Successful Planning An Event
Running an event can either be rather fulfilling, joyful, fun and exciting, or can end up being a nightmare. Most of what eventually ends up being the “running” of the event is predominantly impacted by how effectively the initial planning for the event was, and the action plan and time lines developed.
The first thing to consider in planning an event is what the main purpose of the event is. Is it social, business, educational, fund raising, or some combination of all of these? I have been hired to organize and run numerous events, and one of the biggest obstacles consistently is a lack of clarity as to the event’s purpose. Planning for an event in that manner is like investing funds without knowing if the funds are needed short-term or long-term, what the acceptable degree of risk is, and the amount.
Once an organization clearly determines the purpose of an event, the next thing that must be done is set a goal for it. If it is for fund raising, the goal may be financial; if for gaining membership, it might be membership numbers; etc. Once the goal is set, the next question to ask is there a budget for the event? Is that budget realistic when it is compared to the determined goal?
Then one must determine what kind of event. Many events have limitations on them, and others carry inherent risk. For example, golf and tennis tournaments often have weather considerations, while galas have break- even points. What does this group consider acceptable risk?
What kind of events has this group done before? Have they been successful? Have they been as successful as they should have been? Is the risk/ reward factor involved with the event worth it?
Once all of these things have been determined, and one knows what type of event and its purpose, the next thing is to assure professional negotiations on all aspects that might impact the success of the event. Many non- professionals, and unfortunately even some event professionals, are either not properly trained negotiators, do not feel comfortable doing it, or are merely not good negotiators. A negotiator should know all the needs for the event up-front, so that as many concessions and favorable agreements can be built into any and all necessary contracts. It is essential not to overlook any aspect, because when it comes to negotiating, all areas are important.
Next, an action plan must be determined and decided upon, with a detailed time line, indicating when each component must be planned, done, and followed up on, and by whom. Professional event planners need to plan as many details as possible, and be prepared for any and all ramifications and necessary adjustments. The difference between an unsuccessful event and a successful one is the planning. However, the difference between a successful event, and a wildly successful “smash” of an event, is the completeness, thoroughness, and quality of the planning.