Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia

YOU and the Details of Event Planning

In Uncategorized on February 4, 2014 at 1:09 pm

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It’s all in the details.

A crucial aspect of working for a not-for-profit organization is fund development. YOU have to collect consistent funds to secure the longevity of the organization. The Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia is now the third not-for-profit organization I’ve worked for, so I thought I’d try and give YOU what I have learned during these experiences. Here are some aspects of event planning that I hope will help YOU:

• YOU can’t do it all yourself.

This is a lesson I have learned and seen others learn (sometimes the hard way). Everyone wants to be in control and when YOU are the main coordinator of an event YOU have to be to a certain degree. But at times YOU need to put your trust in others to ensure the success of the event. I also think this “phenomenon” has a tendency to spread throughout an organization. I mean who doesn’t like to be in control? But with events (especially larger scale ones) it is near impossible to do-it-all-yourself. The key is to be able to trust others to complete the job YOU don’t have time for yourself.

• Finding yourself missing small details.

To use a cliché (going against everything I have ever been taught in public relations): “It’s the little things that can make a big difference.” Believe me, I didn’t want to use that overstated line but hey why not right? Are clichés really that bad? But that’s a topic for another time. Now to get back on track, sometimes the smallest of details can make a monumental difference for a person’s perception of an event. I think that last line was my psychology background talking. Anyway, let’s use the example of the recent Alzheimer Society’s Research Breakfasts (I hope you attended). These breakfasts are planned right down to the bone. From big details of who the guest speakers are, what the venue is, what’s on the menu (good food), to the smallest of details like the parking and the seating plan. Not to forget possibly the most important variable: Time.

• YOU plan every minute out, oh and have a backup plan.

Time can get away from YOU quickly. YOU have to account for any problems that can arise anywhere during an event. Someone can call in sick (one of our guest speakers did), traffic, weather, technology and the list goes on and on…Of course YOU can’t forecast every problem but YOU can have an issue management plan. For example, having a backup speaker or at least someone that could replace a fallen speaker if something would ever happen. And don’t say it won’t happen because it happened to the Society at the Research Breakfast, but we had a plan.

• Making sure there is a reason for YOU to attend; a.k.a. your audience.

This is especially important when YOU create a new event. There has to be a reason that your audience will want to attend. A survey on your social media page or taken by past clients or participates is one way of finding out if YOU have “lightning in bottle” or a “container full of trash.”

• Receiving feedback from your guests.

I touched on this a bit on the previous point but I thought I would take it one step farther. A few days after the event ends (when the event is fresh in their minds), have your guests fill out a feedback forum through an email or mail. Email is obviously much more efficient, cost effective and faster but some people just don’t have email or rarely check it. As long as YOU get a good representation of your guests then YOU can receive accurate feedback on your event and make corrections for the next one.

• Lastly thank your guests.

As I thank YOU for reading this post, do the same to your guests. They didn’t have to be there, but they came out. So thank them for their time.

I hope this post has helped YOU in the field of event planning. I know some of these suggestions may appear to be quite obvious but they can be overlooked easily; especially by a novice-planner. Remember the details, and of course remember to have fun!

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