Event planning can be stressful, but with the right planning and preparation, you can make sure your event goes off without a hitch. The truth is, there’s no quick-fix that will have people flocking to your event, it’s all about strategy. And it’s much easier than you think.
1. Plan your timeline
We’ve all seen it before, it comes to event day and rather than enjoying the event, you’re frantically running around trying to solve problems you didn’t plan for. The key to event success is planning effectively. Make your event run smoothly, by being organised and systematic about every detail. Being a logistics guru is going to help you to eliminate stress and react to changes effectively. Write your to-do list as soon as possible and give yourself regular check-in points to track your progress. Break your list down to daily, weekly and monthly tasks and always have a plan B to keep you from crippling when those last minute curve-balls hit
2. Choose your registration provider
Even if your event is free, find a registration provider than can manage and deliver your ticketing and support those participating in your event. From choosing the best ticket types tailored to your supporters need, checking registration lists to sending out merchandise to those registered and scanning tickets on the day, creating a seamless integration from registration to fundraising, will allow you to focus on more important things, like bringing those supporters together. Registration is also essential to be able to plan the number of attendees effectively.
By using registration gurus like Realbuzz, Solemotive, and Eventbrite you can easily make the process headache-free!
3. Evaluate your fundraising options
Providing your supporters and their donors with opportunities to support you in different ways encourages them to remain passionate and motivated long-term. Once you have worked out what you want to achieve, the next step is deciding just how you will reach your goal! Think about whether you want peer-to-peer to be the focus and how you can better facilitate donors supporting their friends. In addition, you may want to set up a direct donation appeal to collect donations from those who just want to give directly to your cause. Consider what you will do if you receive offline donations on event day, how will you process them so that they count in your fundraising totals? And how will you report on fundraising success? These are all factors that will have a massive impact your fundraising success, so it’s important to get them right.
4. Be innovative
Don’t be afraid to hit the refresh button on aspects of your event that may be a little tired, especially if you tend to run the same event every year. There are always ways you can innovate, whether it be harnessing new technology, implementing fresh social media strategies, running competitions and implementing merchandise giveaways. There may be new products or new opportunities to partner with other businesses to provide participants with more than your core event product. Depending on your budget, think food trucks, star personalities and media partners to create buzz. These will better engage your supporters and keep them coming back for years to come!
5. Get on social
With the emergence and popularity of new apps that facilitate instant broadcasting, if you’re not linked to a facebook, instagram or twitter account, you are missing out on the benefits of live-streaming capabilities for your events. Event participants are already broadcasting live video of your event on instagram, periscope and snapchat, so why not use it to engage with your supporters and their social media audiences?
6. Implement a communications plan
Sometimes a little ‘warm and fuzzy’ is all your supporters need and social media is an instant, cost-effective way to engage with them directly! Take the time to let them know you’re behind them! By developing and implementing a regular communications plan, you can send them personalised updates and say congratulations when they hit their goals, to keep them feeling inspired. While you’re there, make sure to invest in social media monitoring tools to look at who’s using your event hashtag, posting images and tagging you. Engage directly with them as much as possible to create a true sense of community.
7. Brief your staff
Inspire your staff, to inspire others. Taking the time to motivate your staff to reflect your brand will only have them spreading positivity and actively participating in making your event the best it can be! At the end of the day, they will have the most interactions with your participants, so make sure they are well prepared and feeling upbeat. Not only will you have super engaged participants, keeping your staff informed and enthusiastic will have them spreading the word to their own personal networks, and that’s great for creating buzz!
8. Close the Loop
We’ve said it many times before, but we can’t stress it enough. Closing the loop after your event by thanking your supporters for their engagement is one of the most important factors in organising successful events. Leaving your supporters feeling motivated and highly engaged will nurture relationships with individuals that lead to a lifetime of valuable support! This is also a fantastic opportunity to seek feedback, measure your event’s performance and make improvements for next time!
9. Look back
After your event is over, take a moment to look back. Ask yourself what worked and what didn’t? Did you achieve your goals? How will you change it for next year? Leave nothing to chance by making sure that everything is measured and analysed both before, during and after your event. This will allow you to consistently create and improve your strategy and work towards maximising your success for the future. Some metrics that should be reported and monitored include your event costs, ticket sales and event revenue, supporter information and their fundraising totals and social media engagement. You can also prepare a quick survey for your staff to fill in as they may have a different and insightful perspective on how things went.
This final advice might be the most important of all: Enjoy your event! The hard work is done, so have some fun, you deserve to enjoy it as much as your supporters! If you’re stressed, it will rub off on your staff and be felt by those around you, so relax and allow yourself take it all in. You may even pick up on some things you wouldn’t otherwise see!
Now that you’re equipped with the tools to kick-start your event planning, why not get started today? Have more questions? Please don’t hesitate to contact us!