1. Set objectives
Aan obvious starting point perhaps, but as event organisers, we have to ask ourselves why are we organising a particular event? Valid reasons may include generating income or pr, launching a new campaign, product or service, to promote the brand, or to impart learning. A critical analysis should ask what is it that a live event is going to offer that other marketing and information channels do not? As with all objectives, make sure they are SMART.
2. Format and content design
Once you’ve completed your feasibility study and determined that a live event is the best use of your budget to achieve your aims, an organiser need to consider the most appropriate format. For instance is it the intention to create intimate, niche events or large scale public events? What do you want the look and feel of your event to be? Is there a theme? If so, how are you going to ensure that the venue, speakers and ideas reflect the theme. Creating a diverse project team with the right skills mix will ensure elements from idea generation and creativity to practical logistical thinking, marketing and financial management are covered.
3. Event planning
Broadly speaking the events process falls into three categories – logistics, marketing and content. Every event will need a detailed project and financial plan, breaking down all these activities into timelines, resources and responsibilities, required to deliver the event. Financial questions to consider may include, how many attendees are needed to breakeven and how this impacts on cashflow. A contingency and risk management plan for all events needs to be implemented, and the higher the profile and larger the scale, the greater the contingency planning. Larger venues and local authorities are usually able to provide some guidance, however, if your event attracts large numbers of participants a dedicated health and safety consultant may be money well spent. Timing is the key here. Never underestimate how long it takes to get certain elements of the project completed and allow for slippage in the plan.
This is probably going to be one of the largest costs of your overall budget and there are many issues to consider when selecting a venue. Is a purpose built venue required or could consideration be given to a neutral space, such as a warehouse or outdoor marquee, which could be used as a blank canvass and dressed? Or perhaps an unusual, outdoor venue would be appropriate? Some of the key issues to think about include cost and service delivery; what are the hidden costs such as, stewarding, traffic marshals, first aid provision, furniture, electrical supply and most importantly the catering? There are numerous venue sourcing agencies that can help you find the perfect venue and negotiate the best rates.
It should go without saying that people are your most important asset in delivering a smooth event – your own team, volunteers, venue, caterers and all other suppliers. If it is a fundraising event being organised, it is likely that volunteers will be utilised. Recruiting volunteers should be on a par to recruiting employees. Design a brief job description, interview and hold a detailed briefing session. Having a professional appearance, a ‘can do’ attitude and being able to think and take action quickly are key, so the overall event team should be chosen to reflect these qualities. Every attendee who comes into contact with your team needs to see the dream team in action!