As we approach the busy spring/summer event season, you might be tossing around the idea of hosting an event for your local community, but where do you start? If you’ve never planned an event before (or you’re just out of practice), this event planning how-to guide will outline the most important steps along the way!
Determine an Objective
The first thing you need to do is figure out why you want to host this particular event because that reason will be what you’ll use to convince the community that they should attend. Obviously paid events are organized to make their organizers money, but that’s just part of the story. That might be driving force behind hosting an event, but why this event?
Is it to give local families and kids something fun to do? Raise awareness about a particular cause or money for a worthy charity? Make use of popular local attractions or features (like a beach or lake for example)? Offer a different type of activity that your community has never seen before? Whatever the reason, that will be your value proposition when it comes time to market the event. It will also help drive your vision when it comes to the critical stage of determining the specifics for the event.
Set a Date
When selecting a date for your event, be sure to check community calendars and ask around to ensure that you won’t choose a date that conflicts with another community event. Not only should you ensure that the location you plan on using for the event is available, but you should ensure that there aren’t any other large events that will conflict with yours in order to give yourself the best chance of attracting large crowds.
Once you know what you want your event to look like and when it will be, you’ll want to book your vendors. It may be possible at his stage that one of the vendors you had your heart set on using is booked for those dates, in which case you may need to alter your dates. (For this reason it’s a good idea to have a backup date available as well.)
You’ll want to secure your most important vendors early on in the process because portable toilet suppliers, caterers, and other vendors are often booked out months in advance.
Invite Key Participants
There may be a certain guest list that you want to be sure is in attendance. If this is the case, send out information concerning the event as early as possible to these key participants. This way you can get your event on their radar right away. If there are any celebrities or well-known figures that you want to be able to tout when marketing the event, get them to commit to attending early on so that you’re not scrambling at the last moment to find that hook to draw people in.
Market the Event
Get on social media and market your event! If you don’t have the time (or knowhow) to do the social media marketing yourself, hire a professional to help you out so that you can be sure that the event will be well represented online in your community.
If there are other popular local avenues that you can utilize to spread awareness for your event, get started with those channels as well. These may include TV, radio, flyers, billboards, etc. Be sure to also spread the word verbally in your local micro-communities (church, school, workplace, doctor’s office, etc.) Just get the word out!
Have a Contingency Plan
Often spring and summertime events take place outdoors, but if you’ve ever been to and event that you were really excited about only to have it get rained out, you’ll understand how disappointing it can be when there isn’t a contingency plan in place. Depending on the nature of your event it may not be possible to have a plan B, but taking the steps early to plan for bad weather or other potential event-ruining occurrences can help you avoid disaster later on!
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