Special events 101


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The blueprint to designing an engaging, compelling and memorable event

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Special events 101

  1. 1. Special Events 101 The blueprint to designing an engaging, compelling and memorable event Presented by Carlita Pitts Assistant Director of Donor Relations & Reunions The Ohio State University, Moritz College of Law
  2. 2. ABOUT ME! <ul><li>Carlita Pitts, B.A. </li></ul><ul><li>I currently serve as the Assistant Director of </li></ul><ul><li>Donor Relations and Reunions at The Ohio </li></ul><ul><li>State University, Moritz College of Law. </li></ul><ul><li>In my position, I oversee donor relations, </li></ul><ul><li>stewardship and special events. </li></ul><ul><li>The Ohio State University is the </li></ul><ul><li>largest university in the United States. </li></ul><ul><li>We have 425,000 living alumni around the </li></ul><ul><li>world and boast a global presence through </li></ul><ul><li>more than 50 alumni societies and 200 clubs </li></ul><ul><li>throughout the world. </li></ul>COUNCIL FOR ADVANCEMENT AND SUPPORT OF EDUCATION
  3. 3. <ul><li>Events are a critical element in building relationships with clients, alumni, donors and prospects. A great experience creates loyalty and could generate great publicity for your organization. </li></ul><ul><li>There are many types of special events that can provide an engaging and memorable experience: </li></ul><ul><li>Reunions/Homecomings Community Service </li></ul><ul><li>Capital Campaigns Golf Tournament </li></ul><ul><li>Groundbreaking ceremonies Wine Tasting </li></ul><ul><li>Dedications Holiday Events </li></ul><ul><li>Recognition Events Educational Programs </li></ul>
  4. 4. SCENARIO <ul><li>Your manager informs you that are in charge of planning a golf </li></ul><ul><li>tournament to raise money for an endowed scholarship. </li></ul><ul><li>The scholarship was created by a professional golf player in </li></ul><ul><li>memory of an alumnus of your institution who was very active in </li></ul><ul><li>golf. The event facility should be exclusive and upscale because </li></ul><ul><li>of the targeted audience. The goal of the event is to raise money, </li></ul><ul><li>engage current and prospective donors, and generate publicity for </li></ul><ul><li>the upcoming campaign. </li></ul>COUNCIL FOR ADVANCEMENT AND SUPPORT OF EDUCATION
  6. 6. START WITH THE BASICS <ul><li>Create a detailed event strategy </li></ul><ul><li>The initial step in your planning strategy is to identify how your event can impact the </li></ul><ul><li>organization’s bottom line and meet your goals. </li></ul><ul><li>What is the intended purpose of the event? Define your goal and make sure that it is </li></ul><ul><li>measurable. </li></ul><ul><li>Raise money. </li></ul><ul><li>Cultivate new donor prospects or volunteers. </li></ul><ul><li>Increase public awareness & bring attention to your cause or mission. </li></ul><ul><li>Keep in mind that there is a major difference between events that raise money and those that </li></ul><ul><li>raise awareness. Fundraising events generally raise more money and gain less public </li></ul><ul><li>awareness and have the following characteristics: </li></ul><ul><li>High individual cost to participate. </li></ul><ul><li>Smaller attendance. </li></ul><ul><li>Administrative & advertising investment could be lower. </li></ul><ul><li>More donor prospects. </li></ul><ul><li>Those attending have a greater loyalty to the organization. </li></ul>COUNCIL FOR ADVANCEMENT AND SUPPORT OF EDUCATION
  7. 7. START WITH THE BASICS <ul><li>Public awareness events generally raise visibility but usually require a high </li></ul><ul><li>investment of time for the return and normally have the following characteristics: </li></ul><ul><li>Low individual cost to participate. </li></ul><ul><li>Larger attendance/higher visibility. </li></ul><ul><li>Higher administrative and advertisement investment. </li></ul><ul><li>Fewer donor prospects. </li></ul><ul><li>Less loyalty to the organization by attendees. </li></ul><ul><li>Based on this information, you need to decide where your event falls within these </li></ul><ul><li>categories and plan accordingly. </li></ul>
  8. 8. START WITH THE BASICS <ul><li>2. What is the nature of the activity: </li></ul><ul><li>Educational </li></ul><ul><li>Social </li></ul><ul><li>Recreational </li></ul><ul><li>Service </li></ul><ul><li>Fundraising </li></ul><ul><li>3. Who is the prospective audience? </li></ul><ul><li>Alumni </li></ul><ul><li>Donor prospects </li></ul><ul><li>Friends of the organization/Current donors </li></ul><ul><li>Businesses or the local community </li></ul>
  9. 9. WHATS NEXT? <ul><li>Select a date </li></ul><ul><li>Choosing a date can be very tricky. You will want to put a significant amount of </li></ul><ul><li>research into selecting a date. Here are some tips that will help with identifying a </li></ul><ul><li>date for your event. </li></ul><ul><li>Check the local community calendar. </li></ul><ul><li>Check for events that may specifically affect your audience/competing events. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t schedule events on holidays. </li></ul><ul><li>Be mindful of religious observances. </li></ul><ul><li>Double check to make sure that the date is available for staff, key volunteers, and those affected by the event . </li></ul>
  10. 10. Create a Budget <ul><li>Identify the financial arrangements necessary: </li></ul><ul><li>Some of the most common mistakes made in event planning are undercharging and </li></ul><ul><li>overspending. Financial problems result because organizers tend to over/under </li></ul><ul><li>estimate how many people will attend a function. </li></ul><ul><li>A safe formula for budgeting is to underestimate attendance by 15-20 percent, and </li></ul><ul><li>overestimate expenses by 10-15 percent. The following slide is a sample budget, and </li></ul><ul><li>The figures used are only examples. Your actual costs will vary depending on the </li></ul><ul><li>specific event. </li></ul>COUNCIL FOR ADVANCEMENT AND SUPPORT OF EDUCATION
  13. 13. RESOURCES <ul><li>Assess your needs: Identify what arrangements and resources are necessary. </li></ul><ul><li>Volunteers </li></ul><ul><li>Staff </li></ul><ul><li>Media </li></ul><ul><li>Vendor Relationships </li></ul><ul><li>Corporate/Business Relationships </li></ul>
  14. 14. VENUE SELECTION <ul><li>Deciding the best event space venue for your event is critical to your program's overall success. The following roadmap will help guide you through steps in choosing event space: </li></ul><ul><li>Scope out different locations. The venue must have an appropriate space for the type of event </li></ul><ul><li>an organization plans to hold. You must also conduct a site visit. </li></ul><ul><li>Does the event venue meet the special criteria of your program? </li></ul><ul><li>Does the condition of the facility reflect the high standards of your organization? </li></ul><ul><li>Can the venue accommodate your production, entertainment, A/V, sound, and other technical needs? </li></ul><ul><li>Do they have a variety of seating options (conference style, theatre style, cocktail tables, rounds, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>Does the facility have enough restrooms for the number of attendees? </li></ul><ul><li>Is there adequate parking? </li></ul><ul><li>Is security provided if necessary? </li></ul><ul><li>Is it handicap accessible? </li></ul><ul><li>Is it easy to locate? </li></ul>COUNCIL FOR ADVANCEMENT AND SUPPORT OF EDUCATION
  15. 15. VENUE SELECTION <ul><li>Catering </li></ul><ul><li>Does the space have a caterer on site? Can you select your own? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Do they have a list of approved caterers? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Buffet, served or pre-set meal. This will depend on the type of event and the timing. </li></ul><ul><li>Do any of the attendees have dietary restrictions? </li></ul><ul><li>Will the attendees be pleased with what is being offered? </li></ul><ul><li>Does the food selection fit with the overall theme of the event? </li></ul><ul><li>Do they provide linen, centerpieces or can you bring your own if necessary? </li></ul><ul><li>If alcohol is being served, be sure to ask whether or not they have a liquor licence. </li></ul><ul><li>Consider service and image . </li></ul><ul><li>A venue's reputation for service is critical. This is often the difference between holding a good event and producing a great event. </li></ul><ul><li>What is the tenure of the conference manager, catering manager and executive chef? </li></ul><ul><li>Will the management treat you like a VIP client or one of multiple programs? </li></ul><ul><li>How much flexibility is the venue willing to extend to you? </li></ul><ul><li>Be sure to have your legal team or an expert review the contract. </li></ul>
  16. 16. PUBLICITY <ul><li>Arrange for publicity of the event: </li></ul><ul><li>Save the date cards </li></ul><ul><li>Invitations </li></ul><ul><li>Email blast </li></ul><ul><li>Website </li></ul><ul><li>Newsletters </li></ul><ul><li>Newspaper & Magazines </li></ul><ul><li>Publications </li></ul><ul><li>Social Media </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Facebook </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Twitter </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Blogs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Event Brite </li></ul></ul><ul><li>TV & Radio </li></ul><ul><li>Phone calls </li></ul>COUNCIL FOR ADVANCEMENT AND SUPPORT OF EDUCATION
  17. 17. THE WEEK/DAY OF THE EVENT <ul><li>Nametags/Place cards </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Bring blank nametags for those who didn’t rsvp or a nametag printer. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Finalize registration list. </li></ul><ul><li>Confirm final program details/agenda with speakers/emcees. </li></ul><ul><li>Reminder phone calls/emails. </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure decorations/linen/equipment is available. </li></ul><ul><li>Report final count to caterer. </li></ul><ul><li>Check to make sure sound equipment is working correctly. </li></ul><ul><li>Prepare any necessary signage. </li></ul><ul><li>Coordinate volunteers for registration tables or other duties. </li></ul><ul><li>Inspect the facility. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Check to make sure the restrooms, windows, silverware, dishes, and linen are clean </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Inspect site to make sure the room arrangement is conducive to your event </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Discuss photos with the photographer to ensure that he captures the images that you want. </li></ul>COUNCIL FOR ADVANCEMENT AND SUPPORT OF EDUCATION
  18. 18. EVENT FOLLOW UP <ul><li>Debrief with staff, volunteers, and others involved for constructive feedback </li></ul><ul><li>Send a post event follow-up survey to attendees and volunteers </li></ul><ul><li>Send a thank you note to those who attended </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure all outstanding invoices are paid </li></ul><ul><li>Send photos to those who attended. </li></ul>COUNCIL FOR ADVANCEMENT AND SUPPORT OF EDUCATION
  19. 19. THANK YOU <ul><li>Carlita M. Pitts </li></ul><ul><li>The Ohio State University </li></ul><ul><li>Moritz College of Law </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>www.linkedin.com/in/carlitapitts </li></ul><ul><li>www.facebook.com/carlitap </li></ul>COUNCIL FOR ADVANCEMENT AND SUPPORT OF EDUCATION