Refreshing a few key things can give your long-running event new life
It takes a special type of person to run an event. You plan and plan and plan, promote and promote and promote, and finally pray and pray and pray to whatever deity you trust. And then it’s here.
And you either nail it or it nails you. Then, it’s usually another whole year of planning until you can try again.
Our team at To the Point Collaborative manages events for clients. Between us, we have more than 50 years experience in all phases of event planning, promotion, and presentation. We especially like to work with two types of event clients: Established events (or conferences) that have somehow lost their zing/gone stale/need a reboot; and new events whose backers want to hit the ground running.
Both of these kinds of events present special challenges. On the face of it, first-time events would seem to be the most difficult to get right. But reviving an existing one is just as tough.
Invigorating your existing event
Here are 5 tips for achieving better outcomes for your repeat event. (It goes without saying that hiring a professional event manager like To the Point would be at the top of both lists!)
Changing the way you do things doesn’t have to be scary. Shaking things up shows growth, and the ability to be flexible and evolve with your audience.
- Eliminate one element of the event you always include. In most cases, that would be the raffle or the silent auction. These add-ons consume huge amounts of volunteer and staff time, and tell attendees nothing about your mission. If you don’t currently do a raffle or auction, identify another piece of the event that eats up time and money and doesn’t reiterate your mission. If you hate it, get rid of it.
- Add a new element. Make it something that is tied to your mission, and that is not burdened by raising X amount of dollars. It could be a 3-minute film featuring a volunteer or client. It could be the recognition of a key member of the organization–volunteer, donor, community partner. A photo booth or Walk of Fame, with your logo featured prominently in the background, can be fun and effective.
- Share social media photos and comments during your event. Why wait until after the event to share photos, tweets, and updates highlighting your event, when you can share those same elements during the event (or conference). New features such as social walls allow attendees to see their social media content streaming across the big screen, which creates excitement and a real sense of participating in the event. Additionally, such sharing can support any virtual fundraising you have wisely tied to your event.
- Take real-time videos of attendees on your iPhone. Set up a video booth or room. Contact key people–board members, donors, volunteers, clients–ahead of the event and schedule them for a video before or after the main portion of the event. Assign someone who can shoot iPhone videos to take very short (no more than two minute) videos on a particular topics. These capture the excitement of the event and can be used year-round to promote next year’s event.
- Follow up with your attendees within a week of the event. Curate your photos immediately, select 25-30 to share, and send them to attendees to remind them of how much they enjoyed the event. Include a soft ask if you like. The key here is connecting while they are still in the afterglow of your fabulous event.
Be on the lookout for our next post, on bringing joy to your first-time event, with 5 foundational tips that will ensure you and your audience have a great time, every step of the way.