From conferences, open houses and fundraisers to weddings, birthday parties, and holiday get togethers, events take a ton of planning. You may be the event coordinator for your organization or you just throw a killer family gathering, but you still need to stay on budget, keep to a timeline, order decorations, and keep track of so much more. An app maker can help you to create stellar events while minimizing stress. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Timelines and To-Do Lists
Making a timeline is a simple but detailed process. Set the date and work backwards on an excel spreadsheet inputting the tasks that need to be completed. From there you can go step-by-step as to when to meet with the caterer and facilities manager, the drop date for invitations, when materials need to be dropped off and picked up from the printers, etc. This also helps you to create a to-do list for the many parts of this massive machine.
The same basic principle works for the day of event timeline; determine when the facility opens, when the event should finish, and fill in the gaps with vendor arrival times, volunteer arrival times, and when the doors open. The event itself should also have a specific timeline including program opening remarks, your video presentation, guest speaker’s address, donor acknowledgements and anything else on the program. This will keep you on target for the duration of the event and will keep things moving to prevent your guests from being bored.
“When you decide to have an event, everything matters. From program content and lighting to transportation and parking — everything counts. And your audience will attribute everything to you and…your brand. Making a list will ensure you don’t overlook things,” recommends marketing coordinator Jamillah Warner.
A mobile app can help you to stay on budget as you shop around town to meet with a florist, get quotes on programs, menus or posters, pick out decor, or taste test the caterer’s delectables. A calculator add- on can assist you to stay within your budget if one area goes over and you need to deduct funds from another category.
Between Pinterest, Etsy, and tons of other decorating sites, there is unlimited inspiration available. Keep your favorite ideas all in one place by uploading pictures to your customized app. This can also be helpful for your set-up committee; showing them examples of how tables should be set or how the decorations should be assembled can take more tasks off of your to-do list.
Contacts and Committees Lists
Many times it takes an army to put on a large event and a contact directory app can be priceless. You can have volunteer lists broken down by job and include contact information including the aforementioned caterers, florists, printers, rental companies, guest speaker, facilities manager, AV company... and you’ll want them all to be on the same page. “Pre-planning is everything, so consider having a meeting with all of your vendors prior to your event so you can hash out every small detail before it’s go-time. It’s the perfect opportunity to talk over a timeline and get everyone on the same page,” suggests Festivities Catering.
You’ll want these all in one app location the day of the event in case a vendor doesn’t show up on time, if your guest list changes, or for any potential problems that may (and usually do) arise.
This app is perfect for large teams where the event planner has to keep track of various members in charge of different jobs at off site locations. With a simple form, you can request updates on whether the job was completed, when it was completed, if there are any questions or comments, time spent, money spent, or any other specific details that the team needs to track.
The primary purpose of most of these types of events is to meet new potential clients or donors, grab their information, and make a great impression. With the right apps already on your phone you can add contact information, personal notes, products or services they want more info on, secure a future meeting date, or process a donation (for nonprofits) via an order capture feature.
Before you even attend your event, you should have a plan in place on how you want to follow-up with the attendees. This will guide you on capturing the right information and photos to continue the relationship. Randy Hawthorne, publisher and executive director for Nonprofit Hub advises, “Long before your event even comes around, you’ll want to develop a follow-up plan that allows you to connect with every attendee, thanking them for coming and giving them another opportunity for engagement. Your plan could include several components, including follow-up calls, handwritten thank-yous, an email blast, posting event pictures on your social media pages or highlighting an event video on your website. Whatever you do, be sure to stay in touch with the people you just hosted. Leverage the wave of interest and excitement about your organization as much as possible.”
Events take an immense investment in time, planning and manpower, but staying organized and creating a detailed strategy with customized apps can help you to plan a successful, memorable, and enjoyable event.