Whether you’re looking to host a networking event or a conference, or you want to host something a little smaller, like a breakout session or an intimate meeting, proper planning is the key to making it a success. Depending on the type of event you are hosting, you may also need to consider how you will promote it.
The more people you estimate to be in attendance, the more you will have to work to get the word out and get it to run smoothly. With that said, here are some tips to help you along the way. You can use these tips as a checklist of sorts to make sure you’re covering all your bases. Feel free to skip the tasks that don’t really apply to the type of event you are hosting.
Planning Your Event
Start first by asking yourself and your team a few questions.
- What is the event goal?
- Is it networking?
- Is it a workshop or breakout session?
- Is your guest list invite-only?
- Or do you plan on promoting it to the public?
- What’s your budget for planning this event?
Asking questions like these will help you estimate how many people will be in attendance and help you determine what you need in terms of venue space, as well as what you have to work with financially. Once you’ve got a good handle on the number of people you expect and how much space you will need, you can move on to reserving your chosen venue and cementing the event date.
If your event will be invite-only, you can also send out save the date reminders around this time. Or you can announce a public “save the date” announcement and promote it to stir up interest and excitement. You don’t need to send out any actual invites until closer to the event date, just make sure it’s on their radar.
During the planning stages, you’ll also want to reach out to any keynote speakers you’d like to come on board, as well as sponsors if needed. This is also the time you’ll be contacting vendors for things like audiovisual equipment, furniture, linens and decor, and catering. Strive to stay within or under budget, especially if your event is some type of fundraiser.
If your event is invite-only, you won’t need to promote anything other than making sure to send out the invites in a timely manner, so people can plan to be there. However, if your event is open to the public, you’ll want to consider various promotional strategies.
Creating a Facebook event can be helpful to both invite people as well as announce it to the public. You can also do paid social media ads to boost the visibility of your event, as well as go old school and put out flyers or run an ad in local newspapers and trade mags.
Hosting Your Event
Once the day of your event arrives, it’s time to put on the host hat. Get there early so you can walk through the venue and get a feel for how things will flow. This can help you foresee any future issues and address them beforehand. Make sure everything is unlocked so that people can get in once they arrive.
If needed, set up any signage directing them on where to go. Have your crew test to make sure all equipment is working properly and supervise any finishing touches on setup and decor. When people start arriving, greet them and make them feel welcome! It’s time to get the party started.
After Your Event
It’s always a great idea to follow up with people after you host an event and thank them for attending. If your event was a fundraiser, you can thank them for their donations as well. Use this opportunity to ask a few questions and see if there is anything you could have done better.
Feedback is valuable and can give you a framework to help with planning your next event. If you’re looking for a great event space in DC, look no further than here with District Offices! We look forward to serving your needs.