Veteran of the “Event trenches!”
◦ Themed birthday parties for my kids ~ every year
◦ Events for my own company for 12 years
◦ Events for clients such as Kodak and Xerox
STC Program Manager for two years/Barbara
Knight 2008. Spectrum Co-chair 2011…plus
a whole bunch of other impressive stuff.
◦ Why are you having a party for Chappy?
◦ Party prep time and costs
◦ Attendance projections
◦ Figure out what you will gain from inviting guests
(baseline, upside, downside)
Target your audience members. Figure out what
they like, and make sure that you list related event
details in their invitations.
Figure out how many kiddos you can afford to
entertain and what contribution you want them to
make (“Bring a buck…or a “buck?”)
◦ Quality of Food ***********
◦ Size of room/party dynamics
◦ Uniqueness of entertainment
◦ Skills and uniqueness of “teacher” ***********
Food phasing…”Little Chappy will be late!”
Is Jack also having a party on the same day?
◦ If five of Chappy’s friends cancel, is the venue
flexible? What if his friends bring friends?
◦ Menu revisions−for cost or allergies
◦ “Lock-down” dates
◦ Volume discounts or freebies
Event budget/fees (…adequate for downside?)
Is there a deposit required to reserve? What
does it cover? When is it due?
Are you required to sign a party contract?
◦ If a written contract is not required, you are still in
an oral contract. Get all of the details and fees in
Fees you need to inquire about:
◦ Room rental fees
◦ Food costs
◦ Gratuity (Standard 20% for some venues)
◦ Server fees for kiddie bar or food setup ($45 per
◦ Linen fees ($5-$7 per tablecloth, 50 cents per
◦ Décor fees
Fees you need to inquire about (cont.):
◦ Internet access fees
◦ AV fees (slide or overhead projector, screen, or flip
charts so you can give the kids a show)!
◦ Promotional materials/sign fees
◦ Table and chair rental (if catered)
◦ Coat rack rental/coat room fees
◦ Parking and security fees
Do not forget to provide the venue with:
◦ Tax exempt certificate for Chappy’s non-profit play
◦ Certificate of insurance (if requested) so that the
venues don’t worry about the kids destroying the
◦ Set-up instructions
◦ A list of any special food requests
◦ Your phone number to give to the chef or the event
coordinator in case there are last minute changes.
“Guarantees” are fees for unused food,
rooms, etc. based on either “minimums” or
◦ Remember to negotiate for the best deal for
Chappy! An event contract is a “suggestion” until it
◦ All establishments have policies, but most of them
will be flexible to obtain business.
Things you might be able to negotiate:
◦ Free hotel rooms when you are a host(ess).
◦ Donations from the venue to put into a raffle
◦ Free coffee or tea with a meal (for all of the adults)
◦ Less expensive dessert like cookies (even if those
are not on the menu)
◦ Free use of the event room if you order meals
◦ Free “teachers” if you buy them dinner
Get invitations for smaller events out 10 days
to 4 weeks in advance, and send reminders.
Get invitations for larger events out 2-3
months in advance, and send reminders with
increasing frequency until the day before
Social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn)
Websites and info boards
Direct e-mails and invitations
Word of mouth/personal invitations
Event mailing lists such as EventBrite
Media (TV, radio, newspapers, magazines)
Event web site, or web sites for Chappy’s
Email to Chappy’s Club
NOTE: It is not enough to sell the guest on
the event. You must “up-sell” whoever is
sending Chappy’s friends to the event.
(“Who is the boss of Chappy’s friends?” Find
that authority figure and convince him or
that Chappy’s friend should come to the
Your best publicity comes from people who
enjoyed past events, so:
◦ meet every guest who attends your events if
◦ help guests meet others who will build connections
with them, and
◦ make your events fun as well as educational.
Provide quality! Bad food (or sparse food)
and run-down venues communicate, “We will
do as little for you as possible, in order to
receive more and spend less.”
Negotiate the best value you can provide for a
quality event. People remember a good meal
spent with “friends.”