Best Practices for Successful Special-event Execution
September 13, 2005
By Judy Allen
Poor event planning, preparation and day-of performance can result in your special event running at a loss, failing to attract new sponsors, being unable to pull in media attention and leaving committee members struggling with ticket sales not just this year but for future events as well. Not knowing what to ask or what red-flag areas to look out for can have serious repercussions -- and they can be costly. For example, organizers of one event -- after an "estimated" costing contract was signed off on -- found themselves facing more than $100,000 in unexpected costs -- and that was from just one line item; many other hidden costs were revealed as their event progressed.
In order to receive maximum results and meet and exceed event expectations, fundraising event chairs, their committee members and volunteers need to be willing to invest time and provide training in the art of successful event planning and execution. There are many places to turn to for guidance, everything from books to classes to expert consultants. If you got the last route, be sure to do more than simply hire a consultant to do the event; learn from the pros so that you and your team can become fully informed on the principles of event planning.
In addition to the creative side of event design and coordination, there's a business side that is often -- but should not be -- overlooked, which requires sales, marketing, strategic planning, negotiations, budget management, timing and logistics savvy. When selecting your committee heads and chairs and assigning volunteers, look at the skills they bring to your organization and how, where and when they can be best utilized for event success.
Special events -- on their own -- require expertise with all or some of the following event-planning elements: