The benefits of social media and an online presence.

I just got certified for the HootSuite Social Media Dashboard! http://ow.ly/rDvvZ

For those of you who don’t live your lives knee-deep in event planning craziness, I always try to include a blog post or two about the planning involved in everyday life.  And if you’ve looked at your calendar lately, you know what that next event is.

Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! Photo Credit.

Happy Thanksgiving! Photo Credit.

But we’re switching it up this holiday. Instead of telling you how to plan your perfect Thanksgiving dinner, I’m just going to remind you of the basics that everyone overlooks.  So here they are!

Start Early: Though it seems like the easiest piece of advice, many Thanksgiving chefs never begin early enough. Even if you factor in your cooking time, be sure to factor in prep time too. Many dishes require up to an hour of preparation and some desserts can require hours of cooling time. Don’t forget to plan for this!

Stagger Your Dishes: If you’ve ever cooked Thanksgiving dinner before, you’ve inevitably tried to put the biscuits in the oven and realized that the turkey and casserole and two pies all need to fit as well. Solution? Create a cooking schedule based on what will be served when and how long it will need to be in the oven. This will help you get everything cooked on time and no one will notice your lack of oven space.

Stick to Your Recipes: If you’re going to go rogue, do it on a day when your entire extended family won’t be tasting the fruits of your labor. And don’t mix your recipes! Depending on the cook, the temperature, cooking time, and ingredients are all different. Don’t combine recipes if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Make Time For a Shower: Don’t get so caught up in your kitchen efforts that you forget to prep yourself too. Family that you haven’t seen for weeks or months will be spending the day with you and certainly taking dozens of pictures, all of which you will be tagged in on Facebook. So, prep yourself. Schedule in time for a shower and have someone to watch whatever is still on the stove. You’ll thank me later.

Enjoy a delicious meal. And Happy Thanksgiving!

Choosing A Venue

Having an event but you aren’t sure where to hold it? Gather your friends and brainstorm ideas!

Write down venues in different areas and of different sizes. Don’t limit yourself based on funds either. Dream big and put the grand places down too because they might inspire ideas for a better event.

The Avalon Theatre in Easton, MD.

The Avalon Theatre in Easton, MD.

 

Whatever you do, be sure to consider the three basics.

Location: Hold your event in a town that is located in the middle of the demographic or people you are trying to reach. No one wants to drive too far, so be careful not to be drawn into the “perfect” venue. If it is outside of the area and you know attendees may not be willing to drive there, then it is not the perfect venue.

Capacity: How many people would you ideally like to attend? Do you have space for them? Or would you like to limit your party to fewer people and choose a smaller more intimate atmosphere? Would your event be more appropriate indoors or outdoors and will the weather cooperate? All of these questions need to be asked and answers will vary based on the type of event.

Popularity: If you’re able to promote your event successfully on your own, then have at it! Choose any place you’d like. But if you think you could use a little help with promotion, choose a popular well-established venue. It will be able to help you advertise your event to regular attendees and the venue can include  your event in its own promotional efforts.

As always, have fun! And good luck!

Every event you’ve ever attended, you have heard about from some place or another like the radio, the newspaper, or maybe even a flyer. And what’s it called when an event planner let’s everyone know about an event?

That’s right, kiddos. Promotion!

Whether your event is large or small, I’m here to offer the basic dos and don’t to handling its promotion.

Advertising:
Do- Stay consistent. Don’t let potential attendees miss out because they didn’t hear about it. Find multiples advertising mediums and avenues including social networks, community calendars, and radio promos to let the public know.
Don’t- Spam. If you post about your event on your Facebook page three times a day, people will become so sick of hearing about it that they may resent your spam and then not attend. Remind your potential attendees when the event is approaching but never annoy them.

Invites:
Do- Send an invite or promotional flyer to a specific group of your target demographic.

Don’t- Be vague or bland. Salutations such as ‘Dear supporter’, ‘Dear business owner’, and ‘To whom it may concern’ are not appropriate when sending invites. Think about how special you would feel if you received a basic invitation not addressed to you. Do they event want you there?

Press Releases:
Do- Take advantage of them! Even if only one or two local newspapers or news programs share a story on your event, that’s promotion. Why would you turn down free promotion?? So take the time to write a story that sounds interesting to you with a catchy title. It takes less work to edit a story than write one from scratch so it’s more likely that it’ll get published.
Don’t- Pull media. Put the bare minimum of general details in your press releases if you must, but if details are still being decided upon, do not include them. You can add information to your promotional efforts but you should never take away information. You never know who has already seen your posters.

As usual, good luck!

Fundraising Basics

photo

Hey guys!

I created a small website which shares basic fundraising tips for both online and in-person. It also shares examples of possible fundraising events which have been successfully utilized by Delmarva Public Radio in the past.

Check it out!

Event planning isn’t merely planning; it’s scheduling and properly managing your time.

So in the midst of your big event, you have four other events that you are expected to attend and they aren’t even yours! Coming from someone who never says no, I’m here to tell you that it’s okay to say no.

Knowing how to say politely say no. Here are some tips:

Make Time: Don’t say you are too busy for any of the events you’ve been invited to. Are you really too busy for your cousin’s wedding? Because being the amazing scheduler that you are, you probably aren’t. Prioritize which parties or events are most important to you. Consider the networking that will take place at that conference, or remembering that baby shower ten years from now.

RSVP Is Not Included Just For Fun: Once you’ve decided which invited you are declining, let that person know! When someone asks you to RSVP it’s because they’re trying to determine a count of how many will attend the event. This helps them determine the amount of food, drinks, or even chairs they will need. Be kind. 

Practice Good Public Relations: Don’t be too professional or informal with your friends, but practice good PR. Even if you feel bad about not being able to make it, don’t imply that you are still on the fence about attending. Your friend will appreciate a clear no and move on.

  • Always thank them for thinking of you.
  • Always apologize for not being able to attend.
  • Always follow your decline with “But I really appreciate the invite.” or some variation.

Finally, Call: Do not decline an invite via text or social media. It’s impersonal and the tone and quality of your voice when declining in person or on the phone will soften the blow.

Remember you can’t say yes to everyone. And one day I’ll learn to take my own advice.

Hope this helps!

Let’s say you already have all the promotion you could need with flyers, press releases and social media posts. Okay, but have you considered creating a webpage for your event? If it’s a small-scale gathering, a Facebook event page would do. But if you’re planning well in advance and expecting several hundreds of people, build your own site!

Benefits of Your Event Website

  • All the information about your event can be found in one place! Attendees or potential attendees will be able to search your event name in Google to find your site and will immediately have access to all the information they could need.
  • Information can be organized on different pages and separated by tabs on the top for easy searching. For example there can be a separate page and link for ticket information, parking, event information, about us, contact us and more.
  • You have more to offer sponsors of your event by way of advertisement with links and logos posted to your website.

Tips

  • Use a free website creator such as weebly.com or wix.com. They have basic beginners templates and are easy to use. Personally, I really like weebly because you can easily create new pages and only have to drag and drop text boxes and photos to format your layout.
  • Buy your domain name. If you want to be able to advertise the website and make it look official. Purchase a name that will fit your event like Dew Tour’s http://www.dewtouroc.com. Simple right?
  • Include a contact form for questions. This will filter to your email address and allow you to answer any questions attendees have that weren’t answered on the website. If you’re lucky, you might only have to link them pages of your site to find the information. If not, edit your site to include the information they requested.

A website is an easy way to brand yourself. It also takes some of the pressure off of you when promoting your event because you’ll have a place to direct potential attendees for all their event needs.

Good luck!

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