Choosing your location
Where are the best places to send people?
As well as easy to get to beaches, the most fun places to clean-up are often ones where people don’t normally go. Think about finding a unique part of the coastline to run your event on: this will make the experience more enjoyable for all. Once you have chosen your clean-up location, get the best map you can find of the area: this will help with planning.
It can be a big area to start with, which you can then narrow down as you plan the event. Make sure that you have thoroughly looked at the beaches/area that you will clean before the day. Check for any hazards (anything that could be dangerous) such as unstable rocks, heavy surf, strong currents, dangerous animals, important ecological areas (like bird nests or fragile sand dunes) and hazardous rubbish like broken glass, asbestos and medical waste (see ‘Health and Safety Briefing’ for images).
Plan to send older people to the more difficult areas and children to the easy ones: you can mark out how difficult areas are on the map. Also check for how much rubbish is in certain areas so that you can send enough people, vehicles and sacks to pick it all up!
Choosing your date
When is a good day for a clean-up?
The timing of your event is very important. Check when schools holidays and public holidays are. During a school day, you will often be able to have lots of students involved. On a weekend, you will usually be able to get more adult volunteers. You can also run the event over two days so as to include a school day and a weekend day and get both!
Check if any other events are planned (for example football/ soccer games or festivals) and choose your date outside of these. If you are running a large event, chose the time of the year when the weather is normally best. Always set a bad weather date as a back-up plan.
Choosing your staff
Who are the best people to help you?
Find friends, family, colleagues, classmates and visitors to help you run the event. With volunteers, always try and match people up with jobs that they like doing and are good at, but make sure that between your team you have all the jobs that need doing covered.
Set up regular meetings with the team (for example every two weeks, or every week) and check that everything is getting done on time. Make sure everyone is happy with their jobs to do and always check if they need help.
Select Team Leaders for the event. Try to find people who have led groups before and that don’t get scared when talking in front of people. You can also help people to learn how to get better at this by practicing. Photographers and filmmakers will also be useful: think about who could help with this and ask them to join in.
How will you cover the costs of the event?
Draw up a budget using a spreadsheet (eg in Excel) and make sure you note down all costs of the event, including paying for equipment and transport (see sections below). Also think about having a celebration after the clean-up with food and music for the volunteers to make it even more fun. Usually, musicians will be happy to help this great cause.
Always include a contingency (money for unexpected costs) in your budget of 10-15%.
Look for any public funds that are available.
This needs to be done with plenty of time as you will have to write the applications carefully.
- Make a list of businesses that have money, or other helpful things such as transport (like trucks or buses), food or prizes. Remember everyone loves the beach, so you can ask nearly anyone for help! Also don’t be too disappointed when people say no! You can learn from this and you will get better at asking each time.
- Try to contact the person at the business who can make decisions about money (this will usually be the boss) and ask to arrange a meeting.
- At the first meeting provide all key event information, including location, date and expected number of participants. Explain that you can promote their business through the event and that by showing their logo to lots of people, their organization will be shown to support the community and the local environment: both good things for business that will get them more customers.
- Offer to send through or – even better – present a sponsorship proposal in person.Proposals should outline:
- The date, location and name of the clean-up
- Guess how many people (this can be a range eg 50-150) and who you think they will be (eg school students, the local church, tourists and staff from businesses).
- Include exactly what you need. Is this money to cover event costs? Help with free food, transport, equipment or prizes? Or a combination?
- List out the ways that you will give them coverage. For example you can position their logo on the website, t-shirts (if you can raise money to get them made), posters and banners, as well as inviting the sponsor’s staff to participate. This is great because the community will see them working hard for a cause that everyone loves and they can promote it too!
- Suggest a timeline for the sponsor to confirm the sponsorship, making sure that it will leave you enough time to put their logos onto posters, websites and banners.
You can raise funds your own way by getting people from your team, local schools, churches or community groups to go out and ask for it. Some ideas that might work:
- Organize to sell bakery food, or have a sausage sizzle somewhere that lots of people pass through
- Make handicrafts (like jewellery, art or clothes) and sell at the markets
- Have a car-wash at the school, church or community group
- Organize a dance/disco and have people pay for tickets
Transporting people and rubbish
How will you get your volunteers to and from the coast? How will you move the rubbish? Where will you take the rubbish?
Guess how many people you think will come to the event. Make sure that you have enough transport to get people to the beaches they will clean and back. Remember that extra people might turn up on the day and make plans for this. Be sure to work out how you will remove the rubbish. Ask the municipality (local council) if they can help.
Why do this?
Data collected from coastal clean-up events provides important information on the types and quantities of rubbish impacting our coastal environment. Event results are a very powerful way to show school students, sponsors and the media the impact of your event and the extent of the problem.
How should this be done?
You can do this during the clean-up, afterwards or both. Aim to count at least 20% (one-fifth) of the total rubbish for your sample to provide an accurate sample. You can then multiply the count from your sample to get a good idea of totals.
During the clean-up.
Make sure that everyone works in teams of two: one person picking up rubbish and one person recording results on a data collection sheet with a clipboard (Print out copies of Data Collection Sheet).
After the clean-up.
Find a good facility to store the rubbish while you collect data. Get help from good volunteers and make sure you have clipboards and scales. Schools will often like to help this because it helps educate students in different areas of the curriculum (such as maths).
Weigh the bin and subtract that amount when you weigh the different types of rubbish.
Fill out all the details on the sheet and then send to: email@example.com
You will need rubbish sacks, gloves and first-aid kits in case anyone hurts themselves. Make sure you have lots of sacks and gloves because – if you promote your event well – lots of volunteers will come and help! Strong woven flour or fertilizer sacks are perfect and they can also be washed and used again next time, which will save money and create less rubbish.
You will also need scales, a bin, clipboards, empty sacks and a marker to write the categories on the empty sacks during data collection.
Promoting your event
On the Internet
Use the free event-planning tool at www.loveyourcoast.org to host and promote your event. Watch the video online for instructions. Add your location to the events map, upload event designs and photos of the coast and fill in all event details like when and where to meet and what participants should bring.
Simply create an account on the Love your Coast website and set up your event. Check out the video about creating your event online for instructions if you need them and email firstname.lastname@example.org if you need help with this.
Also create the event on Facebook and post the event (copy and paste a link to it) on Love your Coast’s Facebook Page www.facebook/loveyourcoast. This will let lots of people who love the beach know what is happening.
Getting schools on board
Invite all of the schools in the community. It is great to go to the schools and help educate the students about rubbish before the event. This helps to stop rubbish from getting to the beach in the first place. See Love your Coast Educational Presentation” for a Powerpoint slideshow you can use.
Speak to the leaders of the community (politicians, chiefs, NGOs and Government Departments) and invite them to help. Also ask them to send out the invitation to their contacts: they will have plenty.
Anyone can help, whether it is with money, telling other people about the event, other support or simply by coming to the event. Everyone loves the beach so it is usually easy to persuade people, especially if it is a big event and you have a celebration with music and food for afterwards.
Ring up or visit the local radio stations, newspapers, television, magazines and search for websites. Ask them for help in sending out a ‘Call to Action‘ message.
Sending out a ‘Call to Action’
You need to send messages out to the community so that they know when the event is happening and what to do. Put up event posters on public notice boards and ask local businesses to put them up in their stores – especially those that have a lot of people coming and going.
Make sure you say what help is needed (eg trucks, boats, sponsors, food, music and volunteers), what the date of the event is, where to meet and how to contact you so that they can offer help and ask questions.
Finalising event plans
2 to 4 weeks before the even
- Brief Team Leaders. Put your map on the table and draw up your plan of what is happening where and when.
- Prepare transport
- Give sacks and gloves to your team leaders or arrange where to leave them for each team.
- Organise the transport of people (walking, bus, cars or boats)
- Organise the transport of rubbish
- Plan to take photos and/or film the event.
- Go through the health and safety plan (see Love your Coast Health and Safety Planto help create this) and answer:
- Who is qualified at first-aid?
- Where will the first aid-kits be?
- How will the Team Leaders communicate (eg radios, mobile phones, vehicles, bike messengers or signals)?
- What shall we do if there is an emergency?
- Where is the closest doctor or hospital?
- Who do we contact for help and how?
- Make final preparations to celebrate what you have achieved. Do your best to not use too much plastic during the celebration. This way you can make an example of how people can use less at home and less will make it to the beach!Plan for:
- Facilities for everyone to wash their hands with soap
- Food for the volunteers after the clean-up
- Competitions with prizes, such as:
- Treasure hunts
- Art competitions. Think about what can you make out of the rubbish? Could you turn it into art? Could you make something and sell it? Could you have a trash-to-fashion parade?
- Story writing competitions
- Photo competitions
- Music / dancing
- Educational games and sports for school students
On the day
- Have fun! Everything should be ready to go!
- Team Leaders run health and safety briefings and make a list of everyone in their team to check at start and finish
- Hand out rubbish sacks and gloves
- Make sure that everyone has enough sacks and is safe
- Take lots of photos
- Make sure that the media (radio stations, newspapers and television) know who to contact for information on the day- this way lots of people will find out about what you have achieved and learn from it!
After the event
- If you haven’t collected data already, do this now
- Upload your photos to your event page at www.loveyourcoast.org and include a write up of the event results and how the day went
- Send your data sheets to email@example.com
- Send messages of thanks to all sponsors and helpers. You can use a link to the event page on the Love your Coast site if you are doing this by email- it will be easier!
Send them these results:
- Number of people that took part
- Weight, volume and item count of rubbish
- Any good photos from the day
- Any quotes/testimonials from participants that talk about how they enjoyed the event.
- Have a rest! You can feel very proud about what you have achieved
- Get ready to plan your next event!