A successful event can provide you with an avenue to share your vision, sell products, engage your stakeholders, bring awareness to your company or mission, and so much more. While we all enjoy attending fun and unique events, creating an an event that will stick with the attendees in a meaningful way is not always a simple task.
In order to plan and execute a memorable event, it is crucial to make sure that you have a well thought-out and developed strategy. This will help drive your event and please the attendees and your client or employer. Below are my five cardinal elements of a successful event. These are just some of the lessons I’ve learned throughout my years of work on political campaigns, planning and putting on fundraisers and field events of all sizes.
- Know your audience.
Every event needs to be built with your target audience in mind. Tailoring the type of event to your audience will ultimately ensure everyone enjoys themselves. It will also encourage the attendees to come to future events that you or your organization put on. Important factors for this targeting include picking the appropriate venue for your audience, the appropriate day and time, and what type of refreshments you will have, if any.
- Send your invitation early.
It is important invites to be disbursed as soon as possible, giving potential attendees as much notice as feasible. I tend to send invites out four to six weeks before the event, which gives invitees a good amount of time to put it on their calendar and respond if they can’t make it. It’s also nice for them to be made aware of it sooner rather than later, and it gives you the opportunity to gauge how many people may attend. This is vital if you are working with caterers or trying to estimate how many refreshments will be required.
- Confirm with your guests.
If you have the time and resources, following up with those that you invited can be extremely helpful in many ways. It gives the event a more human connection than just a paper or electronic invite, gives you the opportunity to inform the guests of any important information that wasn’t included in their invitation, and it provides guests the opportunity to ask any questions that they have about the event. Additionally, while you have guests on the phone, you have the opportunity to get a firm commitment from them on their attendance, or in the case of a fundraiser, their donation.
- Finalize the details.
While making final preparations for the event, you should ideally have a hard estimate as to how many people you believe will be at the event. This is important because it gives you the opportunity to make sure that the venue is set up for the right amount of people, and that you have the right amount of refreshments ready for the event. Once the day of the event arrives, you should ideally have everything ready to go, so you can (hopefully) relax and enjoy the event.
- Evaluate your event’s success.
After your event has officially transpired, send thank you notes to your guests. This is a nice way to show your appreciation for them attending the event and to build relationships with for future endevours. This also gives you the opportunity to gather feedback on the event, so you can work on improving for your next one. It is also important to talk with your internal team about the successes of the overall event and lessons learned. Make sure you do this while the event is still fresh in your mind, and take notes. That way, you can ensure you take your successes and lessons learned and apply them when planning your next event.