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Putting the fun back in funding

Image credit: Unsplash

Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve talked about the importance of putting your idea for a participant-led gathering through the CUT test – i.e. is it Complex in nature, needs addressing Urgently and is there an underlying Tension among its stakeholders? If the answer is yes, you’ll not only find willing participants (who’ll show up with mics on, cameras on, energy on), but also willing partners who want to support you in financing your idea.

It makes good business sense to be associated with a problem-solving platform.

I mention this because I’ve often seen (and worked in) organisations who shy away from hosting really important gatherings simply because they can’t afford to. But that’s only because of an assumption that they have to find the budget for it internally - going cap in hand to finance or procurement. It doesn’t have to be that way.

If you first understand, then properly communicate, the value of your gathering such that potential partners can’t help but see the benefit in being a part of it, they’ll happily jump onboard. Not in some kitsch ‘slap a logo on a welcome slide’ way, but in a way that signifies true industry partnership and leadership. You’ll be surprised how many are looking for something worthwhile to be a part of - especially in these times. Make it a no-brainer.

The added value in hosting a problem-solving industry gathering as a collective is that there’s early buy-in, and excitement, around what you’re planning. There’s shared interest in seeing the platform succeed, and you’ve now got access to your partners’ networks, and their vested interest in smashing this out of the park. As the old African proverb goes, “If you want to go fast, go alone; but if you want to go far, go together”.

This was my personal experience when we launched Gas Fest in 2017 (feels like a lifetime ago) and it continues today, in its virtual form, to attract smart industry players who realise we won’t solve our problems by sitting passively in webinars; flashing logos on screens. This community purposefully and intentionally commits to gathering in a (now) virtual safe space; figuring out environmentally and commercially viable solutions to shipping’s decarbonisation goals. (Oh, and we do love an in-person gathering in a surprising location that brings us together over long but fun days and equally fun family-style evenings.)

Marketing and selling to each other at business events is so 2019. It’s boring, uninspiring and ineffective.

Last but not least, now that we’re operating predominantly online, the barrier for getting a few invested parties together to tackle a challenge is lower than ever – both financially and practically – so it’s a good time to think up those industry-wide problems you’ve always wanted to have a crack at. Who knows, once you’ve had a few rounds online, you might find yourself with a passionate and engaged community ready to meet in person, when we can do that again.

Uncommon Conferences supports clients with sourcing funding and partnerships for virtual and in-person gatherings - you don’t have to do it alone. Just like you don’t have to (and likely can’t) solve your community or industry’s challenges on your own.


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