Paperless meetings… possible?

As it has been clear throughout, we planned EventCamp with sustainability front of mind. Is it possible to plan an event with (almost) no paper? YES!

The paper we printed and the places we saved are below

ECV11 green

A game checkpoint

* one sign – used for the commercial and at registration.  The Bell technology in house at the Vancouver Convention Centre allowed us to provide an incredible amount of information without using any paper

* all the registration was electronic – no paper (all the marketing was electronic too!)

* we had three handouts – these were the only on-site items printed – 280 sheets total

* there were a few game checkpoint signs produced by the venues – many of the tasks were over the app though

* the session signage for the design Genius Bars were done on plantable seed paper – and the paper was sent home with one of the techs who has a daycare in their home for the kids to plant

* the planning for all the elements was done through email, limited meetings, skype and phone  calls – all limiting carbon footprints as well as meeting notes / agendas etc.

* the post event information will all be via this blog – again, very friendly

* we used old name badge stock not used at previous events, and corn based plastic holders, also leftovers from a previous event (Bonus – most people brought their own lanyards)

* the app, the game and the structure of the meeting taking place in predefined spaces meant also that we had no printed program

So can we have no paper? Probably not – but we can cut it immensely and we urge you to rethink too.


Food fit for Circus Camp

At the beginning of the planning process for EventCamp Vancouver, Culinary Capers came on board to serve up delicious fare for our Saturday night event at the Underground Circus rehearsal space. This was to be an evening where “Fear is Just a Word” and where we could play with our food as well as the apparatus.   It was also important for us to stay with the sustainability we had woven through the balance of EventCamp Vancouver, and Culinary Capers is a major proponent of using local, fresh, seasonal ingredients, and in constantly innovating and reinventing food presentation, and they definitely delivered!

Culinary Capers cream puffs

The Cream Puff Cart ready for action

ECV11 Saturday Evening Menu is here for your perusal and enjoyment.  We thought it was fabulous – every single bite!

Then there was the circus – and what a lot of fun this was.  Campers could climb the skyladder, take a turn on the triceau, watch performances including crazy contortion, learn how to fall, talk to the owners of Culinary Capers Vancouver and Beijing via Skype, have a chat with a California green event planner, Joella of Mumtaz Events who kindly joined into the party, make a shadow in the shadow box, swing around on any of the moving platforms hung at sitting level, and enjoy simply fantastic food with a glass of wine poured by a wine fairy.  This was a night unlike any other experience that our guests had participated in – and one that won rave reviews.  We are still grateful to Peter, Ninon and the acrobats for welcoming us and making this a simply great party!

Corinne Kessel Climbs

Corinne Kessel of Greenscape Decor is up the ladder!

Underground Circus contortion

Not to be tried at home!

Challenges & Solutions – Small Business

On Saturday morning we deep dove into challenges the industry in general and the people in the room needed to address.  You can watch here, and the recap is below.

(the full catalog of sessions is here)


Our industry is full of small businesses, often collaborating, often on their own to deal with challenges. This session saw more than 15 small business owners enjoying a frank discussion with others in similar positions about where we are now and how we can move forward together.

Challenge or Problem Discussed Solutions Discussed
IT Challenges – Not enough time to up-keep systems – Not enough time to train all staff on systems and properly implement systems –  Expense of adding systems and then up-keeping exorbitant –  How to hand learning from person to person year to year – Breakdown challenge of tech and information to CHAMPIONS.  Have individuals hold small detailed elements of information rather than everyone knowing everything – Work collaboratively with other business’ to share resources – eg:  share a tech or IT guy –
Value Challenges –  How do we differentiate ourselves in an ever increasingly competitive market place where companies are overlapping in skill sets – Timelines shrinking so lowest common denominator thinking and acting takes hold –  Ideas migrate and become same – market ever fickle – Focus business on relationships and building relationships –  Increased competition almost means you need to work MORE closely with competitors.  Share knowledge of marketplace and plan strategically.  Share resources at cross over points
– Differentiation of Small business’ vs independent operators.  Ie: challenges of business’ with 5 – 10 employees are very different from those with 1 or 2. – Smaller companies can pick and choose.  Can focus on being more specialized.  Don’t have to do RFP’s – Larger small business’ with larger overhead are forced to go after and scramble for more work.

69 Event Marketing Ideas

Collected by Shawn Cheng

EventCamp Vancouver challenges

Collaboration in Action

One of the sessions during EventCamp Vancouver was focused on the challenges currently being faced by Event and Meeting Planners and on finding solutions to these.  Shawn collected these on behalf of his Collaborative Group to share with all of us to learn from.  (and they didn’t even mention a great commercial!)

Marketing Ideas we come up about attracting people to your conference/events:

  1. Email Blasts x3
  2. Website x4
  3. Word of mouth x 6
  4. Social media x3
  5. Social Media: Create an event Facebook page x5
  6. Have speaker tweet/ Facebook the event
  7. Facebook sharing
  8. Blog
  9. Social Media: Linkedin x2
  10. Social Media: Tweets x3
  11. Posters x4
  12. Post Card
  13. Flyers in mail
  14. Media (press release) x5
  15. Partner promotion
  16. Work-related Education/ Training
  17. Promote at events that has related interesting
  18. Groupon Offers to event
  19. Ensure your message is clear x2
  20. Check rates, venue consignations
  21. Be clear about your target audience x4
  22. Email notification & reminder x2
  23. Have interesting speakers or topic that can attract people
  24. School (university) x3
  25. Community x3
  26. Promoted at venue’s website
  27. Website: Evites
  28. Website: Eveentbrite
  29. Promoted at Shopping Mall
  30. Promoted at related association’s website
  31. Local community centres
  32. Media: Radio x2
  33. Cross Market w/ partners’ website
  34. Promoted at Grocery store
  35. TV commercial x2
  36. Facebook event invite x2
  37. Internet
  38. Signage
  39. Direct invitation mail x2
  40. Follow people with interesting related to the event topic
  41. Go to event held year prior to promote your event and create excitement x2
  42. E-Distribute a video/post at YouTube…unique invitation x2
  43. Celebrity endorsement
  44. Referrals source
  45. Testimonial
  46. Web presence (site) with event info
  47. Endorsement by industry expert
  48. Share photos in the social media
  49. Special interest group/event
  50. Advertise (trade papers)
  51. Play game x2
  52. Tell all your friends/family x4
  53. Family participants
  54. Education
  55. Location
  56. Networking
  57. Industry association
  58. Gamification x2
  59. Sponsors x2
  60. Know your audience
  61. Create relevant contents and share to people
  62. Open discussion on social media
  63. Send s note to all author on topic
  64. Have great ideas and people would come
  65. Web link on all commercial
  66. QR code
  67. Include brand/ topic ppl are familiar with event topic
  68. Sell items
  69. Hard copy invitation to attendee database

Sparks Session Recap – CSR

Corporate Social Responsibility:  Being more than “green”

By Katie Schaeffers

November 13, 2011

I had the pleasure of collaborating with Elizabeth Henderson (@ehenderson) at Event Camp Vancouver over the course of two “sparks” sessions focusing on Corporate Social Responsibility.  In two 45-minute sessions we uncovered various ways our colleagues in the events industry were defining, implementing, and forming corporate culture around CSR.  We also realized that CSR is about much more than simply being green. In many ways, our key takeaways over two sessions were just the beginning of an infinitely connected puzzle.  What we highlighted repeatedly was the need for constant discussion around and evaluation of best practices.  Top takeaways:

  1. The Triple Bottom Line. Corporate social responsibility is about much more than being green.  We must take into consideration people, planet, and profit.
  1. CSR can inform multiple touch points in your event planning.  Consider sustainable menu choices, use of LED lighting, donating conference swag to local schools and/or engaging your community in your labor force through such organizations as Starworks (
  1. Reverse Logistics.  Sustainable planning requires dedicated human and financial resources.
  1. What is the ethical obligation?  Do event professionals have an obligation to employ sustainable practices, even if their clients do not wish to incorporate “green” elements into their events, or perhaps do not have the financial bandwidth to support these elements?  The resounding answer was YES WE DO!
  1. Corporate culture vs corporate checklist.   CSR must be “a way of doing business” as opposed to just a checklist.  Company leaders should instill this in their teams.
  1. Regulation and Standards.  Some of us questioned the guiding principles and regulation around CSR.  Elizabeth shared some great resources such as:
    1. The APEX ASTM Environmentally Sustainable Meeting Standards
    2. ISO20121
  1. Education.  Event professionals can educate their clients and in turn educate the wider public through event that employ sustainable and green practices.
  1. Sharing Resources.  How do we share resources both locally and nationally?  We identified a need for a sharing tool or technology so we can share best practices and resources.  In the words of Glenn Thayer:  “will you take that on?”.  This was our core action item from the culmination of our session.  We would love to hear your thoughts on how something like this could be implemented.

A big thank you to Elizabeth and all of the participants in this important and very encouraging dialogue.  As event professionals we can be leaders in the education around sustainability and corporate social responsibility.

Sharing Links – Brain Friendly Learning

At the same time as EventCamp Vancouver was taking place, EventCamp DC was also happening. Here is a great blog post following that event that looks at brain friendly learning.  For those of you with us in Vancouver, you briefly saw brain expert Andrea Sullivan present with Chef Blair Rasmussen on the brain friendly food we incorporated into Vancouver. Having had the opportunity to experience some of the tips included in this great post, I think many of you who joined us in Vancouver would agree, we did have a brain friendly meeting!  Check out this great recap of tips from @brainstrength as encapsulated by EventProv’s @jenisefryatt below.

We would love to hear your comments on how you think we did in Vancouver on using these principles.


Environment built for learning

Sustainable SWAG Part 2

We were so fortunate to have so many partners and collaborators who have sustainability as a key tenet of their business.  In addition to Patterson Brands supplying us with water bottles, we also ran a game to engage participants in easy ways to make their events greener and Heidi Thorne generously donated copies of her book (below) to both the on-site camper and the remote camper with the most points at the end of Camp!  This is a great resource for those who continue to seek alternatives.

The term “swag” (an acronym for Souvenirs, Wearables, Awards & Gifts) refers to any promotional product that has a logo, message, tagline or some form of personalization on it, usually with the intent of advertising a business, event, team, person or cause.

Swag is generally easy to buy. And it’s easy to make mistakes when buying. But those mistakes can be costly, not just in terms of dollars, but in terms of your image and brand. So SWAG: How to Choose and Use Promotional Products for Marketing Your Business shows you how to buy it right using the Promo With Purpose concept!

Inside you’ll discover…

* 3 Ways Cheap Promotional Products Can be the Most Expensive

* Why Retail Products Cannot be Decorated

* Why You Don’t Always Need Something Different

* How Non Profits Can Avoid a PR Nightmare

* The Number One Promotional Product Mistake Restaurants Make

* 5 Ways to Ditch Promotional Product Thieves at Tradeshows

* When Ecofriendly Promo Doesn’t Work

* Understanding the Buying Process

* What is Good Artwork for Imprinting?

* How to Imprint QR Codes

* 7 Things You Need to Know When Ordering T-Shirts

* 4 Tips for Handling Rush Orders

* What is the Shelf Life for Swag?

Check it out! Thanks Heidi!