This month, watch for our three-part blog series on Event Planning from start to finish! Do Good Events’ President, Kalsey Beach, originally posted this as a guest blog for the Minnesota Chapter of the Legal Marketing Association.
The most important step in planning an event is often missed – setting goals. Before signing contracts, selecting decor and inviting guests make sure all the key players agree on what will make the event successful. Here are some steps to follow:
- Write an Event Objective – This is a brief summary of what the event will accomplish. For example: raise awareness, cultivate community, honor a person or group, show appreciation, etc.
- Measurable Goals – Make sure your goal can be measured and is clear whether or not it was reached. For example: Dollars raised, new contacts in database, tickets sold, new Facebook followers, etc.
- Recap – As soon as you begin planning your event, schedule a debrief. It is important to validate the success of the goals and places to improve at future events and this step is often forgotten if not planned for.
Big Picture Logistics
Before the details can fall into place, consider the “big picture” logistics and insure these aspects are accounted for:
- Define the event budget – Consider the event from a total cost and per person perspective. What expenses will you have? Frequently people forget about printing, parking, or gratuity. Make a detailed line item budget and don’t forget the miscellaneous column. Will the event generate any income? Be realistic with your numbers.
- Select a venue – With the budget solidified you can select your venue. Questions to consider: Where are my guests geographically? What time of day will the be driving to the location? What activities will occur, such as speeches, sitdown dinner, dancing, etc.
- Select a date – Be certain to confirm with key hosts and attendees that the date will work for them. Double check various calendar to insure your date is not conflicted with another large event in your city or industry.
Another key component to a successful event is an effective promotion strategy. Follow these steps to insure your desired attendance:
- Give guests enough notice – Guests should first learn about the event at least 6-weeks before it occurs via a paper or virtual invite. Reminders can be sent once a week until the day of the event.
- Utilize a variety of promotion avenues – In addition to your invite, promote the event on social media, local calendars, hang flyers, submit a press release and encourage attendees to bring guests.
- Engage ambassadors – Consider the key hosts of the events and equip them with tools to promote. Encourage them to schedule time to call important guests and provide them with the material to post on their social media channels.