October 11, 2011
How to plan a successful event can vary depending on the type of event hosted, but for a corporate event or fundraiser, the process can be outlined into 6 major steps. Last week, we outlined 5 basic steps to planning a social event.
1. Determine your purpose
Before you can make a move, you need to determine what type of event you’re having and why it’s being produced. Everything about your event then revolves around this purpose and needs to be appropriately conveyed via décor, timeline and booking of vendors.
The step within a step is to then determine how you want your purpose expressed – allowing lots of time in the schedule to provide a speaker or many ceremonies/events throughout the day or evening, or using lighting and décor choices to brand the event with your company or foundation’s logo.
2. Begin obtaining/requesting donations and marketing
Waiting for responses from those who will support your event always takes longer than anticipated. As soon as you know your event’s purpose and the date, start reaching out for donations (perhaps for silent auction items or wine for the event itself). Make sure that for a non-profit, you provide the tax ID number and any necessary information a company would need to quickly respond with a donation.
The second part that always needs to be done for every event (even one kept within the company), is marketing! Whether that be simply through an email sent to all employees with the date of the upcoming holiday party, regular social media pushes, or advertising through a larger medium like a local paper, marketing is what excites attendees to come and gets them to spread the word for you. It takes an individual seeing your event multiple times before they will recognize it and absorb the information about date, time and how to RSVP.
3. Hire your venue and vendors
Booking your vendors needs to be one of the first things you do, as you want to ensure they have availability, as well as get started on the most time-consuming part of planning an event. Working on finding an appropriate speaker and booking them is often the first, most important vendor to book, considering their busy travel and speaking schedules.
Create a line-item budget, find your venue and meet with vendors directly to assess if they have a proper understanding of your purpose and have ideas about how to support that with their products or services. Many should be able to provide an event proposal indicating what they would contribute to your event.
In addition to being able to work within your goals, each vendor should be able to work your chosen venue, work with each other and have the expertise and portfolio necessary to create the desired feel of your event. See our advice on Choosing Vendors.
I recommend the event coordinator be one of the first vendors you hire, as we have the experience necessary to help create an accurate budget for each line-item, suggest venues, and recommend vendors we know are reliable and what you’re looking for. Often, event coordinators also hold discounted rates with vendors – we do! If you have a smaller budget, we can also help you determine where the money would be best spent. Corporate events and fundraisers can be very time-consuming at this step and we can help take some of the work off your plate!
To be Continued…Steps 4-6 tomorrow!
If you would like to discuss your event with us, please feel free to contact us. We offer consultation-only services and a la carte help through full coordination. We can also provide you with a proposal for your event to show you how we can help plan, design and coordinate your event. If you’re interested, set up a complimentary initial consultation!
Check back tomorrow to see part 2!