Event Planning Tips
Events can be a great way to get people involved, raise money, and make people aware of the importance of an involved father. Here are five questions to ask yourself when you start planning your event to help maximize your success.
- What type of an event do you want to hold?
Know Your Audience -- They affect everything! The first step in planning any event is to know what type of event you want to plan and who you want to attend. Your audience affects where and when you hold your event and the type of event you plan. For businessmen, maybe an early morning pre-work breakfast meeting would be a good fit. If you want families to attend, a weekend picnic with outdoor activities could be fun. If you want to attract dads to a dads group meeting, make sure to plan your event around their work schedule. Know your folks and their work schedules – do they work 9-5 or irregular schedules? The more convenient the time, the better chance you have that they’ll attend. When planning your location, make sure it’s easy to get to and to park. If folks require public transportation, try to find a location on a bus or subway line. If they are driving, make sure that parking is available.
- What makes someone want to attend?
There are many different factors that motivate folks to attend events. Maybe they want to learn something, have fun, or share experiences with others. By knowing your audience, you can plan your event to suit their needs and interests. If you want to plan a couples only event, consider offering child care. Food is always a great motivator – it’s harder to get someone to attend a lunch time event if you aren’t providing lunch! If your event is instructional or information-based, make sure that the topic is timely and useful to those you are inviting. When choosing the dates of your event, make sure to keep holidays, local events, and other potential conflicts in mind. Overall, keep things positive and fun! You want people to want to attend!
- How much does it cost and how are you going to pay for it?
One of the most important pieces of your event planning is planning your budget. If you are doing a fundraising event, a budget is critical to create and adhere to in order to raise money. If you don’t know how much you are going to spend, you won’t know how much you need to raise to break even and make money. Your budget will also affect the type and scope of your event. Are you holding a 24/7 Dad workshop for fathers in your offices or a high-end fundraising gala? Knowing your budget will help you determine what you can do and make sure that you are making the best decisions. Consider including expenses such as: staff time, marketing (invitations/programs/posters), materials (copies, giveaways, handbooks, T-shirts, etc.), food and beverage, location, travel/transportation for staff or special guests, supplies, decorations, etc.
Now that you know your budget, you have to figure out how you are going to cover your expenses. The type of event you choose will play a role in paying for your expenses. Perhaps you want to charge guests to attend. This can be a great financial strategy, but it also might deter some people from attending. Or, maybe soliciting donations is the best option. Remember to reach out not only to corporations and foundations, but also to individuals and local businesses – this is a great way to get the whole community involved. Don’t limit donations to just cash – an in-kind donation of food, supplies, or a location can be just as helpful.
- How do you get the word out?
Reaching out to potential attendees in an effective and time-sensitive manner is critical to good attendance. There are two major parts to marketing your event – format and advance notice. You want to reach out to folks the way they will be most responsive. For instance, if you are planning an event for young guys, an evite or web-based response format will be the most effective. This is technology that they use often and are comfortable with, which encourages responses. To reach an older audience, a more formal printed invitation may garner more attention. In addition to choosing the most effective marketing format, you should also make sure to start promoting it well in advance – at least a month in advance, and maybe more depending on the scope of the event. And don’t forget to remind people a couple of weeks before!