Whether you’re planning an Easter Egg Hunt or an inaugural conference, unexpected events are bound to occur along the way. To help decrease stress during a big ministry event, UMC Support’s Travel & Meeting Planning Department has created a checklist to help you plan today. Below are ten steps to alleviate stress and elevate success for your next event!
1. Determine Your Why
Before color schemes and social media promo discussions can begin, you must first identify the objectives and success factors of your event. What do you hope to achieve? How will you measure success?
Understanding the purpose of your event will allow you to better resonate with your intended audience, regardless of size.
2. Establish Your Budget
Budget creation and wise resource allocation are essential. Not only do budgets enable you to generate ideas within realistic parameters, but they also add an element of accountability.
Once your budget has been built, you can then identify the streams in which you intend to receive funding - whether it be donations or the church budget.
Don’t forget to plan for unexpected events and hidden fees!
3. Select Your Date
Many church event planners often leap to this step, ignoring the significance of setting objectives and financial plans. Ultimately, your goals and budget could impact the date of your event. However, when events are determined by a venue’s availability, it is crucial that you move quickly.
Pro Tip: Keep an eye out for any potential conflicting events within your local community!
4. Build Your Team
Assigning roles and responsibilities that align with personal strengths and making effective use of volunteers can propel your team towards successful outcomes. For example, the teen that’s always snapping selfies could be the perfect person to manage digital media, while a boisterous college crew might be your next masters of ceremonies.
Once you’ve assembled your team, you should schedule recurring meetings as necessary to create opportunities for brainstorming, prioritizing, and delegating. Organization and communication are key factors for success.
5. Choose Your Perfect Location
Although your church might typically be your first thought (and the most cost-effective option), reflect on your objectives and consider the importance of outreach, attendance, and community relations.
Whether you decide to bring your vision to life on church grounds or at an offsite location, it is vital that you always consider the number of attendees, parking, and accessibility.
6. Use Your Voice (And Phone!)
Now it’s time to spread the word! There are several communication methods that you can combine to achieve all your marketing goals. The most common include email, direct mail, social media, weekly bulletin announcements, and your church website.
Always consider your target audiences and the channels of communication that resonate the most with them. You should also maintain a schedule or calendar to track touch points.
7. Dive Into Your Logistics
Coordinating a growing list of event logistics can get overwhelming quickly, but the strategic utilization of your team can yield transformational results. From catering to registration, It is critical that you maintain a running list of all projects, record detailed notes, and make effective use of all your connections.
Projects tend to increase and intensify as event dates draw nearer, so don’t hesitate to ask for assistance when you need it!
8. Check Your Expectations
Although we want every event to be a 100% success, what’s a big day without a minor hiccup? It is always advantageous to have backup venues, replacement vendors, and extra staff on standby.
When mishaps occur, it is key to remember our why.
9. Enjoy Your Event!
On the day of your event, try to be in the moment as much as possible. Don’t forget to acknowledge all growth and take pride in your hard work and accomplishments.
Whether three weeks or three years were spent planning, there’s nothing like the sense of relief once it’s come to an end.
10. Measure Your Success
Measuring the success of the goals you initially set is key, and it will take your event planning to the next level. Feedback is a powerful mechanism for this, as it simultaneously evaluates event success and identifies areas for improvement.
While constructive criticism can sometimes be difficult to hear, it can break us out of stagnation and catalyze growth within us that we didn’t know was possible!
Adhering to these steps will ensure that your next event is one for the books!
The GCFA Travel & Meeting Planning team is here to assist you in all meeting and event planning efforts. Contact us for more information at ConnectionalRelations@gcfa.org today!