Hosting a fundraiser or any public event can be a challenge, especially if you’ve never planned one before. Plus, add the details and the fine print such as the audience, sponsors, venue and everything in between and now you’ve got your hands full. You have yourself either a potential explosion for fun and success, or the complete opposite.
The success of any fundraiser or pubic event is never a guarantee. Things come up and can’t be controlled, such as the weather. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t plan to avoid those instances, or minimize the impact. Of course, in order to establish success, let’s first define it.
Success is different for everyone, and every situation has different criteria for measuring success. Before any event, the goals and objectives need to be outlined. These aren’t always monetary, although at least one goal is usually focused on money raised or costs covered. Once the goals and objectives are agreed upon, some sort of measuring tool needs to be in place to accurately measure the success in terms of concrete metrics. Let’s start with goals and objectives.
Goals and Objectives
Why are you having this event? Here are a few questions to ask yourself.
- Want to raise money for a specific cause?
- Want to benefit a person or organization?
- Do you want to obtain a certain number of leads?
- Do you want to turn prospects into clients?
- Are you supporting your community?
- Do you want to promote socialization in your community or organization?
- Are you launching a product, service, brand or a company?
- Do you want to reach your local public, or a certain sector?
- Do you want to increase your social media followers?
- Do you want to increase your online footprint?
No matter the goals, they need to be outlined and fully understood during the planning stages, well before the event. This doesn’t mean they can’t be adjusted or a few added for later, but guarantee your measured success from the beginning.
The big ticket for any event is the venue. Sure, some venues are a no-brainer for your particular event, and some you have more creative freedom. You may have a venue or area at your disposal, such as in the case of a community gala using public parks or streets. Ultimately, you’ll need to know your overall event plans when choosing the venue and determine if you’re going to:
- Serve food, beverages etc.
- Need a certain size room or area to accommodate a large or small crowd (don’t book a place too large for a small group and may be counter productive to the effect you want to establish)
- Need specific accommodations (sound system, stage, multiple exits, handicap accessible)
- Need a walking path, park, pavilion or stadium
Typically, if you’re holding a formal dinner, you want to book a venue with a dinning area, kitchen and wait staff, but not always. Caterers usually can cater to any location, inside or out. So don’t let your options be confined.
The budget! Say no more. This factor almost always chooses the venue or plays a big part in choosing it, as well as all the details for the event. For nonprofits, many times they’re able to secure a venue or location at a discount or for free.
However, for everyone else, there’s usually a cost associated with every venue. Take into consideration that venues pay for insurance, maintenance, utilities and such, which all come with a price tag and are passed onto you.
When planning an event, typically one or two venues or locations automatically come to mind. Park those for a moment and really think creatively.
Some locations have never been used as a venue, or they have but fell under the public radar. Like what? Parks, walking paths, unused fields and wooded areas and so on. These may seem rugged but they don’t have to be. Any space can be transformed to meet your vision.
Some venues are used for a specific purpose but can be modified for your event, such as museums, skating rinks, galleries, conference rooms, dance studios, even a children’s play area. Think differently, think crazy, think unique. Then call and ask. The most they can say is no. You’ll be surprised, especially with those truly unique areas that have never been approached as a venue. They might be intrigued or want to help your cause and get involved. I’m not saying they’ll give you the space for free, but maybe you can make deal.
Never forget about social media when promoting or even planning your event. Not only does this increase your online footprint, but in most cases you’ll get exponential exposure with little effort, and little to no additional costs. Not to mention the ideas online are plenty. Use social media to assist with the planning stages.
Sometimes there’s no contingency plan. Rain or shine the event must go on. Let that be known on all advertisements and on social media. More than not, during bad weather people assume the event is canceled.
Sometimes, you can plan a rain date, or move the event to another slightly less desirable location or venue. Again, make sure that’s public knowledge. In the event this happens, spread the word, and then do it again, and again to ensure the most current information reaches everyone without confusion.
As mentioned earlier, you should have already outlined your goals and objectives and know how they’re to be measured. There are a variety of online tools to assist, even for social sharing. Before the event begins look into several tools of interest and take the time to learn how they work and their special features. You might be surprised to find it helpful with the planning and promotional stages of the planning process. Get the most out of your online tool.
In addition, do yourself another favor and take the time to create a summary post event. This doesn’t have to be elaborate and formal but something to really put the event into perspective. Include planning, setting goals, clean up and more.
Outline what worked and what was received positively. Also create a list of pitfalls, issues and mistakes, because no matter how perfectly an event is planned, there are always unforeseen problems. Listing these negative instances never solves anything, accompany each item with a solution or even a few possible ideas. Do this even if your event isn’t going to be an annual gig. You’ll learn a lot from the recap for future events and gatherings.
Naturally, Thrill of the Hunt is partial to scavenger hunts, but our planning experience doesn’t stop there. Our events take place inside and out, all year long, at various venues, nationally, for public and private events, for any number of participants. The scavenger hunt is only a small part of our events. We’ve learned a thing or two over the years.
Always keep your theme in mind. It’s the details that help make the event unique and exciting. And always have fun!
Did you create an event or fundraiser? Do you have a great ideas to share? Tell us your story or ideas! Game@thrillofhunt.com.
If you’d like to learn more about our suggested themes and ideas, let us know. We’d be happy to discuss and provide you with a free quote.
Thrill of the Hunt exclusively develops and administers to themed scavenger hunts for public and private events such as team building activities, company outings, fundraisers and private parties.
Remember, Everyone needs to … Experience the Game