I like a few things in life. I like a good book. I enjoy traveling, and I love a good cat video. Among my many likes is having a good time—especially during work hours. If I can find a good excuse to get up from my desk, interrupt my routine, and smile a bit between 9-5, I’m all for it.
And maybe that’s why I like health fairs so much. Exhibits, demos, health fair massage, giveaways, and free food (even though none of it’s deep fried). At the last health fair I attended, the local police department even showed up for a demo, and they let me dress in a big padded suit while the drug-sniffing dog took me down. It was great - and obviously memorable.
Health fairs are a great idea for organizations of any size. It doesn’t matter if you’re a small business with 20 desks or a massive corporation. They’re the perfect forum for getting your health initiatives out there, and you can do it in an atmosphere where everyone’s relaxed and having a good time.
So if you’re thinking about putting on a health fair (and you should be), here are a few ideas to plan one that your employees won’t forget. And if that’s the case, don’t forget to invite me.
So You Wanna Throw a Health Fair
1. Make a Plan
Ok, let’s do this. But first, we need a plan. The biggest mistake companies make when throwing a health fair actually happens before the fair begins. Any successful event begins with a well thought out plan. Here are a few thoughts to consider.
- How much your organization wants to spend, obviously.
- Equally important is what you want to spend that money on.
- What do you want your health fair to accomplish? Think in terms of number of attendees, number of people signing up for a certain program, etc.
- Are there any initiatives you’re especially excited about?
- Whatever your goals are, it’s a good idea to focus your fair on them.
- Operating Rules
- You’re going to need to establish who’s in charge of what.
- You’ll also want sponsors, and you’ll need donations, reimbursement procedures, etc.
- Delegate Responsibilities
- Health fairs come with a lot of moving parts, so you’re going to have to divide and conquer.
- From parking, insurance, food, and volunteers, health fairs are more successful when responsibilities are spread out.
2. Find Vendors and Sponsors
Insurance companies, local gyms and health organizations are no-brainers. But it’s also fun to mix things up a bit.
Get your local bike shops involved. Invite the fire department (big hit with the kids), and consider holding your event around co-sponsored, health-minded activities like bike races, marathons, relay races, etc.
The point here is that if you think outside the box, you’ll make a lasting impression. Here are a few health fair ideas that would be a great addition:
- American Heart Association
- American Red Cross
- Car Seat Checks
- Dietary Experts
- American Lung Association
- County Health Department
Once you’ve identified your vendors and sponsors, make sure you extend your invitations well in advance. And plan for cancellations.
3. Get the Word Out
Ok, you’ve got a plan. You have some killer sponsors showing up. You’re on your way to throwing a pretty amazing health fair. Now you need to get the word out to your employees, so you can move toward your goal of having a healthier office.
Each organization has a method of communication that works best, and I’d recommend starting there. But here are some additional ideas for galvanizing your workforce:
- Paystub Stuffers
- Company Newsletters
- Intranet Messages
- Desk Flyers
- All-Hands Meetings
Additionally, some companies opt for more creative ideas for getting the word out. Holding a raffle always works well. Consider selling raffle tickets in advance of the fair and then picking the winners the day of.
4. Make It Simple. Make It Fun.
I enjoy health fairs because they help me relax a little when I shouldn’t be (i.e. working). If your health fair is too complicated, it’s going to fall a flat.
The key is to make things simple for your employees. Consider creating maps of the event, for example. Provide charging stations. Keep extension cords handy.
Health fair passports are another great idea that generates a lot of attention. The idea is simple: create passports for each of your employees. Each station stamps the passport after a presentation. The more stamps you get, the more you win. People love this.
And after it’s all said and done, send your employees evaluation forms. These are invaluable for learning how to make your next health fair even better.