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Let’s plan an event!


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2016 Event Planning Workshop hosted by the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce & CVB

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Let’s plan an event!

  1. 1. LET’S PLAN AN EVENT Liberty County Chamber of Commerce & CVB
  3. 3. WHAT DO WE DO IN A YEAR  10 Progress Through People Luncheons  On average 30+ ribbon cuttings  12 Business After Hours (2 that we handle everything for)  10 exhibit openings  4-8 workshops  9 Leadership Liberty Sessions (to include graduation & ATL visit)  Tourism Day at the Capitol  Film Day at the Capitol  Board Retreat  Cupcake War  2-4 Eggs & Issues Breakfasts  Chamber Annual Banquet
  4. 4. CONTINUED  Golf Tournament  Low Country Boil  1-2 Hail/Farewell events for Army  Celebrate at least 1 holiday per month membership wide  Legislative Appreciation every other year (2017)  3rd ID Day at the Capitol every other year (2017)  10+ SPLOST community meetings (2016)  Blues & BBQ  Christmas Parade  Christmas in the Park  Chili Cook-off (2016)  Chamber Backyard BBQ (2016 and ongoing)
  5. 5. HOW MANY WE DO IT WITH  A staff of 7 people puts together all of these events.  Some take place in the same week. Some in the same day.  Most of our volunteers come in with: Blues & BBQ, Christmas in the Park & the Christmas Parade. This is an additional 5-10 planning folks and 5-10 volunteers per event.  MARY
  6. 6. OUR HOW TO IS CALLED A “TO DO” Video
  7. 7. WHY A “TO DO” VS A “HOW TO”  Because everything has to get done. It doesn’t matter who does it. Or who gets credit for it.  Because while there is a semblance of “numbering” or sequencing of tasks, it still must all get done and if you’re doing it as a TEAM then everyone can be working on something.  How do you keep track of the “TO DO”  We use an Excel spreadsheet that we can all access at any time  If you are the “lead” for the event you set the deadline priority and assign tasks, otherwise people can choose tasks that they are either familiar with or have time to do amid their regular job duties.  If we don’t have file sharing how do I use this method? Use Google Docs/Sheets, it’s free & easy! Click here
  8. 8. EXAMPLE Task Done Who Follow-up order sponsor sign from xpress signs 28-SepLeah Pick up on Mon 10/3 ($120)- DONE by Mary call sponsors to get headcount Joey get "stuff" from sponsors per agreement Joey double check with Shell House they're all set; make sure we have tea 28-SepErin call 9/28 to verify numbers, verified tea and time for oysters Get Water
  9. 9. TO DO  What is the goal of your event?  To have a lot of people?  To make money?  To educate?  Just to be fabulous?  Why is this important?  Because without a goal you can’t plan. To educate, you may not want loud music and/or entertainment. To make money, you need to keep costs low & search for bargains more effectively. To have a lot of people, you might want to put more $ into marketing.  MARY
  10. 10. TO DO  Choose a date/time/location  A great idea when choosing a date is to check w/the Chamber & CVB for the community calendar, to include things like City/County Commission meetings, Ribbon Cuttings, Galas & more!  Be sure to check popular sports schedules locally & nationally. Especially football.  Be sure to think about the time of year & the weather.  Make sure that your venue can accommodate your chosen date or guess what? It’s not your date anymore!  Make sure your caterer can accommodate your date or same goes!  If you are using property other than your own, there may be a permitting process. Be sure to check and see what process you have to go thru.  MARY
  11. 11. TO DO  Budget  Sample event bud  Why budget & how to track  Unless you’re independently wealthy we all need to watch pennies.  Even if your goal isn’t to make money, one of your goals should be to have a great event as cost effectively as possible.  Whether you are the bookkeeper or someone else is, make sure that expenses are tracked where you can see them at all times. Expenses Sunday Evening Event Sound/lighting Transportation (bus) Tent Rental Table cloths/cleaning Entertainment Facility cost Fans Printing costs/Binders Invite printing Food Promotional Products/gifts Light Rental Table/Chair Rental Centerpieces/décor Postage Security/Crossing Guards Alcohol Bartender Postage Liquor Rider for Insurance Ice Miscellaneous Expenses Signs Total:
  12. 12. TO DO  Committee/Staff Driven  Depending on the size of your event determine how large of a committee you may need to plan that event.  Set a regular meeting schedule BEFORE or at the first meeting & stick to it.  Assign/request volunteers for sub committees.  Determine if you will need additional volunteers for your event beyond committee members.  Sometimes it is MUCH easier to keep things internal and run them yourself. Less opinions.
  13. 13. TO DO  Entertainment  If you need entertainment this should be done very early on. A lot of bands, solo performers & other groups book months in advance. Waiting until 4 weeks before your event is not the time! And most require a deposit.  Ask for a contract. If they don’t have one do one yourself. This should include the price, how must they be paid, how long they will play/sing/perform and any other concessions you have to make (food, beverages, merch tables, etc.)  For larger events you usually have a “rider” from the performer with certain requirements for sound and equipment. Pass this info along to your sound technician and make sure the two communicate well in advance.  Make sure you are aware of any electrical needs. Bands often plug in so much stuff that a regular 110v wall outlet is not sufficient. You may have to get an electrician to install a “jump box” to avoid tripping breakers.  TIP-negotiate with an artist who may be in your area already. (how do I know that?)  Make sure you understand the stage requirements for things like space needed & overhang height  Make sure you understand any dietary restrictions of your entertainers.  MARY
  14. 14. TO DO  Permitting  City of Hinesville requires permits for 50 or more people. This is an Assembly Permit. Click here. This should be done at a minimum of 30 days prior to your event by their policy. Our recommendation is to do it at least 90 days prior. Especially if you are going to need HPD/Fire/Public Works support.  Are you having alcohol at your event?  If your event is in the City of Hinesville limits then you are required to get a local permit for alcohol consumption.  That local permit then has to go to the State for approval through an online process that takes at minimum 30 days to complete.  From there you can order alcohol, providing the approved permit to a distributor.  You are also required to get an “alcohol rider” on your insurance policy to protect yourself, committee members, the facility and your business/organization.  Having alcohol at your event will require some type of security.  Having alcohol requires some type of ID check system (remember flashlights & separate colored bracelet for drinkers who are of age)  ERIN
  15. 15. TO DO  Money  For large events an on-site banker is best. Someone who is behind the scenes, collecting cash quietly and locking it away somewhere.  For ticketed events one person again handling the money is best. He/she sees to the change needs and is ultimately responsible if money is misallocated.  ERIN
  16. 16. TO DO  Make a site plan.  Even if you don’t really know where everything is going to go exactly, it is useful to have, especially for volunteers & those new to your organization/business.  Things like: where are the trashcans, vehicle parking, water sources, bathrooms, emergency vehicle parking, first aid kit  And then eventually for a large public event: vendor layout, volunteer rest station, registration, stage, etc.  TIP: A Mother’s Area is something we get requested a lot at large scale events.  TIP: Knowing the rules/laws/ordinances on pets based on your event location.
  17. 17. TO DO  Sponsors  If your event requires a budget outside of your organization/business then you may have to find sponsors.  Sponsors are going to want bang for their bucks! And they’re going to want a written package.  Make sure you require a sponsorship contract that clearly outlines what you’re giving, what they’re receiving and when money is due.  Make sure you fulfill your obligation to the sponsor and follow up with a thank you card afterwards. If you are posting on social media on their behalf, tell them those results.  If they get free tickets, make sure you confirm the number who are attending, as the number of free people can frequently get increased without your knowledge.
  18. 18. TO DO  Marketing/Collateral Materials  Name your event-this will be the “branded” name  Use of the word Annual before the 2nd year causes confusion & what if you decide not to do it again?  Incorporate the event into your existing advertising, public relations & marketing campaigns.  Let’s talk about Facebook events (  Why/when should I create one  Why should I boost one  How do I track attendance  How do I cross post events  Why shouldn’t I create a separate Facebook page just for my event?  Create an individual press release on every production element of the event.  Sponsors  Entertainment schedule  Where do proceeds go  Be sure to use social media and cross promote with other community events/organizations where you are able.  Remember that the Chamber/CVB does free flyer design for community events  If an invite is required, save-the-dates are great 2 months out & a regular invite a month out.  If you have to order signage for sponsors or marketing, order several weeks in advance & set a plan to go pick it up.
  19. 19. TO DO  Security  Based on location of your event (Hinesville or elsewhere) you may be required to have officers present.  The number of officers is determined by the law enforcement agency based on the number of people you think maybe present.  To schedule officers for Hinesville you contact Kirkendall (368-8211) and for the Sheriff’s Dept it’s Nestor  It is often helpful to have skilled traffic officers as well for large events to help with parking.  Be sure to include paying these people in your budget. They do not work for free. Traffic officers are typically $15 per hour and security is $20 per hour.  MARY
  20. 20. TO DO  Shopping List  Best to do several days before the event. After you have gotten everything from storage/office supply closet, etc. ready to go. That way any “I thought I had them items” can be scratched off & not duplicated.  Shopping lists are best done in DETAIL. Don’t just put salsa, put 16 oz of salsa or 24 oz, otherwise you may get 5 gallons. If the detail doesn’t concern you then assure the “shopper” that the detail is not important, i.e. string color.  For events that you do monthly or yearly, keep your shopping list so you do not have to recreate the wheel each time.  We encourage people to shop local and shop Liberty, however, sometimes Sam’s is a needed thing. And Sam’s is a Chamber member! Win-win!  A handwritten shopping list is NOT preferable if you are NOT the shopper. If someone else is completing this task taking 5 minutes to type it to ensure that Leah Ground Meat is actually Lean Ground Meat is one of those necessary evils.  Choose your shopping time wisely. Don’t head to Walmart at noon or 4pm, it’s going to be busy.  Have a plan for the day to shop based on your space to store stuff. If you buy 15 pounds of meat it has to go somewhere before your event. If you don’t have a refrigerator or space to store you have just wasted time and money. Same goes for beverages that must be kept cold. If you purchase beer cold you have to KEEP IT cold. MARY
  21. 21. TO DO  Alcohol Purchase  What to buy  We typically do beer & wine  Wine  We usually do a Moscato, Reisling & Merlot.  There are far more Moscato drinkers in Liberty County than the other types of wine.  You don’t chill the red. You do chill the others.  Make sure you have a corkscrew.  Make sure you have cups.  We usually do liter bottles a 2 to 1 ratio on the whites and 3 to 1 on the reds. So more moscato, then more reisling and less merlot.  Koozies are gold.  We typically do a domestic and import beer  Usually Budlight & YuengLing are the most popular  We prefer kegs, less trash & less work  If you must order other, use cans, they WEIGH far less.  Remember if it comes cold, it’s kept cold. If it’s not cold, it needs to be iced at least 4 hours prior to the event.  Icing beverages requires FAR MORE ice than you realize. You will need at least 10 bags for 2 large coolers to fill them ONE time. Re-icing as it melts will require an additional cooler with bags inside.
  22. 22. TO DO  Storage/Supply List  Type out what you’re going to need from your closets, storage units, etc. and also use this same list to solicit donations from board members, volunteers and others.  It’s best to go over the list with your entire group because what one person remembers another may forget.  Remember to always pack & take a tool bag. Complete with: scissors, hammer/nails, rope, fishing line, tape of various sorts and zip ties.  Gather stuff from storage/closets the week of the event. Early in the week so you can replace missing or broken items.  For night time events don’t forget flashlights & test the batteries.  Extra pens/markers are also always helpful.  Make sure you have a vehicle or vehicles that are large enough to transport everything. Or think about renting a Uhaul or other truck.  MARY
  23. 23. TO DO  Decorate  Ideas  Pinterest is always helpful  Local stores like Stacy’s Florist or Carla’s  Good websites to order from:    Plan  Do you know where tablecloths are coming from if you need them? Do you have to clean them? How much are they? Remember to add to budget.  Do you know where the tables/chairs are coming from if you need them? Do you have to clean them? How much are they? Remember to add to budget.  Do you have to move them into place for your event? Plan manpower.  Have a decorating plan/vision so others can help you.  When storing decorations for later, labeled totes are great.
  24. 24. TO DO  Set up  If tables/chairs are required  Decorations  Signage  Sign in/Registration place  Trash receptacles  Sound system  Stage  Bathrooms  Vendors  Entertainment  Tents if required  MARY
  25. 25. TO DO  Take Down  If tables/chairs are required  Decorations  Signage  Sign in/Registration place  Trash receptacles  Sound system  Stage  Bathrooms  Vendors  Entertainment  Tents if required  MARY
  26. 26. TO DO  Volunteers  Volunteer matrix sent out at least a month prior  This should contain assignment duties  Time slots  Where to meet  What to wear (matching shirts, even if you can’t afford to buy one, just request everyone wear one color is VERY helpful especially for large scale events)  Assign volunteers/staff to tasks that best suit their personality & lessen your frustration. i.e. a timid staff person will not do well on Stage Management or Traffic Control.  Remind volunteers/staff to bring extra clothes just in case of inclement weather or south Georgia heat.  Lost & Found & Question Booth  Helpful for large scale events for both event-goers & your volunteers
  27. 27. TO DO  Vendors  Ensure access to restrooms  Make sure they have a copy of the map. Emergency routes and routes in/out  Ensure access to trash/recycle bins  Ensure they understand your set-up and tear down times.  Ensure they understand any public dumping of things like grease/oil or water could results in fines from the City and/or Environmental Health and that you may not allow them back in.  Be sure to let them know about access to potable water or lack thereof.  Be sure to let them know about access to power or lack thereof.  Be sure to have a signed application. We have found that a charge of some kind, even if it’s only $5 will hold people to the commitment. Or a refundable deposit. Keeps you from scrambling day of to make up that “face painter that never showed.”  Based on the event provide a list of suggested activities or restricted activities (i.e. NO SANTA at Christmas in the Park)
  28. 28. TO DO  Catering/Food  Whether the caterer has their own contract or not, use your contract. Your contract outlines when you expect to arrive, when you expect to leave, what they are serving, what the cost is to include any hidden fees, if catering tables are provided, if tablecloths are provided, etc.  Have their contact info (a CELL number) and make sure they have yours (a CELL number). And we recommend a second back-up person for both as well.  Choose the caterer as early as possible.  Menu choices should be based on preference and location. It’s the south…Mango Chicken will not go over well. Most have menus that they should be able to provide.  We remind the week of, confirm final headcount several days prior and then cross your fingers & toes that everything goes as planned.  The Chamber/CVB has a list of member caterers that we are happy to share and experience with all of them.  We have found that with lunch and dinner events people will demand dessert. It is definitely an expectation. Plan accordingly.  MARY
  29. 29. OTHER TO DO  Last minute reminders:  Sprinklers  Trash drop off and pick-up  Tent drop off and pick-up  Table/chair drop off and pick-up  Sign placement  Décor drop off and pick-up  Always have water extra. Caterers do not typically leave anything. And people are still thirsty who don’t drink alcohol.  Don’t forget to assign someone to picture taking.  If you need a flag for the Pledge of Allegiance make sure to take one or ask the venue if they one. Don’t assume.  Same goes for a podium and for a sound system.  If you need reserved signs and/or programs make sure to add them to the to do list.  Luncheons are always SO quiet, you can hear people chew. Good to bring an ipod and speaker to break up the sound.  Always take extra extension cords. MARY
  30. 30. OTHER TO DO  Last minute reminders:  Barricades/cones  Possibly walk the area of your event, handing out reminders to businesses you may impact  Always bring extra trash bags  Bring staff & volunteer food. Nothing makes staff & volunteers grumpier than being hungry.  If you’ve identified “problem children” before the event make sure you focus special attention on their reminders and handling them specifically. Not just a bulk email.  Large scale events may require things like street sweeping and/or community service workers for trash pick-up. Be sure to coordinate that or else hear about it on Facebook the next day.  Large scale events may require light towers.  Large scale events may require golf carts, gators, 4 wheelers & Southern Lincs.  Fans are always appreciated.  To go boxes for extra food.  Citronella is also appreciated at times.  Door prizes if required. MARY
  32. 32. AND FINALLY  As long as your group of staff and volunteers work together as a team to follow the plan you have set in place & agreed to everything should go pretty smoothly.  HOWEVER, every single event is new and no matter how many times you do it, there is ALWAYS going to be a snafu of some sort. Remaining calm and cool and knowing who needs to handle a situation is key.