Event Planning in the time of Covid
by Jeff Shields 2021-04-06
Are you with an organization with an upcoming event? Are you an individual planning an event on you own? There are many elements to successful event planning and in the time of a pandemic, it becomes crucial to hit the mark.
Successful event planning requires time and lots of it, 6-9 months or more. Some events even need a couple of years - think Olympics. But for most smaller scale events, the shorter time frames work.
Do you need to have a committee? I once had someone tell me that “committees should always be less that 5, and always an odd number”. Turns out this is very sound advice. This way meetings are quick and very productive. Keep each committee small.
The main oversight committee should identify those tasks that need to be done and set the overall budget on a per task basis.
The oversight committee can then spin off sub-committees to handle specific details such as Marketing, Volunteers, Prizes etc; you get the idea. It is important that the oversight or organizing committee allow the sub-committees to take full ownership of their part to ensure current and future buy-in. The oversight should provide guidance but never override the sub-committee’s decision. At least not if you want your current event to be successful. Sub-committees can spin off their own subs as well when necessary.
Marketing should start at least 6 months in advance. In the time of a pandemic, online marketing takes on a new importance. Be prepared in the event there is a lockdown at the time of your event. Can it go completely online?
Build a dedicate website or page for the event. Post it to social media and create a Facebook event. Get any participants to also invite and market to their friends, family and customers.
A month or two before your event, send a press release to newspapers and magazines and if it is in the budget, run your first ads. Also start your email campaigns promoting your event. This should be spaced a month apart until the last month.
In the week before, ramp up any advertising, send reminder emails, invite people via your Facebook event.
Do you require road side signage? Make sure it conforms to local bylaws and regulations. You might need to check with your municipality or the Ministry of Transportation.
Make sure that all the text is at least 2” high. Any thing smaller can’t be read by people travelling 50kph. Signs should be 2 feet or more high. Directional arrows to go out on the days of the event if required are only necessary if the location is not well known.
Make your signage so it can be used for future events with only date or location changes.
Having participants complete a survey at the end of the event can provide valuable feedback for next time.
Event planning is hard work, take time after the event to relax and review what went well and what can be improved for next time.