Plan Events Like a Pro

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5. Publicize your event. Get the word
out early and clearly. Start at least three months before your
event. Include your event name, date, time, location, cost (if
any), what’s provided (notepad, lunch), what to bring, and what to
expect. Depending on the event’s focus, a handwritten invitation
may be appropriate.

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For a larger publicity campaign, try the following:

• Announce the event in each Sunday service.

• Place a notice in your bulletin.

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• Send emails to your team and the families in your church.

• Display posters on bulletin boards and in restrooms.

• Make an announcement in each Sunday school class.

• Send fliers home with children.

• Split up the church directory, and have your team call
families.

6. Plan your menu. It’s well-known
that attendees show up when food is present. Food can often be
overlooked or planned at the last minute, but this is a great way
to wow your attendees with ample and tasty snacks and meals. Plan
snacks and meals according to the timeframe of your event. Count on
10 percent of your attendees eating a vegetarian snack or meal. A
muffin-and-fruit snack should cost about $1.50 per person, while a
box lunch will cost around $5 per person.

Provide ice water during your entire event. Continue thinking of
your attendees’ needs by placing a bowl of individually wrapped
mints and chewing gum on your refreshment table. For more
information about planning food and beverages for your event, visit
www.reasonto party.com or www.partyplansplus .com. At these sites, you’ll
also find party theme ideas, fun party locations, and creative
crafts.

7. Set up your room. The key word here
is “comfort,” but beyond making sure attendees are comfortable,
ensure that the environment is conducive to achieving your event
goal. Turn to other ministries in your church or support staff who
can help with setup or audiovisual needs.

Hudson suggests you “always have more than enough food and
tables set up. It’s better to have some left over than to run out.”
Also make more copies of handouts than you’ll actually need.

Decorations add to your event’s excellence and impact. Rockwell
says, “Prepare the environment so those who come will say, ‘Wow –
they were expecting me!’ “

Double-check everything the day before. This will allow time for
last-minute challenges (yep, they’ll always happen) and will allow
you and your team to be better rested to enjoy your event.
Children’s minister Sarah Clayton in Dayton, Ohio, says,
“Communicate, be very positive throughout, and know that if you
have truly done your job right, the day of the event you should be
able to relax, mingle with the guests, and enjoy.”

8. Add the extras. The extras make
your event an amazing experience. Perhaps you’ll want to add a
goodie bag for each attendee at the start of the event. Door prizes
or other giveaways are crowd-pleasers. Group photos or other
mementos are great ways to remember the day…and what God
accomplished at your event.

Budgets often skip right over these extras. If this is the case
for your budget, perhaps local stores will donate some items. A
volunteer or a youth-group member could enjoy taking group photos
for free.

9. Say thanks. At your event, publicly
thank your team. And give them a thank you gift after the event.
This can be something simple, such as a handwritten card, a gift
card to a local coffee house, or a favorite snack. Take pictures at
the event to show at the next Sunday morning service or to post on
your ministry’s bulletin board. Send an email to attendees a month
after the event thanking them for coming and sharing your favorite
moments from the event. These ideas will not only spark interest
for those people to help with the event next time, but they’ll also
encourage other attendees to be sure they don’t miss the next
event.

10. Evaluate your event. You and your
event team will have an impression of how things went, but by
asking each attendee to fill out an evaluation, you’ll learn even
more. Ask how attendees would rate each session of the event, the
location, the food, and the time of day. Two key questions to ask
attendees are, “What was the best aspect of the event?” and “What
would you change?” Asking open-ended questions gives you more
detailed feedback. Discuss these evaluations and the event with
your team so you learn what worked and what needs to change the
next time.

Anyone can plan a successful event. The top keys are to take
your event to God in prayer, pursue your goal, work with your team,
and dream big!

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