When planning an event that’s a few months or even a year away, it can always be tempting to keep putting things off. Or to have a to-do list and revisit each item in your mind as opposed to actually checking them off.
Right now, I am in the process of planning A Silent Night Out auction with Delmarva Public Radio. So I’ve come up with some basic do’s and don’ts of event planning that directly relate to my experience.
1.) What: Do decide what the event will be. What do you hope to accomplish? Don’t just say, “We’re going to have a bake sale!” Is your goal to fundraise or is it to encourage volunteers to help out with your organization? Because a bake sale is a fundraising event. Tailor your event to the needs of your organization and during each step of the event planning process, refer back to your original purpose to guide you.
2.) When: Do establish an exact date for the event as soon as possible. All other elements of the event will revolve around this basic detail. For example, the title of The Silent Night Out auction was chosen because the date, December 8, was chosen first. The winter and holiday theme first the “when” of the event. Find out if other community events or significant holidays are occurring around the same time and schedule around them.
3.) Where: Do secure a location as soon as possible. Venues often book months in advance and, as in the auction’s case, sometimes require a written proposal of what the event will be and how many people are expected to attend.
1.) Don’t confirm until you have confirmed! Twice! Before scheduling or booking something outside of your organization such as a band or catering, confirm the date and time with the venue as well as your own organization. The worst PR is to waste someone’s time.
2.) Don’t wait to promote your event. Once you have the basics confirmed, begin making flyers or posting on social media. Movies send out teaser trailers to peak an audience’s interest. Then later they release the actual movie trailer closer to the release date. You should do the same! Get the public interested and involved. Make sure they have it on their calendars.
3.) Don’t procrastinate. Event planning does not have to be as stressful as we make it. The last week before the event should not be when you are rushing around doing things that you’ve had on your to-do list since the very beginning. If you have small tasks, do them first. If you have to wait for another task to be done before you can get to it, then use that as your motivation to begin on that task instead.
Let’s see if I can take my own advice and make The Silent Night Out auction the least stressful event of my year. I’ll keep you guys updated!