As an event and association management company, we works with a great number of volunteers on a regular basis. Lately, we have been working with new volunteers who are taking on the role of event planners. As such, we thought we would go back to (event) basics and provide a “must-do” list to ensure event success.
Start with a clear goal in mind. Consider the purpose of your event. Is it a fundraiser? A way to enhance brand awareness? A networking opportunity? Ensure all the choices you make, from food and beverage right down to the seating arrangements, lend themselves to your overall goal. If you need to make a budgetary decision, such as deciding between better quality refreshments or an intricate sound system for an event, reflect on your goal. A networking event, for example, would likely benefit more from more memorable refreshments.
Keep an eye out for conflicting events. An event may work best on a specific date for you and your company, but if the majority of your anticipated guests have foreseeable commitments that day, then consider making a switch. Yes, that weekend in February looks ideal on paper, but the NFL thought so too. It may be difficult to compete with the Super Bowl for attendance.
Put yourself in an attendee’s shoes. Try putting yourself into the mindset of a potential attendee. Is this an event that you would personally want to attend? If yes, highlight the reasons why when promoting it to the public. If not, ask yourself why. Research your target demographic and consider what you could change to make the event more inviting to them.
A tweet is worth a thousand words. You can promote your event on social media until you are blue in the face. The key to being noticed is encouraging interaction and participation from others. There are many webinars and blog posts dedicated to this topic alone. There is no simple formula to inspire people to reach out and connect. Do your research (we recommend webinars through Hootsuite) and find ways to spark conversation. These posts do more for the promotion of your event than even your most carefully crafted tweet.
Chance favours the prepared mind. Not everything is going to go according to plan. This is the hard truth of event planning (and life in general). Be it weather, last minute cancellations, or some other unforeseen circumstance, sometimes life will throw you a curve ball. Instead of stressing out and becoming overwhelmed, commit to preparing yourself as best you possibly can. Be optimistic while still preparing for potential snags.
Keep your critical path fluid. Trying to predict and plan every aspect of your event may seem like a daunting task, but it is a key to your success. However, keep in mind that a critical path is a working document, and it should not be written in stone. Guidelines are necessary, but a lack of flexibility when plans need to change is going to cause trouble. Event planning will always have unpredictable elements to it, so try to roll with the punches.
We hope these pointers serve well as a starting point in the event planning process. If you, your fellow volunteers or board members require further assistance, we would be happy to discuss your needs. Do not hesitate to get in touch with our dedicated team of event experts.