The panelists for this event were Nicole Cook; Marketing & Events Coordinator at the Humane Society of West Michigan (HSWM), Alicia Caldecott; Principal at A Day In May Event Planning and Design, Kim Rangel; Event Sales & Services Manager at Experience Grand Rapids, and Keri Kujala; Manager of Special Events & Donor Relations at Saint Mary’s Foundation- Mercy Health Saint Mary’s.
Focus on logistics, not aesthetics. Alisha Caldecott says to make logistics your primary concern. No one will be talking about how great the place settings look when his or her stomach is growling because you can’t get the food out on time. Make sure you completely understand the flow of your event and event space.
Think outside of the box. Nicole Cook has to make the Humane Society of West Michigan’s 5k walk stand out from the dozens of 5ks hosted by other animal shelters. How? They host their event a night and make it a glow walk. A catchy name like “Bark in the Dark” is always helpful too.
Create Relationships. Kari Kujala stresses the importance of creating relationships with vendors. This is especially important if you have a tight budget. If a company offers to sponsor your event, make sure you are returning the favor when possible.
Location, location, location. Make sure your event is in a location that is appealing to your target audience. Nicole Cook said that when the HSWM is looking at locations, convenience for attendees is always a factor—even if it is more expensive. Spending more money on a location will always boomerang back at the organization with more attendees and hopefully, more money raised in the long run.
Always give your client (or boss in some cases) realistic expectations. This is a tip that all four of the ladies touched on. You don’t want anyone to be disappointed with the end result. Kim Rangel says to find out the one thing your client is expecting or what their top priority is and make it happen. Compromise on other things if necessary, but make that one thing happen. And of course, always be honest and respectful.
Take it from the pros and utilize these tips to make your event stand out!
By: Olivia Mashak, VP of Financial Services for GV PRSSA and VPO of GrandPR.