Recipe for Success: Meal Planning Insights

For events, food and beverage offerings can make a difference on how the occasion is
remembered, so it’s important to get it right. By adding a cup of strategy, tablespoon of creativity and a pinch of personalization, then mixing together with the insights below, the dining experience during your event is sure to be a hit!

1. Remember your audience – All menus should be balanced to accommodate the diverse audience, but if you know that a specific demographic is more heavily represented, the menu should reflect that.

2. Know your numbers – Get to know the history of the past events and understand attendee habits to assist in making the best financial decisions. Events tend to lose a certain percentage of guests for meal functions because of private meetings, other commitments, or those that may have already eaten before attending.

3. Be creative and engage with the venue – if the standard published menus don’t offer what you need for your theme or audience, don’t be afraid to ask for other options. Be up front about your budget, so the chef can best accommodate, and you can come to a decision faster.

4. Incorporate Seasonal and Fresh items – most venues do their best to source seasonal ingredients, but it’s also important to consider the region or location of the event for popular food items in the area. By incorporating regionally grown produce or proteins to reflect the locale, it will also ensure the freshest ingredients and maybe even help keep your budget in check.

5. Allow for a comfortable room setup and flow – choose the appropriate room layout that supports your event objectives and the scheduled meals. Always allow for people to spread out, especially if there is a presentation occurring while the meal is being served so that the notepads and pens don’t interfere with plates and glassware.

6. Combine camaraderie with culinary education – Depending upon the format of the event, allowing attendees to create their own signature dish or cook the entire menu together. It is a fun way to get attendees on their feet, add interaction and support relationship building while creating an unforgettable meal.

7. Consider the final presentation of food – It’s said by the best chefs that we eat with our eyes and nose before actually tasting. Whether it’s served plated or buffet, the meal should be visually colorful, fragrant and appetizing.

Susie Tucker is the Director of Culinary Sales and Experience at Cooks of Crocus Hill, a culinary retailer and educator in the Twin Cities.  More about cooking classes and private culinary experiences can be found at www.CooksofCrocusHill.com


6 Holiday Party Planning Tips

The calendar may have just turned to September, but planning for your holiday party is right around the corner. Your guests calendars will start to fill up quickly with events, so this year, why not try something different as you’re planning your next party? Here are 6 ideas to get you started and to spice up your holiday celebrations:

  1. Holidays Around the World

Try an international approach to this year’s menu selection and create an international cuisine for your guests. You can choose the more traditional options of Italian, Mexican and Asian, or expand your horizon and bring in popular dishes from Sweden, India, Ireland. The possibilities are endless. If you’re worried about food preferences, represent a variety of countries with the selection.

  1. Give Back

The holidays are a great time for giving and celebrating the community you’re involved in. Whether the intention is to bring a gift for a child in need or showcase your community partners at the event. There are also opportunities to create an activity as your holiday party: making sandwiches, packing meals, building hygiene kits…and the list continues. #DoMoreGood

  1. Create a Theme

Themed parties are not just for birthday parties! It’s a great way to create buzz and excitement around an upcoming event. Whether your theme is tailored around a popular movie/TV show, the mystery of a masquerade, or something more centered around your organization’s mission. If you don’t think your employees or friends and family will be excited about dressing up, bring your theme to life through the decorations and food.

  1. Embrace the Weather

Plan your event around fun winter activities. Yes, it’s going to be cold in November, December and January, but embrace it! Whether that’s trying out the Curling Center and warming up at the Crooked Pint afterwards, renting ice time at the Rice Park in downtown Saint Paul for skating fun, or flying down the hills while snow tubing. As Minnesotans, it’s easy to get bogged down (literally) with the snow and cold during the holidays; make this year different!

  1. Make it Interactive!

Many holiday parties and events are similar in nature; food, drinks and conversation. This is enjoyable, but if you want to stand out this year, you’ll have to try something different:

  • Hire a band and get your employees up and on their feet enjoying the night.
  • Create a casino night where guests can indulge in their risky side at the blackjack or roulette table.
  • Inflatable games and sumo suits which aren’t just fun for the kids anymore!
  • Bring in an improv comedian for some laughs and team bonding.
  • Build your own s’mores bar? Yes please!
  • Have a photobooth. Whether it’s a make your own selfie station with a variety of props or a professional photographer who brings their creative ideas, backdrops, etc. Remember, a picture says a thousand words!
  1. Impress with a new venue.

As you’re looking to host a corporate holiday party, the office is always a cost effective option. However, remember that the holidays are a time to celebrate your staff, the company’s success, and its future. The office is a place where people come to work every day; change it up and invest in a fun, unique venue for your guests to fully enjoy and get away from the office scene for one night!
The ideas and to-do’s are endless when planning a holiday party…but so is the stress! As you’re considering different ideas, venues and caterers this holiday season, consider Do Good Events to focus on your A-Z event logistics this year. We love events and we’d love to help make yours a blazing success!  


How to make the Top 100 Places to Work in MN List

The MN Business Journal’s Top 100 Places to Work has a long-standing reputation as a representation of the best that Minnesota has to offer it’s work place. Talented job seekers look to this list to find their next career, while corporations and small business strive to make the list to show they are among the best.

To make the Top 100, companies must excel in the areas of work environment, employee benefits, company culture, and overall employee happiness. The measure is not by outside sources, but rather through a survey of the employee themselves.

It is not uncommon for our clients to ask us how they can get on the Top 100 list. The answer is simple, engage your employees!  Events are a fantastic way to invest in and engage your work force. Events also create a platform for the recognition and socialization that the millennial work force craves.

Here is just a short list of the kinds of events you could be offering your employees to engage, empower, and benefit your team.

  • Employee Service Day – Service days allow networking, team building, and for the company to show their dedication to philanthropy.
  • Appreciation Events – Have a successful quarter? Treat the team to a happy hour or boat cruise to celebrate the success and take time to celebrate, provide recognition, and simply say ‘thank you’.
  • Holiday Party – This doesn’t have to mean Christmas. How about a team BBQ Picnic around Fourth of July or a kick off to fall bean bag tournament? Gatherings around holidays allow for employees to engage outside of work talk and create friendships which are key to an employee’s happiness. A study by Gallup has shown that close friendships boost employee satisfaction by 50%.
  • Conferences and Training – Professional development is key to keeping your team on the cutting edge of technology, the forefront of innovation, and performing at their highest potential.
  • Get creative – events don’t always have to cost a lot of money or take time away from the 9-5. What is important is that you are encouraging relationships to build a culture where your employees feel valued, empowered, and engaged.

At Do Good Events, we love working with our clients to foster relationships, build their brand, and invest in their community. How can you use events to make the Top 100 list in 2018?


4 Categories of Event Sponsorships Opportunities

Interested in earning new revenue, gaining more attendees and building supportive relationships for your next event? Selling an event sponsorship is a great way to do so!  

Timing is key when it comes to securing event sponsors. Unfortunately, event hosts often spring into action too late to gain traction on their sales efforts. It is rarely too early to start selling event sponsorships. Many organizations have long approval processes or limited budget to spend on event sponsorships – you want to be first in line to receive their funding.

Consider beginning your sponsorship sales process 4 – 12 months before your event. As you think about who might be a valuable sponsor, consider targeting those that fall in one of these four buckets and tailor your pitch accordingly:

  1.     Branding

Who would see value in being recognized at your event? Perhaps they can sponsor the charging station and their logo prominently displayed? Or sponsor the wifi and their company name can be the password? There are plenty of creative and innovative ways to give exposure!

  1.     Goodwill

Which sponsor wants to be known as a supporter and have their corporate responsibility visible? This supporter might find the most value from being able to introduce the keynote speaker or be involved in another component of the event logistics.

  1.     Obligation

Who do you spend money with already? Could you ask your office supply vendor? Insurance agent? Banker? Consider asking all of your vendor relationships to return the love and support your upcoming event.

  1.     Marketing

Who wants to connect with your attendee demographic? Each event has a unique audience; it’s wise to target supporters that are interested in your network. Be sure and provide details to this prospect about who is in the audience and ways they could sample your product or service during the event.

A few tips as you begin to solicit:

  •      Don’t be afraid to ask. The biggest mistake we see our client’s make is not asking or waiting until it is too late.
  •      The sponsorship doesn’t have to include attendance to the event, consider a package that is purely about recognition.
  •      Don’t be afraid to customize a sponsorship package to meet your client’s needs.
  •      Remember that many small dollars can add up. Offer an approachable, introductory sponsorship level and then move that sponsor up the engagement ladder each year.

 

Good luck on soliciting sponsorships for your upcoming event! And remember, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the process, Do Good Events can help.


What I’ve Learned as an Intern for Do Good Events

My name is Cheyanne Thurston and I am freshman at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. I am studying Strategic Communications and Fashion Studies and I have had the lovely opportunity to be Do Good Events’ spring intern. Throughout my semester interning for Do Good Events I’ve learned many things personally, professionally, and about the company as a whole. This internship really allowed me to learn about this career hands-on, and that’s something I can’t get in a classroom. I’ve learned more about myself and have had more opportunities in one semester with Do Good Events than I could have ever imagined.

The first thing I’ve learned is what an AMAZING company Do Good Events is. I swear, this isn’t even a plug because I’m technically employed by them, I honestly just love them. Ask me on the street and I’ll say the same thing, maybe even better. They are the most knowledgeable and professional workers I’ve ever encountered. They have flawlessly executed every event I’ve been a part of, and I’ve never questioned whether or not what they wanted me to do had purpose. Whenever I asked questions, and trust me there were a lot of them, they didn’t fail to answer me quickly with a clear, sensible response. They just know their stuff! They’re also all about that Insta-worthy moment, and have the cutest social media ever.
Secondly, I’ve learned so much about the business and working as an event planner. I got to play around with how my personal strengths and weakness can complement this dream job of mine. I learned all about bidding programs, silent auctions, and event promotion. I had the opportunity to become comfortable with these aspects of the job that I wouldn’t have had I not been an intern. It’s the small details that make up this business and I’ve loved learning them all.
Professionally, this has been one of the best things I could have done for my career plans. I’ve truly gotten to see the ins and outs of this business and I couldn’t be more thankful for that opportunity. They’ve trusted me with things, big and little, and each task is as big of a learning moment as the next. Do Good Events wanted me to learn and let me be a part of as many opportunities as they could.
To sum it all up, my time with Do Good Events has been amazing. From working with their great crew to soaking up all the experience I could, I wouldn’t trade this semester for anything! I would 100% recommend this company for an internship or to plan your event, whatever the case—they really won’t let you down.
Highlight real

Pinot’s Palette’s One Year Anniversary Event – I had the privilege of co-leading this event. Knowing that they trusted me to represent Do Good Events gave me the little bit of confidence I needed to execute the event successfully. After the first three minutes I was totally in the zone and had that “ah-ha” moment, that this is truly where I want to be and what I want to be doing.

FINNEGANS Chef Food Fight Live Event – This was such a cool event. One of my favorite parts of this event was that I did a lot of the signage for it. Not that signage is a huge deal, but as a little intern it was really cool to see how the things I did play a role in an event.

All FEI Events – FEI, Financial Executives International, was my very first event and such a fun one. I got to go to a handful of FEI functions and every time was better than the last.


Top 3 Post-Event Musts

After the flurry of the big event, it’s natural to want to put up your feet and clear your brain immediately. Putting on a successful event is hard work! All of the details that go into planning and executing are sometimes enough to overwhelm even the most organized planners, hence why event planning is consistently ranked among the Top 5 Most Stressful Jobs. Give yourself some credit – you deserve it!

But before you treat yourself to some time off, if nothing else, make sure you take care of these 3 post-event necessities.

CREATE AN EVENT RECAP
While the event is fresh in your mind, document everything! In this recap, you’ll want to make sure to record the following:
Basic Logistics (Number of registrants, number of attendees, dollars spent/earned, etc.)
What Went Well
Lessons Learned
Action Items
Create this document as soon as possible, even if you don’t intend to meet with your team to discuss the event for a few days or a week. Your recap will be more helpful and effective, if you do so. Also, share the document with your key players right away. Our preferred method is a shared document, such as Google Docs, so that each key player can see and contribute to the notes in real time. This accessibility will encourage them to add to the recap notes, as well. More thoughts shared = a fuller recount.

ACT ON YOUR ACTION ITEMS
It’s easy to make a list. It’s a little trickier to assign the tasks. Most challenging of all is to actually act on what needs to be completed post-event, especially when you’re exhausted already. You’ll feel so much better knowing that all your T’s were crossed and I’s were dotted; get it done! Your action items might include everything from sending a post-event survey to following up with vendors on payment, and much more! This list of to-do’s is a blog of ours in itself. Check it out if you want to make sure your checklist is covered.

SEND THANK-YOUS
As you probably know, one thing that we love here at Do Good Events is showing heartfelt gratitude by means of snail mail. Putting on an extraordinary event takes a village; remember to thank the people that helped you make it happen. What we’ve learned is that a handwritten card dropped in the mail is more meaningful and appreciated than a quick email or phone call. Go ahead…brighten someone’s day! You’ll be building important relationships and setting your future events up for success by thanking those that deserve recognition.

Your post-event reflection time is when you can take an honest look at what your event planning and execution was like for you and your team. If you’re realizing that you might benefit from a little extra help, let’s talk about how you can partner with Do Good Events to take your future events to the next level!


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