigns, business owners understand how important impactful advertising is to building a successful brand. Giant posters are a modern and striking medium that transform relatively simple concepts into impressive and powerful advertising campaigns that command people’s attention. Along with giant posters, other bold advertising methods such as building wraps can also be seen within larger cities. This advertising method sees at least one side or section of a building totally covered by one gigantic advertising campaign. This full-on and striking method works wonders within busier areas where people are constantly on the go and can get wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of city life. Smaller-scale advertising would simply not have the same impact within this sort of hectic environment, which is why these colossal campaigns work so well to grab the attention.

Gone are the days where A4 posters glued to a wall or lamppost are seen as effective advertising campaigns - outdoor media is moving with the times.  Nowadays, it’s all about creating a huge impact and engaging effectively with your audience, ensuring that your brand’s important messages are successfully conveyed to consumers immediately. One thing’s for sure, big advertising can lead to big results.

How to Build a Successful Brand Through Advertising

In order to build a successful brand and maintain an already well-known one, large business owners need to work hard on building brand awareness, along with creating striking and memorable advertising campaigns.  Advertising, especially on a very large scale, can provide a great springboard for the launch of a new product or service and it can also give an existing campaign that extra push it may need. Here are a few tips on how to build a successful brand through advertising:
Humour Works - There are many ways that brands can go about devising an advertising campaign and one of the best ways of grabbing consumers’ attention is with humour. A clever play on words or catchy slogan can be extremely effective and this sort of advertising campaign really does work well when teamed up with the right brand.  blowUP media recently rolled out giant poster advertising campaigns for Bacardi with their ‘We’ve Spiced Things Up a Bit’ campaign and ‘In The Beginning There Was Bulmers’ campaign for Heineken. The clever play on words in both campaigns, along with the enormous scale of their giant posters, resulted in high-impact advertising in the busiest of urban locations. Research shows that humour within advertising increases people’s attention and it also puts a smile on their face – it’s an easy way of raising people’s awareness of a particular brand.
Work alongside PR companies - What campaigns require these days are integrated branding messaging through different channels. Within the current economic climate, it’s a competitive market out there and running an advertising campaign in conjunction with a PR campaign can do wonders for brand building. A sustained and consistent message is vital for the success of any brand building exercise.  Many believe that both marketing tools can work side by side in effectively launching a brand and then ensuring its longevity and credibility.  Brand advertising alone is clearly a very effective tool, however this can most definitely be strengthened when teamed up with savvy PR.
Social Media - We live in a gadget-obsessed society and people have apps and instant access to all the major social media and networking websites, so make sure you’re on there too. When it comes to brand building, consistency is key, so ensure that your Twitter or Facebook page, for example, is consistent with any poster advertising or billboard advertising you may have also rolled out as part of that campaign.  It may sound simple but it’s a key step in brand building. If someone sees a striking image or reads a catchy slogan time and time again and in various situations (eg seeing a billboard on their journey to work or stumbling across an advertisement on YouTube) that’s sure to raise their awareness of that brand and its campaign within an extremely competitive industry.

Friday, 3 May 2013

What Makes a Big Event and How to Cope

With the summer fast approaching and a calendar full of big events, let’s consider for a moment the pressure organizers face in order to make these events a success. The question is what actually makes a big event and how do event organizers manage themselves and their staff before, during and after that event?
This summer will see a range of music and arts festivals come to the UK. Many event organizers will be starting to feel the pressure that comes hand-in-hand with organizing a large-scale event. In this tough economic climate, with organizations having their budgets and grants either taken away or slashed, it has become even harder to cope with putting on a big event. Workforce management is key to ensuring that you have the right amount of staff, doing jobs that match their specific interests or skills. With money tight, event organizers need to ensure they’re making the most of their resources and getting the most out of every single member of their workforce. Unemployment rates are still high across the whole of the UK and since many young people are struggling to find any work or relevant work experience, volunteers could become very beneficial to your event. By identifying people’s needs to gain specific skills and experiences, you could provide individuals with invaluable experience that could enhance their CVs and their future prospects. The great thing is that you could also get something in return. By building up a dedicated and skilled workforce and using comprehensive volunteer management software, you could ensure that individuals are placed within the right department for their particular skills and interests.   
This summer also sees an array of sporting events hit British shores and sport event management can be particularly challenging. With so many different factors to consider – from training grounds, accommodation, specific dietary requirements to the actual events themselves – these sorts of events can undoubtedly become problematic for even the most experienced event organizers, but they needn’t be. Be prepared and as long as you have a good relationship with all representatives from the sporting organizations and / or individuals you’re working with, all should run smoothly. Most importantly, ensure you have a dedicated workforce behind you. 
After a long, hard winter, the British public are keen to have a great summer full of memorable events, so whatever event you may be organizing, make sure you’re well prepared and organized - that way you’ll be able to enjoy running the show and reap the rewards that come with it.

Lessons Learned from London 2012

2012 was a huge year for sport in the UK and the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games will undoubtedly remain in people’s memories for many years to come. Even though both events broke boundaries in terms of their unprecedented sporting success, there were a few lessons to be learnt on an organizational level from last summer.
Who can forget the negative news headlines relating to G4S? When news broke last July that the company could not provide enough security guards for the London Olympics, there was last-minute panic to fulfil the workforce shortfall for one of the most high-profile events to grace British shores in decades. The root issue for this shortfall, it was claimed, were problems within the recruitment and deployment processes. Workforce management can be difficult at the best of times, however when the eyes of the world are on you, huge errors like that simply cannot happen.
With around 110,000 people having applied for security jobs at the London 2012 Olympic Games and 50,000 people proceeding to the interview stage, employee scheduling was always going to be a huge task for G4S. There were so many other factors to consider too, including training and security clearance for every employee. Not only was this was a massive project, it was crucial to the success of the Games.
Fortunately the government were able to step in and provide thousands of troops to fill the void left by G4S, but it was clear that the project had been massively underestimated. Identifying the exact needs and scale of this project from the very beginning, along with having the right sort of sport event management software, would have made G4S’s life far easier and saved the company a lot of embarrassment. A complex task it undoubtedly was, but better planning and the right tools could have easily assisted the process and ironed out many of the issues that occurred last summer.
Get Scheduled provides specialist software for volunteer management and workforce management for both large and small events, sporting or otherwise. The specialist software provided allows event organizers and project leaders to schedule staff and volunteers with specific skill sets and allocate appropriate tasks to them. All of this is done on one central cloud system that can be accessed remotely by all employees. One thing that organizers definitely learnt from the London 2012 Olympics is that without adequate preparation and organization, it becomes a significantly harder task to co-ordinate and deploy thousands of staff successfully without any last-minute panicking or glitches.

Five Golden Rules of Major Event Staffing

Major event staffing can be challenging, with so many varying factors needing consideration; from staffing to transport and, on occasions, VIPs. A major event has the potential to cause severe headaches for organizers but there are five golden rules that, if adhered to, should make everything run smoothly.
Preparation – Ensure you hold a meeting with your event staff in the run-up to your event and explain to them exactly what they will be doing on the day(s) of the event. There is nothing worse or more unproductive than hiring a large number of people to help you run your event and not taking advantage of the time to fully brief everyone on their roles and responsibilities. By ensuring that every member of staff is up to speed with what they are required to do, you’ll not only free up more of your time on the day but also boost staff morale and reduce the likelihood of any big errors occurring during the event.
Logistics - Having to co-ordinate and manage the different elements of a major event can be problematic for even the most experienced of event organizers.  Make sure that workforce management is a priority at your event and that everyone and everything is where it’s meant to be at the right time. The larger the event, the greater the task of trying to organize everything, so to ease the pressure on yourself, make sure that everything makes sense logistically before the event gets underway. If you are working with a large number of volunteers, invest in some volunteer management software to make your life easier.
Back up – As with any working environment, the majority of staff and volunteers at major events can be relied upon. However, as with most situations in life, there will usually be a handful of people who could let you down – whether this is by being late for a shift or even not turning up at all. Always ensure that you have adequate employee scheduling processes in place in case you ever need to call in back-up staff. It would be very frustrating to organize a great event with the most elaborate of entertainment but be let down by inadequate staffing.
Availability – As long as you’ve prepared well for your major event, the actual event itself should be relatively enjoyable. If that’s the case - as it should be – ensure you make yourself available for your staff and volunteers. It’s always nice to have face-to-face contact rather than simply hear someone’s voice over a walkie-talkie every now and again. Put a face to the voice and connect with your staff – people will instantly want to work harder and do better because it’s a far more personal way of communicating.
Appreciation – It may sound basic, but it’s surprising how many staff and volunteers tend to feel underappreciated. A simple thank you or a smile can do wonders and they cost nothing. There’s nothing worse than a division between management and the workers, so the best thing you can do is to get in there and really show them how grateful you truly are!