We all know that going paperless at meetings and events is a good step for planners. It's a move that has multiple benefits; not only are you reducing your event's carbon footprint while saving money, but attendees carry around less paper and experience a more high-tech event.
The top tip for going paperless is simple: take everything you print and put it online. But with large events especially, this process may be easier said than done. Check out our guide on transforming your event into a paperless one in five steps.
Make a list of everything you print
Don't know where to start your paperless journey? Start by making a list or spreadsheet (preferably on your computer!) of all the things you print out at your events and how much it costs. Your list will likely be a lot longer than you think, but don't panic. This step is essential as you'll be able to get the big picture of your paper usage. By getting an idea of how much you're spending on printing, it will help get stakeholders on board as you explore better options and investments for going digital.
See where you can consolidate
Sort these items by category or even budget to see where you're spending the most on paper. There, you can try to see what can be consolidated or can be entirely digitized. For example, you may want to send post-event surveys via email instead of handing out printed ones, put useful information together to showcase on digital signage, or build out your entire program and agenda on your mobile event app.
Take advantage of mobile app features
Speaking of mobile apps, when it comes to going paperless, putting all of your event's information within your app is obviously a good step. But don't stop there. Today's mobile apps for events are robust and come with many key features that can aid in your paperless journey. For example, push notifications remove the need to put up paper announcements or use "change of program" slips when an event's location or time changes last minute (it's also more efficient in communicating the change to attendees!). Session handouts, slide decks or speaker contact information can also be added to the app, putting key attendee takeaways in a convenient location.
Eliminate business cards with smart tags
Another commonly used paper item at events is, of course, business cards. After all, events are often places where people come to network, learn and share ideas. And if your attendees are making several connections during your event, those tiny paper business cards can really add up. Eliminate the need for them by switching to digital badges. These devices are preprogrammed with each person's contact information, and, with the use of Bluetooth technology, can exchange the info at a push of a button. When paired with a mobile app, attendees can review all of their contacts right in their smartphone. Not only are you eliminating another paper item, but it makes networking a lot more efficient and fun.
Have fun with it
Another crucial way to have a successful paperless event is to get your attendees and sponsors on board. Along with advertising your paperless efforts early via email and on your event website, reward those who follow suit. Sponsors can receive special recognition online or in your program if they don't use handouts at their booths, or maybe attendees get a discount or badge when they download your mobile app. Most people love to help the environment when they can, and special rewards can help push them in the right direction.