Are you ‘purpose-driven’? A buzzword for 2018, the term is used to describe organisations that aim to do more than simply generate profits.

Effecting social change is no longer the preserve of non-profits – it’s something organisations of all types can get involved with. Having a mission can help brands connect with their customers more authentically, enabling them to bond over common interests.

And according to Eventbrite’s 2018 Pulse Report, live events are increasingly being used to bring people together in this way – the number one reason for organising events now is community building.

If you want to start a movement, events are the most powerful medium to mobilise people. Here we take a look at five purpose-driven events, organised to unite attendees in a common cause.

1.SharkFest 2018

SharkFest is the UK’s first festival for sharks and rays. It’s organised by Fin Fighters, an ambitious new shark conservation organisation. Its mission is to protect sharks worldwide and end the sale and distribution of shark fin in the UK by the year 2023.

“We are creating an extraordinary growing movement of ordinary people working together to make a difference,” says Fin Fighters. “Our objective is to mobilise and empower local communities, citizen scientists and campaign groups to end the destruction of habitat and species in the world’s oceans; through science, education, conservation and action.”

The festival, held in Bristol in May, featured talks by scientists, divers, surfers, conservationists and filmmakers. Topics included ‘Creating change for our oceans – plastic-free coastlines’ and ‘Swimming with Earth’s largest fish.’

There was also an exhibitors’ zone, children’s activities, workshops and film screenings, and exclusive SharkFest merchandise was available for purchase. As the event promoted environmental conservation, attendees were asked to come with their own reusable bags, cups and bottles.

Credit: Fin Fighters

2.PlantBased Live

PlantBased Live is a new show from the publishers of PlantBased magazine. Launching in September at London ExCeL, it sets out to educate people about a plant-based diet and lifestyle.

“PlantBased live is out to educate, entice and enlighten all types of visitors. From fully-fledged vegans to flexitarians, the show’s main aim is to simplify veganism and show how easy it is to cook and live a plant-based life,” say the organisers of PlantBased Live.

The event will include two days of fun, learning and discovery with appearances by some of the UK’s leading vegan experts to deliver the facts about living a healthy life, free from animal-derived products.

Joining the line-up of presenters at PlantBased Live is Master Chef of Great Britain Paul Da Costa Greaves, sharing his insights on, ‘Health, wellbeing and effectiveness through plant-based cooking’, alongside popular vegan bloggers like Princess of the Unicorns and Soph Gordon.

In addition to talks and demonstrations, there will be hands-on workshops and plenty of tasting and purchasing opportunities with more than 150 exhibitors. PlantBased Live is billed as the perfect introduction to plant-based living, for meat-reducers and flexitarians, as well as committed vegans.

Credit: PlantBased Live

3.The Trust Conference

The Trust Conference is a great example of a corporate organisation using its might to spearhead an important cause. Organised by the charitable arm of the global news and information provider Thomson Reuters, the event seeks to find real solutions to fight modern slavery, empower women, and advance human rights worldwide.

It was founded six years ago by Thomson Reuters Foundation CEO Monique Villa and has become the world’s leading forum for bringing together global business leaders, government representatives, lawyers, pioneers and advocates in the field of human rights and anti-slavery.

The 2017 annual event attracted 700 participants from 65 countries and succeeded in reaching 65 million people worldwide through extensive media coverage and highly interactive social media engagement.

Speakers at The 2018 Trust Conference, being held in London in November, include artist Anish Kapoor, human rights defender Maryam Al-Khawaja, Nobel Peace Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi and Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan.

According to the Thomson Reuters Foundation: “Using the skills, values and expertise of Thomson Reuters, the Foundation runs programmes including free legal assistance, media development and in-depth coverage of the world’s under-reported stories. The Foundation works to expose corruption worldwide and is active in the global fight against human trafficking.”

Credit: Thomson Reuters Foundation

4.The Big Bang Fair

The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Fair aimed to bring science and engineering to life for young people. Held in March at Birmingham NEC, the event welcomed almost 80,000 visitors over four days for STEM-based activities and workshops offered by over 100 inspirational exhibitors.

The fair also hosted the UK finals of The Big Bang Competition, which saw just under 500 talented young people showcase their project work and compete for awards in engineering and science.

Josh Mitchell was crowned UK Young Engineer of the Year for his low-cost, flat-pack 3D printer and Emily Xu became the GSK UK Young Scientist of the Year after impressing the judges with her project on new ways of separating mirror-image molecules.

To help inspire even more young people to consider a career in STEM, regional fairs are taking place across the UK. “We aim to show young people the exciting and rewarding opportunities out there for them with the right experience and qualifications, by bringing classroom learning to life,” say the organisers.

Credit: The Big Bang Fair
  1. Getting Serious About Zero Waste Shopping at Planet Organic

Planet Organic, a chain of organic food stores in London, will be hosting its second event aimed at getting shoppers to adopt Zero Waste practices.

The event, led by Catherine Conway founder of Unpackaged and Laura Boyes founder of Hetu, will cover the challenges and solutions of Zero Waste food shopping, as well as beauty, household and baby/kids shopping.

Participants are encouraged to bring along reusable containers and the £5 entry fee is refundable on any purchase. At the end of the evening, Catherine & Laura will show participants how to refill in-store – how the bulk dispensers work and how to “tare” their containers.

Renée Elliott, the owner of Planet Organic, is passionate about promoting both good food and sustainability: “We advocate that food be authentic and ethical, freshly prepared and tasty – not a mere convenience. We believe in ethical and sustainable farming and place great emphasis on the provenance of all our products.

“We said goodbye to plastic bags years ago, and we now use fully-recycled paper bags. We use food containers made from bagasse, a sugar cane waste material. Encouraging our suppliers to move towards reusable delivery boxes saves around 10 bales of compressed cardboard a day, while our sales of Life Water have so far provided clean drinking water to 1,200 people in Andra Pradesh.”

Credit: Planet Organic


Having a driving purpose behind your event gives people a clear reason to want to get involved. Inspire them to join you on your mission and you can create a community of loyal brand advocates.

Interested in creating your own purpose-driven event? Check out this guide and get started!

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