DIY Event & Exhibition Planning


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Tips to effectively plan and successfully execute a special event; prepared by Jenni Rebecca Stephenson of Spacetaker Artist Resource Center

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DIY Event & Exhibition Planning

  1. 1. Spacetaker ARC Workshop
  2. 2. DIY Event & Exhibition PlanningTips to effectively plan and successfully execute a special eventWith Jenni Rebecca Stephenson, Spacetaker &Input from Lindsay Peyton, Cadence Enterprises
  3. 3. Mantra to embrace:
  4. 4. This presentation will focus on: Timelines Budgets Rules & Liability Local Resources
  5. 5. Consider your goals…
  6. 6. Your answers will help shape your strategyTake a moment to consider whether a special event is the most effective means to achieve your goal.(i.e. when it comes to return on investment (ROI), special events can be a time & resource drain…and are historically a very inefficient means to raise money
  7. 7. And if your goal is…Good attendance at your exhibition for greaterexposure, do you regularly compile a contact list foryour advocates & collectors?Reaching a target audience of collectors, do youattend openings where collectors lurk? (Andintroduce yourself?) Securing support from the community or volunteerhelp, do you regularly attend others’ openings?Volunteer for their events? It seems obvious. But these steps are so often overlooked!!
  8. 8. Consider Scale of event Size of team involved Time commitments Up-front costsMeasurement of success
  9. 9. Let’s start with fundraising events… This is a give and take equation. Pros of intimate event Pros of blowout Less time required for planning & Larger reach & greater preparation awareness Ability to more deeply engage Possibility of raising status in attendees community Cache * Cache * *Clearly depends on your audience.
  10. 10. The absolute first things to do:Establish goal (intent)Assemble teamCreate a timelineDefine budget constraintsDetermine if these major factors work in tandem
  11. 11. The hierarchy of your team is (more or less):Event ChairHonoreeYou Know your role in the pecking order!*Steering or Host CommitteeVolunteersHired Event Staff * With use of someone‟s name & rolodex, comes compromise. Seek balance between autonomy & giving others ownership of your event‟s success
  12. 12. Agree upon roles & responsibilities from the OUTSETExample (for fundraiser): Raising critical funds for X (Involve team in setting tangible $ or ticket goals; make them personally accountable) Cultivating, educating, leading, and motivating committee members (and attendees) Building & nurturing new relationships with other organizations & new stakeholders within your community
  13. 13. Remember that NO event timeline &template is one-size-fits-all(and nothing ever goes according to plan)Furthermore, experts won’t always agree on‘Best Practices’(snail mail versus email? invitations sent at 3 or 6+ weeks?)So… be observant. Watch and track howyour target audience behaves.
  14. 14. 6-11 months out Decision on Chairs/Co-chairs Develop Event Committees w/ input from Chairs (Fund Development / Marketing / Auction / Volunteer) Discuss & determine event theme Review Logo Kit/letterhead needs 1st meeting with Chairs
  15. 15. 3-6 months out Select event date & book event venue 1st full committee meeting Evaluate Vendor needs & Requests for Proposals for Catering, Rentals, A/V (Audio/Visual), Printing Review list of corporate/underwriting targets with committees Determine underwriter levels & benefits Develop, print and compile Silent Auction solicitation & corporate sponsorship/program ad solicitation packets Media: Send Calendar Listing to society „glossies‟ (4 months out)
  16. 16. 3 months out Distribute Corporate Sponsorship / Program Ad Packet to potential Sponsors/Advertisers/Auction donors (Major gifts may require up to 12 months planning) Mail underwriter letters to identified targets (Underwriting/sponsorships should be secured by the time invitation is being designed @ 6-10 weeks) Develop detailed budget for event and review with event stakeholders (Get 100% buy-in!) Create payment portal for tickets Start collecting email addresses from event stakeholders for Save the Date
  17. 17. 2-3 months out Follow up on all Corporate sponsorship / Silent Auction / Program ad solicitations Update Event Web Page Media: Define Media/Publicity Strategy (coordination of advertising, PR, and social media) Event site visit – preferably for Committee meeting Encourage Committee members to purchase tickets Create Save the Date & email Start collecting snail mail invitation lists from all event stakeholders (consider how this list is organized & how mailed; i.e. w/ personal note from chair?)
  18. 18. 6-10 weeks out Start recruiting volunteers for the night-of duties Start final push for ALL Solicitations Send Invite to printer (Be mindful of printer deadlines: Allow 1-2 weeks from time artwork is sent to printer until your desired drop-date, i.e. when it hits mailboxes) Media: Distribute Calendar Release 8 weeks out (monthlies due beginning of prior month) Media: Distribute full Press Release to all media targets 6 weeks out
  19. 19. 4-6 weeks out Finalize event web page info (Triple check for sponsor & underwriter logos/names) Mail formal Invitations Review ticket sales with committees – evaluate goal performance Adjust budget for unexpected expenses/income Develop a Silent Auction check out procedure If ticket sales are slow, make personal calls Identify banner/signage needs, design, & send to printer Media: Follow up with media targets to try to secure event coverage Media: Coordinate email and social media invitations (continue following up with media targets-weekly & dailies)
  20. 20. 2-3 weeks out Finalize Budget Design Silent Auction/Forms/Program (with ads) Create Run of Show (Event schedule/script) & review with Chairs Create list of all vendors to be paid day/week of event Review & communicate Volunteer Duties Program Book, Silent Auction Listings to Printer Review Check-in Process with volunteers & committees Push ticket sales to outstanding committed attendees (Consider incentives/promos/ticket giveaways) Media: Encourage all event stakeholders to distribute personal email invitations (consider all friends, family, patrons, existing & potential collectors, VIP targets)
  21. 21. Week of event Create vendor day-of point person list (with emails & cell phone numbers) Create a coordinated Load In / Sound Check schedule Create sorted guest lists (seating charts/table assignments): sort by last name AND company affiliation All printing (programs/silent auction forms/labels) & signage picked up Media: Send digital reminder to all contacts and those of event stakeholdersImmediate Follow Up Close-Out (All income/expenses collected and logged) Confirm all Receivables Paid
  22. 22. 2-6 Weeks After (Closeout, Evaluation & Stewardship) Committee Acknowledgements (Gift to Chairs?) Acknowledgements sent to Attendees Special “thank you‟s” to corporate sponsors, Underwriters, and Silent Auction donors. (Hit any stand-out advocates / Make it personal) Thank You Event for volunteers Close out receipt of income and payment of expenses and create closing financial report (Profit & Loss) Share event results with all event stakeholders
  23. 23.  Just like timelines, work backwards with budgets (Let budget goal define event scope) Be realistic: Hope for the best, but plan for the worst (consider having 2 budgets- internal vs. external) Always think in terms of NET, not GROSS. Standard: Effective fundraising is spending 30 cents or less to raise $1. Watch out for unanticipated costs (i.e. credit card fees or sales tax) Consider real-time cash flow (When do bills need to be paid? When is sponsorship check arriving?)
  24. 24. All costs are variableSeveral line items maybe reduced throughsecuring In Kind donationsand/or volunteer laborNotice Credit Card Feeswill align with projectedincome (i.e. ensure that allvariables align)
  25. 25. These figures work in tandemConsider different/additional benefits available to VIPguests, sponsors & underwritersNotice the Gross Revenue (Income) aligns with $.30/$1fundraising rule
  26. 26. Consider securing In Kind donations. How do you do that? Very similar to underwriter letter, custom tailored to best interest of particular business o Name & logo placement on Invitations/Fliers/Evites o Access to cultivated clientele o Promotional opportunity for new businesses o Trade opportunities Easiest to secure for alcohol (distributors look for promotional opportunities)
  27. 27. “The continuation of this work in 2011 is only possible through the support and sponsorship of businesses like yours. To this end, we humbly request a donation of light culinary fare consisting of 200-300 samplings of a Signature Dish(es) in exchange for the opportunity to showcase your restaurant and menu offerings. For your generous, tax-deductible donation, Spacetaker will provide an ideal promotional arena for your business (including display tables and linens). In addition, you are invited to take full advantage of other exposure opportunities tailored to your desired level of participation. (These Sponsorship Tiers are described in detail below.)”
  28. 28. Here are some examples…Event Icons ($5,000 value)• 8 VIP tickets to the Gala, including all-access passes to VIP areas• One reserved table in the VIP Section• Featured recognition of name, brand, or logo at gala and on printed gala materials and websiteEvent Rockstars ($2,500 value) *• 4 VIP tickets to the Gala, including all-access passes to VIP areas• Recognition of business name or logo at gala and on printed gala materials/website
  29. 29. GALA REACHInvitation mailed to X+ households in Downtown,Heights, Midtown, & River OaksEvite emailed to X+ businesses, nonprofits, artists, andarts patronsFacebook invite to X fansPromotion to almost X Twitter followersWebsite averages X hits/monthOver X attendees at last years eventPromotion via media partners, like 002HoustonMagazine and CultureMap
  30. 30. Be aware of all the rules & regulations involved with serving alcohol. Be aware of TABC (Texas Alcohol & Beverage Commission) rules for donations Be aware of liability issues (Are you insured?) Be mindful of other safety issues involved with alcohol consumption (Do you have security officers?) These concerns obviously vary with audience.But don‟t underestimate irresponsibility. Protect yourself.
  31. 31. Options for serving alcohol at events: Provide FREE alcoholic beverages w/o obtaining TABC permit (no serving to minors/intoxicated persons); May be donated by distributor (But without permit, must serve anyone who asks, even without event entry! And be careful about tips!) Obtain a temporary TABC permit & sell beverages(must use TABC-certified servers & PURCHASE from authorized distributors/retailers (But distributors may provide cash donations!) Use 3rd-party retailer to sell beverages at event (may have agreement to share proceeds) * Per TABC Marketing Practices Bulletin- MPB026 .
  32. 32. Event Insurance: Necessary to satisfy most rental requirements Frequently necessary if obtaining a TABC temporary permit in public venue Cost affected by duration of the event, activities, and total attendance Liquor liability portion is typically what makes the policy expensive Allow 2 weeks for quote and certificate (Recommended: Fractured Atlas / Frazier Insurance) Combining events in same venue reduces cost
  33. 33. Many of the same points apply. Like: TABC Rules Insurance & security concerns Budgets & timelines Media & promotion Teams, committees, volunteers, etc. Underwriting / Sponsorship / Program Ads / In Kind Donations
  34. 34.  Venues: If unconventional/alternative venue, does it have an occupancy permit? (The Fire Marshall can & WILL shut down a performance.) If in a traditional theatre/exhibition space, are there staffing requirements? (Union stagehands are expensive! Is there equipment that can‟t be used without venue staff?) Do you have to go through their box office? (Are there associated service fees & surcharges?)
  35. 35. If you‟re exhibiting your work, it may get damaged while on display, in transit, or in storage. Consider securing an annual general liability policy so , in any case, you are protected Policy quotes are available via Fractured Atlas (within 3-5 days) This differs from Event Insurance!
  36. 36. The are many traditional and alternate exhibition/performance venues in Houston. Think outside the box! Spacetaker‟sdeveloping a database of rentable venues: back regularly for additions!) Houston Arts Alliance also has venue listings: cilities We recommend you research past events at the venue. Try to obtain feedback from past renters.
  37. 37.  Pay close attention to payment terms & add-on costs (If renting by the hour, keep a public time log & get signatures of venue managers.) Clarify any and all venue restrictions up front (Can you drill into the wall? Can you use tape on all surfaces? Who is responsible for repairs? General accessibility? Structural limits?) Don‟t take anything for granted (especially in alternate venues), like working electrical outlets, use of all entrances/exits, functioning air conditioning, 24-7 access, etc. Get terms & conditions in writing- NO MATTER WHAT
  38. 38. In a restaurant or alternate venue. Include:Inventory of artwork(s) o Title o Dimension o Medium o Price o Discount – If giving one, how much? o Commission – If giving one, list amount or percentage? o Framed/Unframed * Prepared by Michele LaRocco of 360 Degrees of Art
  39. 39. INCLUDE:Condition report/document for artwork(s) o This should include photographs of artwork(s) with caption and pricing underneath. The artist and person(s) responsible for the artwork(s) should both sign and date this. o Include CCC statement: “The above mention works are in the Care, Custody and Control of __________________________ for the time period of _______________________.”
  40. 40. INCLUDE:Terms o Commission structure? o Under what conditions can a discount be offered and how much? o Duration artwork(s) will be on loan? o Who is responsible for damages, should they occur during the install or after? o Does the business have the right to accept payment on your behalf for artworks(s)? If so, when does payment need to be made to you?
  41. 41. Confirm Date / VenueFinalize Information, Create & Distribute Press Releases: Titleof show / Concept / Special equipment needs? / Images ofwork & headshots of artistsDesign and Distribute PostcardsCreate Evite and Facebook Event Pages, sendHire staff : Art installers / Security / Valet / Caterers /Bartenders / Clean-up / PhotographersPrinting needs: business cards, artist resumes, bios orstatements or catalogs, GUEST BOOK (collect info!)Install art (leave enough time)Create price listsSet-up food and alcoholDocument the work and the installation
  42. 42.  Be a great host: Circulate, engage conversations, introduce guests to each other (secure volunteers to help with sales/serving) Make it interesting / Consider collaboration: music or live performance; more collaborators = bigger draw Create objectives: do you want to meet people, sell work, add to your guest list, etc… Talk to people besides just your immediate friends & family Think about what you want to communicate in advance -- consider your artist statement
  43. 43.  Try Volunteer Match: Volunteer Houston: Take good care of any volunteers you have; they can frequently be some of your strongest supporters.But for big events, secure more volunteers than you think you need; it‟s not uncommon for a small % to flake out.
  44. 44.  Signage Enough trash cans & trash bags Toilet paper / paper towels Ice Soap First aid kit Cleaning supplies Safety pins Tape (both masking & scotch) Hanging supplies (in the event of last-minute snafus) Extra lighting / batteries
  45. 45. Event planning & execution becomes easier as your network grows! Think COLLABORATION (other artists, orgs, charities) Build relationships BEFORE you need anything Stay in regular contact with those who buy your work or attend your shows (Recognize your advocates!) When someone does you a favor, thank them (consider small art gifts) What can you do TODAY to plant the seeds for a successful venture?
  46. 46. In your inbox This PowerPoint DIY Event Workshop Resource Guide (w/ vendor recommendations) Sample Fundraising Event Timeline Sample Underwriter Letter Sample Exhibition Agreement TABC Bulletin w/ Guidelines Survey
  47. 47. Spacetaker ARC Workshop