Insights from the EO: Event Planning Tips

by Alpha Phi Foundation in Focus on Philanthropy

There are a lot of factors that can make or break an event, but I’ve found that there are 5 key steps any event planner can take to ensure your event runs smoothly. Here are my 5 steps to live by:

1. Finances are your friend (or foe)!
The single most important thing you need to do is to create a realistic budget. Your budget will help you determine what venue you can afford, if you can upgrade to those silk napkins, and most importantly, how much your ticket price needs to be in order to fully cover your expenses! Keep in mind, in fundraising, your success is measured by the amount of money and awareness you raise in support of your cause. Be sure to keep your expenses minimal in order to really make a difference. Try this budget worksheet.

2. Live for the list!
Like any event planner, no matter how small the event, I LIVE off my checklist and timeline. There are endless tasks and reminders floating around in my head, but once I get things down on paper, I free up space for creativity and innovation. Event planning can be daunting, but looking at the process one week at a time makes it more digestible and keeps you on track with your goals. Try this sample checklist.

3. Many hands make light work (and more fun)!
Successful events take all the (wo)manpower you can get. A solid committee structure can go a long way in both relieving your stress and keeping the ball rolling. Remember, people innately want to help, but they don’t always know how to get involved. When you craft your committee structure and ask for help, you might be pleasantly surprised to see what people can and are willing to do. Try this sample committee structure.

4. Donors take all forms.
Successful fundraisers know that donors and donations take all shapes and sizes. It’s important to keep your eyes peeled for potential opportunities to secure a donation. Don’t be afraid to go after an opportunity or make an unconventional ask, even if it means hearing “no” once in a while. Keep in mind each “no” brings you one step closer to a “yes”.

5. There is no box.
When planning your event, avoid this phrase at all costs: “because we’ve always done it this way.” You should always reevaluate and make adjustments as needed. With growing technology and shortened attention spans, now’s the time to be creative and think outside the box. Try doing some research on growing trends in the event space, philanthropic and otherwise, to gain inspiration from. Try to identify successes other organizations are having and see how you can adapt these ideas for your own event. Whatever you find, keep pushing your boundaries!

Each and every event brings its own challenges, but if you stick to these 5 steps, you will see success.

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