Senior Care

The Journey of Aagaaz: Senior Citizens Engagement Event

How it started, the beginning?

What started as an after office discussion between two friends one evening, soon turned out to be a breathing idea on paper with a life of it’s own which later realized it’s envisioned avatar as Aagaaz, senior citizens engagement event.

The Idea

It was a regular evening after office when a discussion about the issue of much lesser engagement opportunities present for senior citizens got kindled, inspired by a personal experience I’d a couple of months back, and the idea of organizing an engagement and networking event for senior citizens came into my mind.

It was a regular evening after office when a discussion about the issue of much lesser engagement opportunities present for senior citizens got kindled, inspired by a personal experience I’d a couple of months back, and the idea of organizing an engagement and networking event for senior citizens came into my mind.

On the Look-out for venue

And a couple of weeks later, there I was standing with an application in my hand explaining about the event, what it aims to do, how will it be helpful in creating a community of seniors, and requesting signatures from the people of my society showing their support for the cause. A couple of days, while talking with the manager of our society gym over something I randomly told him about my idea of doing a senior engagement event for the senior citizen of our society and he liked the idea very much. Apparently, it was him who told me about me that we could get the community hall for the event if we get enough support from the society members who also think that it’s a great initiative!

Formation of the core team

Well, after a little hustle and bustle we, me and my flatmate Ayushi, who also happened to be my first partner in crime, managed to get that approved and the community hall was booked! Event venue, check. First milestone achieved! Next, we needed a team to pull this event off. A group of enthusiastic people who believed in the cause as much as me and Ayushi did. Just like that our hunt for a goodhearted, committed bunch of people began. As we discussed on it, I did had a few folks in my mind, again my gym buddies from the gym. By this time we had started to spread the message out there that we are planning a senior engagement event in the society and also reached out to folks to join the event. We got the support we were looking and individuals joining the team from diverse background and a unique story of their own, how they associated with the cause. But the why, for all of them remained the same i.e. we as a society should unite and work towards developing a senior community to create an opportunity for them to interact, engage, showcase their talents and network. These individuals because the solid pillars forming the core team of Aagaaz and very close friends sharing a special bond with one another in the times to come.

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Now that we had a venue, a date and a solid core team in place, our next step was to lookout for funding for the event. Since it was a community event. Now that was an altogether a different ball game, to seek and get a funding good enough to do a community building event like this. As you know, when funds come in picture and especially when you seek to go for business sponsorships, you got to identify how the business will fit into this picture and can benefit from it. It took a lot of time to finalise the sponsorship prospectus and other related documents to get our value proposition ready before we started to look out for sponsorships.

When you seek to go for business sponsorships, you got to identify how the business will fit into this picture and can benefit from it.

A few important points we learnt from yhe entire sponsorship/ fund collection exercise are:

  • Seeking sponsorships is going to be the most difficult stage compared to any other stage when organizing an event.
  • Needless to say, it is going to time consuming. Very time consuming. Since you’ll have to reach out to many (I mean MANY) businesses, before you get a yes. Especially if it’s a small to mid-sized event with a niche audience as ours. So this part should be planned and put into action way before than when we started to THINK about it. In fact, it should be the first thing you should think of, and start working upon parallely along with other activities, right after you got the idea and have a strong validation backing it up.
  • Make a list of businesses that have a direct audience of your event as their customers or clients and approach only them. There is no point in striking your arrows in air without any goal. The offering (which in our case was senior engagement event with a good crowd of senior citizen from our society) and the set of businesses who can benefit from it should be very crystal clear.
  • When pitching your idea, you should very clearly and boldly highlight how the business will value from it. For this to happen, layout the value proposition for the business/ per industry (as it may vary industry to industry) and position it clearly right after you tell your idea. Your pitch has to be complete without missing any important details yet succinct to not loose the interest of the business person.
  • Follow-ups! Yes follow-ups matter. You have to be persistent enough to keep them engaged and educated about what it is that you have to offer, how it helpful for them and how is it uniquely valuable to them. Because no business is going to give you money or invest in you unless they see a real value in it for them.

With those and several other lessons learnt, we had managed to get funds just enough to pull off the event. To amount we were able to collect was just at a break even, which was also the amount much less than what we had expected to collect. But given it was our first event, it’s wise to say that it was a lesson learnt. A big one 🙂

Arrangements for the big day

Next, all the planned logistics were fine-tunned and calibrated to fit-in our event budgets and all the bookings were made including the advertisements, invitation, performance rehearsals, catering, venue decorations, prizes for the competitions, return gifts, felicitations to the performers and certificates for the participants and volunteers etc.

The event day

Saying that it was a dream coming true, wouldn’t be wrong at all. It truly was. This event taught us many things both on a personal as well as on a professional level that will remain with us for the rest of our lives. But the most cherished achievement of all is and will be their smiles and laughter and seeing them thoroughly enjoying the event to the fullest. And the blessings that they gave us as bid a farewell was the felicitation of our efforts and how much it meant to them.

On an ending note

Aagaaz might have gotten over but its spirit stays and will continue to live on as we will keep working towards creating more of these interesting senior citizens engagement and networking activities in the coming months. With that said, I’m now going to out my virtual pen down and wish you a very Happy New Year  2020! May the new year brings us all joy, happiness, well being, good health and wealth. Cheers!