Carly Reid is the Senior Meetings Manager at CAI. For almost a decade, she has been assisting in the creation and implementation of the CAI National Conferences. You’ve most likely met her at the registration desk or seen her zipping about the hotel taking care of everything from special food orders to transportation issues. As a Certified Meeting Planner and veteran event coordinator, Carly has some advice for your next community event.
- Consider establishing partnerships with other organizations or people to assist with the execution of the event. Reach out to your board or other active community members to assist with the coordination, set up or clean up of the event. Make sure to identify their role when determining key decisions. Delegate tasks like decorations, music, photography/video and clean up.
- Be real about an event or program budget. Review your budget at several points during the planning process and revise for realistic and necessary true costs and revenue updates. Remember, it’s not the end of the world if you can’t afford the bouncy house for kids.
- Create an event timeline. Outline all essential decisions and activities in a time sequential order from the point of initial consideration to the decision being finalized and executed. Communicate the timeline to everyone involved in the planning or fulfillment of the event. Do your best to stay on task and stick to the timeline.
- Don’t forget the little things. Remember to assemble a meeting kit to take with you. Pack pencils, tape, binder clips, markers, etc. into a small pencil box for any on-site issues. Bring name badges, printer paper, business cards and extra event tickets or pre-printed receipts just in case. Make sure to bring the First Aid Kit and keep any emergency numbers in your phone. Being prepared will make any unexpected occurrence not feel so unexpected.
- Get feedback! How can you improve if you don’t solicit suggestions from your community? Send out an online survey to attendees about the quality of the event. Add an open-ended question calling for ideas and volunteers for the next party, cookout, etc. Don’t take any negative feedback personally.