When planning an event, regardless of its purpose or size, it is important to take time to establish a plan for execution.
Identify a clear purpose for the event. First, establish who your audience is and then plan accordingly. Secondly, hold a planning meeting to outline with your team the core objectives and outcomes of the event so you can organize a well-focused event.
Is this an event to increase engagement for young alumni in your area?
Is this a career management event for the members of your club? Is this a fundraising gala for your scholarship?
Verify information is delivered clearly and concisely among the entire volunteer team. At the very beginning of the event planning process, take the time to share your event’s objective and your overall plan for execution with every member of your team.
Craft a detailed timeline. It may sound basic, but planning accordingly is important. Be mindful of time to set up as well as time to break down in agenda. Do not have the event start time as the arrival time for volunteers. Outline roles and responsibilities for all event volunteers.
Market the event in a timely manner. In marketing your event, remember to leave time for last-minute reminders in case your attendance is low. Depending on the event type and the number of attendees desired, you may start promoting your event one to three months in advance. Using multiple forms of media is helpful in the promotion of the event. Check the RSVP list regularly so you know if you should send another round of emails, mail invitations, or make additional posts on Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter.
Reference check speakers and performers. Do your research and when selecting a speaker, look at your event objective and/or purpose to ensure they align. If you are unsure of the speaker or simply unsure who would be a good speaker for your event ask for a reference through The Ohio State Alumni Association. View the speaker list here.
Read the fine print and know all the details. That includes all signed contracts, all written instructions, orders, and more. Read everything twice and don’t be afraid to ask questions before signing anything.
Check everything twice. Remember to confirm rentals, space, catering, etc. in enough time so if they are unavailable there is enough time to explore and/or secure other options.
Have a registration and/or sign-in table with a volunteer. This is a great opportunity to get to know your guests and welcome them. Having cheerful and engaging volunteers as guests enter the event allows for a strong first impression. This can also contribute to future engagement regarding invites.
Event pace and having a moderator is important. Along with a timeline for planning, it is a good idea to have a timeline for the actual event day, detailing event flow. This should also be shared with speakers and volunteers so everyone is aware of their role, responsibilities, and expectations. It is also helpful to have each segment divided by time, i.e. minutes and time given to accomplish each task.
Assist speaker with time cues. It is helpful to have a moderator or point person who is able to assist the speaker in being aware of the time left as well as assisting in exiting the stage/podium. This is especially helpful during Q& A portions of speaker events or if there are multiple speakers.
Post- event tips:
Saying “Thank You” goes a long way. Remember to thank your speaker(s), guests, and event volunteers. For speakers or key players, this can be as simples as a follow-up phone call, thank you letter, or gift. For volunteers, this can be a thank you letter, dinner celebration, or gift. For guests, this could be a giveaway leaving the event followed with information on how to get involved with the club or follow up with feedback.
Fill out and return post-event information for OSUAA and End of the Year reporting. Filling out this form is helpful in keeping track of events and event details, but also with evaluating the success of events regarding growth or decline in attendance.