Public Relations Event Management, an elective course in the Graduate Diploma in Public Relations and Communications Management program, may have the most interesting “final” of any class at McGill. The class project is a 5 à 7 fundraiser titled M x MM for Moisson Montréal, the biggest food bank in Montreal, and it’s an event students have been planning over the course of the entire semester. Everything from logistics, sponsorship, communication, and finance are being planned and executed by the students, and all with a total budget of $0! One of the students in the class, Laurelyne Heimburger, interviewed her classmate, Sada Reddy, about the project to uncover what the event is about, why event planning is such an important skills, and why this specific event is particularly special.
Why are events important in communications and PR?
Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their audiences, or “publics”. Event planning is one tool in the PR professional's toolbox that helps establish the channel of communication between these groups and for that reason, one of our class objectives is learning to impart to us the skills to manage an event as part of a broader PR and communications strategy.
What's in store for the event?
M x MM will be 5 à 7 style fundraiser and great networking opportunity for existing students and alumni. The event runs from 5 to 8pm on Friday, November 23 at Stingray’s head office at 99 Prince Street in the Griffintown borough of Montréal. This will not be your traditional 5 à 7, however.Beer and wine will be served, but we will also have delicious nibbles, dessert, a kombucha tasting bar sponsored by Y Kombucha, entertainment, and a silent auction with amazing items like Lacoste handbags and YMCA memberships to support Moisson Montréal. Most importantly, we’ll have a really interesting crowd of both students and non-students from diverse backgrounds.
Why Moisson Montreal?
One of the criteria our professor set for the event was that it had to be a fundraiser. In discussing different charities to support, we learned that the Project Manager for Campaigns and Events for Moisson Montreal was a student in our class. From him we learned about the organization, its mission and the various resources that Moisson Montréal could provide, such as credit card processing, a ready-built website for donations, as well as other infrastructure items. With all this in mind the decision was easy – we could support a great cause with all the necessary resources in place.
What is Moisson Montréal?
Moisson Montréal is a registered charitable organisation that gathers food donations and basic products year-round and distributes them free of charge to community organizations on the Island of Montreal. They are the largest food bank in Canada distributing food items.
In the search for a venue, we looked at places on campus, including restaurants, bars and other places, but, for the most part, these were out of our price range. Remember, we started with a budget of $0. We realized we needed to think out of the box. One of our classmates mentioned that she does concert programming for Stingray, which is headquartered in Montreal. This world-leading provider of music and video services, as well as digital experiences for pay TV companies, businesses, mobile operators, and consumers happened to have an empty floor in their building with a beautiful view of Montreal that they used for meetings, yoga classes, and other small events. Best of all, Moisson Montréal is already a charity they support. Our classmate asked, and Stingray joined us as an official sponsor of MxMM.
What have you learned through this activity?
I learned the power and the importance of the network. Our class could not have planned such an amazing event without each member digging into their own web of contacts and coming up with entertainers, sponsors, donors, and all the other elements and resources that are going to make this event a success.
Everyone is invited - this is not a student only event. We are asking guests to register for the event with a $10 or $20 (or more) donation to Moisson Montréal. Information can be found on our M x MM Facebook event page or at https://www.imakeanonlinedonation.org/moissonmontreal/MCGILL. Anyone who registers before Friday, November 19 will be entered in a draw to win a free month at Moksha/Modo Yoga and everyone who registers before November 22 will be entered in a number of raffles at M x MM.
I know the whole PR Event Management team looks forward to seeing you on the 23rd!