When organizing events, it’s really easy to try to toss something together as quickly as possible, or to forget details in the planning process. Here are some of my tried and true tips for planning events on college campuses.
Think in terms of objectives, not events. Whenever you, or anyone in your club, comes up with an idea for an event, the first thing you should do is clarify the objective of the event. Is it simply to have fun? Or are you looking to raise money or recruit new members? Maybe you want to create awareness for a given issue? All are perfectly acceptable objectives, but make sure that everyone involved is on the same page. After you decide on an objective, ask yourself: is this event idea really the best way to reach that goal? There may be a more effective or more affordable way of accomplishing the same thing. Once you pick an objective, think of some way to measure it. If the goal is to recruit new members, are you going to measure success by how many people sign up for your email list or how many special event attendees come to your next meeting? There’s no right or wrong answer to that question, but everyone working on the event should have the same understanding of what you’re trying to accomplish.
Don’t be too quick to commit to your ideas. Generally speaking, it’s better to have fewer events that are all great than a lot of events that are mediocre. So don’t jump in head first with every idea you have; Test the waters first. Ask people on campus if they would attend such an event or if they’re willing to volunteer their time in order to make that event happen. If you’re planning on charging money, try to get an idea of what people are willing to pay. You may find that the event wouldn’t be as popular as you’d hoped, in which case it’s better to discover that before you invest the time and energy in making the event happen. You may find that your good idea only needs a few simple tweaks to become an event the entire school will talk about for years to come. Either way, try to get some preliminary reaction from the student body before you get too far along in the planning process. You can use some of the research tips I discussed in a previous article to help you with this.