Pulling off a successful event can take lots of time, energy, and money. Fortunately, we can use what we've learned and materials we've developed for one event to make planning future events less time-consuming.
Here are several tips for leveraging the lessons of prior events:
Tip #1: Track vendors
Retain copies of vendor contracts and make notes regarding whether you were happy with each vendor's product or service. Note who your main contact was with each vendor and include that individual's contact information.
Tip #2: Keep a list of volunteers
Maintain a list of who volunteered for the event and in what role. Make a note of volunteers who led teams or did an incredible job. Use this list as a starting point when it's time to invite volunteers to participate in the next event. Also, talk with the standout volunteers to get their feedback about serving at the event and ask if they know of other individuals who might be interested in volunteering in the future.
Tip #3: Save samples of graphics and communications content
You're likely going to do a similar event again in the future, so keep the graphics in a place that's easy to find. This includes event logos, flyers, brochures, promotional videos, recap videos, tickets, billboard graphics, email blast content, social media
posts, and any other media your team developed for the event. Use these as inspiration and a starting point for future events.
Tip #4: Identify what promotional methods worked best
If you ran Facebook ads, note which ads did well and why.
Did you offer an early bird discount on registration and that resulted in 75% of your attendees? If so, make a note of the discount amount, how you promoted it, and the deadline for the discount.
If you invited local media to cover the upcoming event, document which
media outlets responded and if you noticed any impact on event registrations
as a result of that coverage.
Tip #5: Keep the project plan
Hopefully you created a list of tasks along with who was responsible for each and the deadline for each task as part of your event planning efforts. That project plan is collateral you can use for future events. You'll need to update the details, but even
simply reviewing this plan as you create the next one will help you avoid missing key tasks.
Tip #6: Capture attendee and volunteer feedback
You might receive feedback the day of the event either in-person or on social media. Collect comments that provide insight into what you should continue to do and what you may need to fix going forward. Consider sending out a survey to attendees or
volunteers and gathering their input that way as well. An online tool such as SurveyMonkey is simple to use and free to try.
Tip #7: Lessons Learned
No event is complete until you've conducted a lessons learned meeting with the team. This is where you discuss what worked and what needs improvement going forward. Preserve the notes from that meeting and review them as you start planning the next event. When you invest time in learning from your most recent events and applying those lessons, you'll improve future events while saving your church time and money.