Building a community of professionals to empower social entrepreneurs.
A COLLABORATION TO MAKE AN IMPACT
#Let’sTransform is a new event that brings diverse New York professionals to explore how they can empower social entrepreneurs in conflict regions, and how to build a community here to support them.
The event is organized by the Young Leadership Committee of the international organization Seeds of Peace. Led by Ramy Nagy, along with two event co-chairs Sana Amanat and Stephanie Rivkin, the team collaborated with the Seeds of Peace staff, volunteers and MADEO team to produce a unique experience in New York to support the organization’s global work.
We wanted to share the five main highlights from the project that could be helpful to other people approaching a similar challenge.
CREATING A BRAND
Seeds of Peace does incredible work around the world. So, we set a goal for designing a flexible and clear framework for exploring these stories.
It became about three phases of “transformation”: individuals, communities and larger conflicts.
THE EVENT WEBSITE
A huge challenge with creating a new kind of event is getting people to register, which makes designing the event’s website a crucial step for moving people towards action.
“People are not purchasing something, so we thought why not make it about their support?”
Pricing tickets for events is quite challenging, especially when it is a new kind of event. With Transform the team took some bold risks and replaced tickets with donations, betting that the total outcome would be better, and it worked.
Guests were invited to donate in order to register, regardless of the amount. Some people donated $10, but it also opened opportunities for some to contribute over $500. The event was “sold out” and raised more than it would have with set prices.
PICKING THE RIGHT VENUE
It could be our bias as designers that we are in love with the School of Visual Arts theater, but there is a good reason why it was the top choice for this experience. Aside from the iconic facade designed by Milton Glaser, the SVA brand itself is about transforming cultures and cities by design.
It’s an iconic landmark in the heart of New York City and the animated marquee set the stage for the experience from the moment people saw it a block away.
SETTING THE STAGE
With guests seated in a dark theater, the experience design becomes entirely about what happens on the stage. This stage had no DJs, no band, no entertainment, nothing to excuse the stage time of the story, and that in itself was a gamble.
In planning an experience to engage people with a charity or a cause, you are challenged with different audiences. There are people coming through the door for the first time and others who are long time supporters. How do you make the event interesting and relevant to both? At Transform the team took bold risks by believing entirely in the speakers and not excusing their stage time with other entertainment that typically takes center stage and becomes the focal point of the program. The stories became the benchmark for engaging all audiences, from start to finish.
With such focus, the team can dedicate all their energy to create compelling stories.
Without over producing genuine stories, it’s absolutely critical that every moment in a talk resonates with people. This can happen with images and videos that bring these moments to life.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT
The interactions that happen after the event are more important than the event itself. It’s after the event that people take action towards a purpose.
When the stage lights went on, guests flowed to a lounge area where the conversations opened about what they can do to transform their communities and how they could play a role in transforming conflicts. The interactions continued online with the hashtag, and offline with markers, cork boards and small circle conversations.
The guests moved from being audience members to being part of a community that is working towards empowering social entrepreneurs in conflict regions. And, if they chose to, they were able to start taking actions by signing up as members to the Young Leadership Committee.