I know, I know…I said I was going to be better about staying consistent with blogging this year and well, I haven’t been. So, it’s time to get real. I was REALLY busy in April and May with three fun events (two hosted receptions in April and a black-tie gala fundraiser in May) so my focus was really consumed by those events…but now I’m back!
As I reflect on these one-night-only events, I want to share some key takeaways that are important for any standalone event:
1.Volunteers can be a big asset – IF they’re set up for success.
For the black-tie gala fundraiser, we had 20 volunteers who were available to assist with registration check-in/check-out, secure the silent auction tables/items and be spotters for the live auction.
Although this was my first time planning this event, I made sure that myself and our registration coordinator did a thorough training of our volunteers upon arrival to the venue.
They needed to know exactly what we wanted them to do and what we expected of them throughout the event. Having extra people just hang around without a purpose can be a distraction to event attendees, so I wanted to make sure we did everything we could to set our volunteers up for success.
2.Proactive communication saves a LOT of time.
For the hosted receptions I planned in April, there were about 40 individuals who were acting as event hosts. They all have questions…and they all need answers.
In an effort to provide them all with the information that I knew they would need at some point in the planning process, I developed a series of email communications called “Host Updates”.
Think of these updates as a very detailed FAQ. By thinking proactively about all of the information I knew the hosts needed and wanted in order for them to feel prepared for the event…and then sending it out periodically with current information…it dramatically cut down on the amount of time I spent on emails to/from this host group.
3.Having reliable support staff is invaluable.
For both events, I was fortunate to have my best support team backing me up onsite. My spouse, Mic Johnson, is a wiz at social media and his expertise was needed for the April event where posts and updates needed to be made in the days leading up to the event and onsite.
He also supported me for the May event when muscle was needed to move 16 cases of donated wine to the venue.
I also had my good friend and skilled Certified Meeting Planner (CMP) with me for both events too, Melissa Whitaker. She is thoughtful, logistically minded and asks all the right questions when we’re working together. I so appreciate her thoroughness and professionalism each time she helps support one of my client events.
I’m so very thankful to my clients and to the people who support MJMeetings and allow me to do the work I love to do. And I’m especially thankful for a busy Spring and looking forward to the rest of the year!
If you have any questions about meeting or event planning or would like to know more about how I help associations and businesses, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 913-645-6649. I’d love to hear from you!