Project management is essential for planning events; enabling you to get organized, stay on track, and ultimately, set you up for success. Every event has a start and end date, and project management helps you, and your team, get from A to Z efficiently and effectively.
Project management is all about developing a project plan and sticking to it. This will look different for each event, but includes things such as: setting goals and objectives, identifying how to achieve those goals, creating a budget, determining all the resources needed, and developing tasks and timelines in order to reach completion. Project management is important because it:
- Establishes Accountability
- Project management is designed to divide and conquer tasks among a group which in turn empowers the entire team to be held accountable for the project’s success.
- Ensures Transparency
- Having a plan in place allows the entire team to be on the same page, know who is responsible for what, how they can support one another, and the status of the project throughout the planning.
- Allows for Support
- When tasks are not executed on time, they can hold up other areas of planning. With a well laid out plan, team members can help support struggling action items.
- Keeps you Organized
- Project management helps track your efforts, ensures all tasks are completed on time, and that nothing falls through the cracks.
- Creates Templates
- Why recreate the wheel if you don’t have to! Project management allows you to create a plan and re-use it the following year.
A basic project management tool that can be used to develop a project plan is Excel. Although, excel is great and has many benefits, there are so many other great project management tools out there. Below is a list of some of our favorites, each a little different, so you may need to try a couple out before landing on a tool that works best for your team. A plus is that you won’t break the bank implementing because all of these resources are free!
- Asana – Easy to use, task list format, can sync with your calendar
- Google Keep – Visual, connects with all things Google, good for the post-it note lovers
- Google Drive – Allows you to share documents among multiple people, unlimited storage, syncs between devices
- Wunderlist – User friendly, email notifications, task list format
- Basecamp – Simple interface, good for remote work
- DropBox – Easy to share with multiple users, syncs between devices, backs up work
- Smartsheets – Similar to spreadsheets, can set up alerts to keep you on track
When using these project management tools, it’s helpful to break down your events into different “buckets” and list out all of the tasks that need to be accomplished within each. For example, one “bucket” for a fundraising event would be the silent auction. At first, the idea of planning and executing a silent auction may be overwhelming, but breaking it down into high level, attainable tasks, can make this “bucket” a lot less stressful. Below is a basic timeline/task list for what a silent auction might look like – remember, it’s important to divide and conquer these tasks among your team or committee and assign due dates if applicable.
- Put together a list of prospective vendors and past vendors to solicit
- Develop a solicitation letter
- Reach out, whether by mail, email or by knocking on doors
- Pick up auction items
- Track each donation
- Add items into bidding software (if applicable)
- Package items and stage for event
- Create and print display sheets
- Post event thank you to donor
Implementing some sort of project management tool whether that’s Excel or Asana is crucial for your event’s success. Not all tools out there will be a good fit for your team, so it’s important to be open-minded and willing try different resources until you find what works best.
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