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Thursday, January 2, 2014

Tips for organizing events - The 3 basic ingredients

Top 3 things to know about Event Organizing

What are the top 3 things I learned from being a volunteer event organizer for NetSquared Vancouver ? Recently I was honored with the opportunity to be a part of the NetSquared Spotlight series where I shared some of my thoughts and lessons when it comes to community organizing. Reflecting on the experience I thought I'd create this condensed post of the top 3 things I learned from being a event organizer. Here are the top 3 things I learned from the 42 events we did throughout 2013 for a record 1316 attendees.

Speaker, Venue, Marketing - The basic recipe for organizing an event

When you combine these three things together you have the basic recipe for an event and each is of equal importance:

1) Speakers

Book them ahead of time as much as you can. I would say at minimum you need your speaker to agree to the event date at least 1.5 months in advance. This is especially the case if your are looking to develop a community or run a series of themed events. At NetSquared Vancouver we literally have all our speakers planned out for the next 6 months. Doing this allows you to start your marketing much earlier as well as free up your time to focus on other aspects of your event success. 

2) Venue

You want to have this secured as soon as possible. Find venue partners who are naturally supportive or focused on the same audience as you. Since at NetSquared we cater to the nonprofit community we look towards venues that have a focus on giving back to the community. What I've learned from my experience at NetSquared is when you start working with a new venue, ask them if they could commit to  multiple events tentatively instead of only one. First, this will really help you out if you are planning a series of events as you wont have to worry about future venues. Second, your subsequent events will be much better when it comes to logistics because you can learn from your experience. Third, you can start our marketing much earlier since you will need both information about the speaker and where the event will be happening before you can begin promoting it. 

3) Marketing/Promoting

This is one of those things where you need to throw all your effort and resources into at the beginning because the closer you get to your event, the more severe the law of diminishing gets. At the very very minimum you want to invite people to attend at least two weeks beforehand. Any less than that and you will quickly find those who would have come to your event now have other engagements they need to attend to. If this is your first event ever, you want to start your marketing/promoting as early as humanly possible. Once you have invited them to your event continue to remind them about your event a week out and the day before and maybe even on the day of as well.

These would be the three key ingredients to organizing events that I learned from volunteering with NetSquared. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below or what you think is the most important thing to keep in mind for organizing events.

By Stevie Vu
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