In March 2017 PyLadies Melbourne (Brianna Laugher and Gala Camacho) organised a screening of Hidden Figures to align with International Women’s Day. To celebrate with a larger audience, we invited other women in tech groups in Melbourne to co-host it with us. It ended up being a huge success, with 200 people attending, and a modest fundraiser. Here’s some details about what was involved in case you are interested in organising something similar!
— Brianna Laugher
Our screening was at Cinema Nova while the movie was in general release. This is by far the easiest way to organise a group/fundraiser screening. Cinema Nova has well established group booking guidelines. You need to sell minimum 20 tickets (you will share the cinema with the general public) and they will cost you between $9.50-$12 depending on how many you sell, which you only need to finalise the day before. One downside is that you will only find out your actual screening time on the Tuesday of the week it is on. So be prepared to communicate this clearly to attendees once you find out.
We used Eventbrite to sell tickets. It was a fantastic tool that let us easily keep track of sales, correct errors if people filled out the wrong details by accident, and even manage a wait list. One of the best features was that it has an app for checking people in (by name is simplest). This lets you have multiple people checking others in and is way better than managing a checklist on a piece of paper!
We also designed and printed a flier to give to attendees, publicising the groups involved and highlighting upcoming events. This was well received and also helped identify fellow attendees on the night. The flier was designed by Quinnie Chen and captured the mood of the event perfectly.
We wrote to the organisers of other women in tech meetups, asking if they wanted to “co-host”, with the profits of ticket sales going back to their group if they wanted (attendees could nominate which group they had heard about the event through), and they could advertise it to their members as their own event, while not having to do any significant work to organise it. Remya Ramesh, who organises Ladies that UX and Girl Geek Dinners, offered to reach out to other groups and introduced us to some groups we didn’t even know existed, which was really instrumental to the event’s success. In the end we had 16 groups in total which was astounding!
For PyLadies' part, we mostly advertised the event through Facebook, where 161 people RSVPed as “Going” or “Interested”. There was much less engagement through Meetup (how we primarily organise meetups) or Twitter. Other groups made their own Meetup event, or advertised it through their newsletters.
As the event became bigger we realised it would be good to have a pre-movie social activity, but we had left it rather late and could not secure a suitable venue nearby. Instead we just took over the Nova bar and foyer, which worked pretty well.
While not a huge money-spinner, it was quite easy to organise and didn’t require up-front commitments of cash or attendee numbers.
|Ticket sales (200)||3904|
|Nova ticket costs||1900|
|Flier design and printing||558|
Of the net profit, $888.72 was paid back to 6 of the groups, and the difference was split between PyLadies and Ladies that UX (in recognition of Remya's work). This difference also included the profit from 46 attendees that nominated "Other/Not sure/Don’t know" when buying a ticket.