Establishing aims and objectives

Page updated on: 09/08/2023

Having a very clear set of aims and objectives for your event in terms of what it is to achieve is critical for a host of reasons. It is essential that the aims and objectives of your event are defined and agreed at the outset, although they may also be developed and refined as the project progresses.

Aims relate to the overall intent, strategic direction and purpose of your event i.e. the primary motivations. Objectives are essentially aims broken down into specific targets, to facilitate event delivery and evaluation.

Events can deliver beneficial impacts and outcomes both for the organisers and the host community, in addition to other stakeholders such as participants, spectators, sponsors and the media. These different groups should be borne in mind when developing and planning events to maximise positive benefits arising from the event, which will in turn facilitate stakeholder support.

One approach to setting aims and objectives is to consider the potential impacts that the event could or should have and use these as a starting point for developing event specific aims.

Setting event objectives

Once the overall aims of the event have been established you can then move onto setting objectives. These should be set in relation to the different areas of the event e.g. financial objectives, marketing objectives, participation, etc. Objectives are important as they provide benchmarks and targets to aim for and performance indicators, which facilitate monitoring and measures for feedback and evaluation.

To enable this, objectives should conform to the SMART acronym;

  • Specific to areas of the event.
  • Measurable quantitatively i.e. through numbers.
  • Agreed / achievable by organisers and those assigned the tasks.
  • Relevant to the overall aims of the event.
  • Timed within the event schedule.

Some examples of SMART objectives:

  • Distribute a questionnaire to all local businesses in the town 6 months prior to the event
  • Online ticketing to generate £X in revenue one month prior to the event
  • Increase visitor numbers from outside of the County by 10% in comparison to last year.
  • Recycle 80% of event waste
  • Increase the utilisation of park and ride facilities by 20%

All of the above examples are specific to a certain area of the event, activity or group of people. There is an element that can be measured to assess if the objective has been achieved and there is a timeline associated with the objective to enable the achievement to be assessed.

Environmental aims could encompass;

  • Regeneration – urban and rural
  • New infrastructure and community facilities
  • Focus on good environmental practice – in energy use and recycling
  • New planting and development of green spaces
  • Creating awareness of environmental issues

Social and cultural aims could encompass;

  • Increase awareness of a venue, occasion, tradition, cultural and art forms, history, area, special interest groups
  • Building community pride and social cohesion
  • Validation of community groups and issues
  • Increased community participation
  • Introducing new and challenging ideas
  • Expanding cultural perspectives
  • Education, training and volunteering programmes

Tourism and economic aims could encompass;

  • Destination promotion and improving Carmarthenshire’s brand image
  • Increasing tourist visits and extend length of stay
  • Extending length of peak tourist season, attracting tourists out of peak season
  • Increasing business opportunities and commercial activity
  • Job creation and economic investment
  • Media coverage and promotion of the village, town and/or County
  • Promoting local food and drink suppliers
  • Showcasing local arts and crafts