• Billie Samuel in Bicycle Race with Purpose

Purpose Driven Events – Why they could help you and your cause

There are many different types of live events happening every month across the UK. With an estimated 1.3 million business events and over 7000 major outdoor events ranging from charity fundraisers to music festivals, events are as popular and important as ever.

One of the latest event trends to emerge is for purpose driven events. In this article, we’ll unpack the what, why, where and how of this new event type. This article will also help you to decide if a purpose driven event is right for you.

What is a purpose driven event?

A purpose driven event is an event that is organised and run with a non-commercial mindset. Unlike other events that are designed and set up to ultimately make money or improve business relationships, purpose driven events focus on empowering communities, promoting positive messages and educating groups of people on a particular subject.

The name of this type of event has its roots in the business term ‘purpose driven’. In this case ‘purpose driven’ refers to conducting business operations in line with the companies’ values and ethics. These values are usually related to improving the lives of individuals as well as the overall health of the planet.

How is a purpose driven event different to other events?

Now that we know the premise behind a purpose driven event, let’s consider how it differs from other event types. What unique characteristics does a purpose driven event have?

Purpose driven events are more about a ‘state of mind’. The focus is not on achieving commercial targets and the KPIs look very different from a commercially-minded event.

A successful purpose drive event could be judged on the following:

  • Amount of event attendees
  • Post-event feedback
  • Increase in conversations
  • Increased engagement with the topics covered
  • Uptake of a particular programme
  • Sign-ups or subscriptions to your email newsletter
  • Downloads or views of post-event resources
  • Increased numbers of followers on social media channels


What’s the difference between purpose and cause driven events?

Cause driven and purpose driven events are often seen as the same thing. There is a lot of confusion out there around how they actually differ from each other.

At first glance, the two seem identical. Both are non-commercial and are typically set-up to address a common problem. However, there are several subtle differences. Put simply, the answer lies in the meaning of the words themselves. A cause focuses on drawing attention to a problem. The cause is the problem or challenge itself. A purpose is the solution to that problem. A purpose is rooted in a desire to find an answer.


An example of a cause driven event is a fundraising dinner to increase donations to a charity.

An example of a purpose driven event is an open community meeting where a new recycling initiative is introduced.


A purpose driven event still crosses over with other types of events, many of which we have created expert guides around. If you’re looking for some support then check out the following:


What is the ‘purpose’ of your event?

Identifying your purpose can be quite difficult but it starts with asking yourself ‘why?’ Understanding the reason for your event is really important as it will naturally guide you on the type and format of your event. This ‘why’ question along with some others will help you decide if a purpose driven event is the right type of event for you.

  • Why do you want to run an event?
  • What’s your cause? (This fuels your purpose)
  • Do you have a solution?
  • What do you want to achieve by running an event?

Remember, a cause is something that you are campaigning on behalf of, raising money for or drawing attention to. A purpose is the solution to a cause. So, a purpose driven event helps your cause if it’s designed to find or introduce a solution.

Your ‘why’ could be:

  • Educating school pupils about sexual health
  • Providing flu vaccinations to young mothers
  • Giving free marketing advice to local charities
  • Announcing the launch of a new housing scheme for low income families


How to fund a purpose driven event – sponsorship opportunities

Funding a purpose driven event is much like funding any other. The best way to fund it is through sponsorship and ideally one that ties in with your purpose.

Finding partners, businesses, and organisations that are related to your purpose in some way will help secure sponsorship deals for your event. This is because they will already be ethically invested in your ‘why’. Your event will be a great opportunity for your sponsors to get brand exposure to an engaged audience.

Relevant sponsors will strengthen your purpose driven event through funding but could also link members of your audience with other organisations they might be interested in.

Find out more about how to use sponsorship to fund your event in our event sponsorship guide.


Where should I hold my purpose driven event?

Choosing a venue for your purpose driven event is an opportunity to match the purpose to an appropriate location. Where your event is held can further enhance the experience for attendees. If it’s also highly relevant to your purpose it can increase the impact of your event.

You should consider factors such as:

  • Where your audience spends time/can be found
  • The number of people that might attend your event
  • Should it be inside or outside
  • Flexible locations where fixtures can be moved to suit the event type
  • Whether you need equipment such as lights, a/v, a sound system, stage etc

Are you looking for an event venue in central London? 20 Bedford Way could be perfect for your purpose driven event. We have highly affordable rates, good evening and weekend availability including our 910-seater theatre Logan Hall.

Who to invite to your purpose driven event?

Your event attendees will depend on who the event is aimed at. You might already have a mailing list of consenting recipients, a class full of pupils or a group of people that already meet regularly.

The first step is to identify who you want to invite to your event. In most cases you will be targeting communities or groups of people that care about the cause or are affected by it. They will be attracted by the central purpose that your event is all about.

Once you have identified who your audience is, spend some time learning about how to reach them, either online, through print media or in-person.

We have written several articles about how to reach your target audiences using online platforms and tools. Here are a few that might be helpful:


Purpose driven event structures – what should happen at my event

The structure of your event will depend entirely on what the purpose of the event is. Bearing that in mind, it’s important to be flexible and reactive to the needs of your attendees. Understanding their needs will help you to choose the right activities and features to include in your event.

A popular event format that could work for a purpose driven event is the Unconference event. This format allows attendees to set the event agenda and host their own sessions. Unconferences can be a more relevant, engaging, and interactive event format, offering free form expression of ideas and space for fluid topical conversations.

Following a standard structure for your event programme might not be the best way to communicate a message to your audience.

Your aim should be to help your attendees further their efforts to help the cause. In doing so, you will help them to define their purpose. Set up the programme and features of your event to try and meet that goal. You could include:

  • Authoritative speakers
  • Small group discussion times
  • Workshops
  • Q&A’s with experts
  • Demonstrations


Purpose Driven Event Venue London – 20 Bedford Way

Looking for a venue to hire for your purpose driven event in central London? Arrange to take a look at our wide variety of affordable spaces and excellent facilities. Our dedicated events team are happy to discuss how they can make your next event the best yet. We are affordable and located in Bloomsbury with unrivalled transport connections. Call us today on 020 7612 6143 or email us to find out more about our flexible event venue at 20 Bedford Way.


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