Plan the event

Organise catering

The menu of a Soup event is not strict, however the food is where we involve actual soup.

Providing actual soup at a SOUP event is intentional for a few reasons:

  1. It's cheap to produce, filling and nourishing.
  2. It creates a sense of identity and novelty at our events.
  3. We've found that eating soup at our events is disarming for attendees. Meaning, we find that attendees feel at home while eating soup.
  4. It often stimulates more convesation than other event catering options such as pizza.
  5. Due to regular requests, we also share the event's soup recipe which stimulates creativity and sharing.

Ideally you’ll be able to get things donated through local partners such as a cafe, supermarket or community garden. If you do have to buy catering supplies, we suggest checking out local farmers markets to keep things community based.

Usually for a 100 person event, we spend about $120 on soup ingredients, bread and treats for people to enjoy during the break, unless someone can donate them as a contributor and get the chance to speak at the start of the event.

For local soup events with an aim of around 50 attendees, the budget for soup ingredients can be approximately halved. In the past we’ve had a chef in the team who either has made the soup the day before the event and then we’ve transported and heated it up on the day, or they’ve made it at the venue. We’ve also had the event catered for us, it totally depends on the venue.

Ideally you’d do the event somewhere with a kitchen, so you can have the soup made on site on the day. We recommend having two soups, at least one being vegan, and the other vegetarian.

Organise your voting system

You’ll need to set up a voting system for attendees to cast their vote during the event.

Everyone who registers for a ticket has the opportunity to vote for one of the presenters to receive the funding raised, regardless of how much they have paid. Every attendee is handed a token on arrival, which they pop into a jar that corresponds with a presenter to vote after the presentations.

Our voting setup consists of:

  • Voting tokens (or coins or counters) which are poker chips with a SOUP sticker on them
  • A jar per presenting project
  • A small chalkboard for the project names, You can also just have sticky notes for the names of the presenters.

Book your entertainment

Organising entertainment is another great way to showcase local talent during the event.

We usually have a musician playing during the break as background ambience, and then a song or two to the audience while we count the votes after the break. Other ideas we’ve banded around include having a local artist exhibiting their work and then chatting about their piece in the entertainment slot.

At one event we had a local writer come and read a short story about Melbourne, which was extremely well received. We’d stress that having some form of local entertainment is crucial to the ‘vibe’ of a SOUP night, but leave what that looks like up to you.

Meet and greet prior to the event

Getting your presenters together prior to the event can help make them feel more connected and comfortable presenting on the night.

Usually the week before our event, we invite the presenters to a meet-and-greet to get to know us and each other. We run this in partnership with two public speaking consultants who advise the presenters on talking in public. These consultants attended our second SOUP event and offered to volunteer their services. The difference this help can make is usually game changing for our presenters. While it may not be realistic to have one for your first event, if anyone in the organising team knows speaking coaches then we’d recommend having this organised.

If it’s not possible, providing a chance for presenters to ask questions and connect with each other prior to the event (through a Facebook group or something similar) could also be a way to make them feel more comfortable in the leadup to the event.

Another alternative could be to arrange for the presenters to arrive early on the day to meet your team, each other and get familiar with the venue and microphone.

[[Build an audience]]

Last updated on February 5, 2023