Effective event planning and management is never an easy task.
You’re dealing with tight budgets, tricky constraints, and a massive amount of people on all sides. It can sometimes seem impossible to get everything done!
While there is no single answer to all the challenges that come with planning an event, understanding potential issues and a couple ways to get around them can often be an enormous help.
Dietary Restrictions Complicate Things
As more and more people take up things like veganism and vegetarianism, the number of dietary restrictions event planners have to deal with has skyrocketed in recent years.
Obviously it’s important to accommodate everyone’s needs, but these kinds of special circumstances can often lead to a logistical nightmare. You’re now having to keep track of everyone’s preferences individually—and if you mess this up even one time, you’ve just ruined someone’s entire meal.
One handy trick for dealing with things like this is to invest in quality registration software. A good system will store all the information you have on all your attendees in one place, and it’ll be easy to sift through these people based on any criteria you can think of.
So if you want a list of all the gluten intolerant people at your event, you can get all that together with just the touch of a button!
Member Volunteers Can Be Tricky
Member volunteers tend to pose another big challenge in event planning, especially when it comes to Association events. Of course we’re all grateful for their time and enthusiasm, but navigating through all the committees, councils, boards and so on can sometimes get a bit complicated.
Volunteer committees often just don’t have the time you’d probably like for them to fully commit to an event. Realistically, it’s often best to treat these committees as mostly steering groups and sounding boards. No matter how many volunteer members you have, you should just accept that you’ll still be the one managing all the action and logistics.
Generating Excitement Isn’t Always So Simple
Especially if your sponsors/exhibitors are coming off the heels of a not-so-successful event, generating the kind of excitement you need can sometimes prove another challenge.
There’s an art to it. It’s not enough to just come up with all these great new ideas—you also need to be able to communicate them in a way that people will really respond to. Your audience needs to see the value in participating, which can sometimes be more difficult than it sounds.
Budgets Are Always Tight
No matter how much money you have to work with for your event, there never quite seems to be enough, does there?
Dealing with tight budgets is a big part of organizing just about any event. Everybody is looking out for a good return on investment, and if you’re not offering that, you’re not going to get the sponsors or exhibitors you need.
To keep their heads above the water, association planners need to be creative and conservative at the same time.
Be a Hard Negotiator
When you’re dealing with budgets barely big enough to get what you need, driving a hard bargain and knowing when to cut corners is pretty much the only way it’s possible to get by.
Have a look at your biggest expenses. If you’re paying $3,000 – $5,000 for space rental, consider—is the amount of space you’re paying for actually worth it?
As a general guideline, keep in mind that space is pretty much never worth a room rental. Either negotiate that out or get it reduced until its cost is negligible, or you’re going to be losing way too much money.
And when it comes to food, see if you can get as much as possible included in the meal price. You don’t want to be coughing up $75+ out of your expenses for just a gallon of coffee!
Event organization is a tough job, but by understanding some of its most common challenges, you can at least get a bit of a head start.
Know the challenges. Work out solutions. Optimize the way you work.
You’ve got this!