The possible range of events that a company can produce in order to attract more business is wide and broad. However, they do have much in common. We’ll try to digest and deal with those common features.
Putting on an event is a significant undertaking. The larger and longer the event, the more significant. The methods recommended below can be applied to weekend sales, trade shows, open houses, seminars, sales meetings, employee events, festivals, etc.
You will need someone to spearhead the team. This person MUST have experience in event, planning, and execution. Assume that they will be spending 25% of their workday on the event. Of course, you may prefer to hire an outside event planner to head things up.
While one person working full-time might be able to handle the bulk of these other jobs, the preferred method is to have a team. The team members can be outside suppliers, employees, and/or volunteers.
ADVERTISING AND PR – This is a major part of the job. There is no use having an event if you don’t draw a crowd. This includes on-site elements like directional signage, spotlights, balloons, etc.
FACILITIES AND DECORATION – Making the place look right, getting the sound system to sound right, and providing appropriate furniture and facilities for all participants is another big job.
EVENT DAY PERSONNEL MANAGER – What jobs need doing? At what times? Who will do those jobs? This person will be in charge of giving clear-cut instructions on the event day.
EMCEE – Also known as the master of ceremonies is a person who acts as a host for a program of entertainment. He will handle the introductions, keep the ball moving, make announcements, etc.
SPACE AND LEGAL – Whether you are using your own space, renting or borrowing/using common space, someone needs to be in charge of securing the area, taking care of contracts, making sure the plans meet with codes and rules and arrange for any needed insurance. This person might also coordinate with the facilities person for cleanup.
FINANCIAL – If you have financial transactions such as ticketing, donations, raffles, etc., you need to have a “treasurer” to arrange for all these processes, the printing of tickets, etc.
VIP ATTENDEES – If you will have speakers, suppliers manning booths, the press, city officials, charitable organizations participating, corporate chiefs, award winners, or other VIPs, you need to make plans surrounding that. If booths are being built, there should be rules and contracts. If payments, they should coordinate with the treasurer.
MEAL FUNCTIONS – You may be serving everyone, you may only be serving VIPs, or you might only want to serve those who are working in the event. In any case, someone needs to arrange catering. This could go with facilities, but it is a big job.
COORDINATING with a
One way to drive down costs and increase participation in your event is to enlist an appropriate charity. In exchange for using the event to raise money, the charity might supply help with organizations, such as day-of volunteers, and help to spread the word to their members. They might even reach beyond their members to others in the community who like the charity and would come to the event in support of the charity.
Another way to benefit everyone is to have a raffle starting weeks before the event, with both your organization and the charity's volunteers selling raffle tickets. The prizes would be awarded at the event, and most would require the person to be there during the raffle.
An event of any size will benefit from a very long timeline, but a rule of thumb is that no event should have a timeline of less than 90 days, and that 120 days is necessary for most. 150 days is even better.
The event planner should create a detailed timeline including when each aspect of the event needs to be in place. Then back up those dates to times when other managers will report their planning, suppliers, expense projections, and options.
It is best to have every single manager at the first planning meeting, have each manager make clear promises as to what he/she will deliver at the next meeting. In general, biweekly meetings need to be held with the entire team until the last 30 days. Then hold weekly meetings until seven days out. If necessary, schedule daily meetings for the last seven days.
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