There is often so much to take in to consideration when planning an event that it can rapidly overwhelm you. Below is a blueprint to help you plan the perfect event, whether it is a Chapter meeting, fundraiser or networking social.
1. Get the Event Approved.
When hosting an event through PRSSA or any other student organization, it is best to get your Faculty Adviser on board from the very beginning. Next, have the event approved by campus life department or your university. Most schools require student organizations to fill out a form detailing the event.
2. Create a Budget.
Many Chapters create budgets at the beginning of the year, so you may know early on how much you can spend on events. Make sure you allocate enough money to cover your event’s expenses. When finalizing your budget, prioritize your expenses and consider trying a few DIY projects to save some pennies.
3. Choose a Date and Time.
Sounds simple enough, right? However, a date and time shouldn’t be chosen randomly. If this is your first time holding an event of this nature, first make a list of dates that sound ideal. Survey your target audience, asking what part of the week and time is preferred (this can help narrow down your selections). Don’t miss a critical step: checking university and campus life calendars; in addition to holidays, depending on your event, you may want to avoid conflicts with big sports games, on-campus events or the time around finals.
4. Secure the Venue.
If hosting on campus, your event may be free of charge. However, many universities will require a detailed description of the event to book campus space (this could also be part of step 1). Find out who handles the campus bookings and set up a meeting.
If the event is being hosted off campus, there are a few more steps to be taken.
- Secure the venue well before your event for the best choice in availability. Some venues book up to a year in advance.
- Look into venues that work with the budget you’ve created. Don’t waste time looking at spaces you can’t afford.
- Choose a venue that can hold your estimated capacity – you don’t want attendees to feel like sardines, but you also don’t want them to feel like they’re swimming in emptiness. Don’t forget about seating, if needed.
- Location! Look at the proximity of where the venue is located in comparison to where your attendees will be coming from.
- Read any contracts in their entirety before you sign. Ask questions if you don’t understand the wording.
5. Create Publicity and Promotional Items.
The ways to publicize your event are endless. A few of our favorites include:
- Teaming up with your broadcast department to create a promotional video. It can be played at upcoming university events or shared via social media.
- Speaking to journalism, business and ad/marketing classes. If you’re pumped about your event, they may be, as well.
- Reaching out to on-campus media. If your university has a radio station or newspaper, secure coverage or considering running ads.
- Treating professors as media outlets. If they support the event, some professors might give extra credit to their students for attending.
- Let your local PRSA Chapter know of the event you’re hosting. Even if their members can’t attend, it’s a good way to let them know what your PRSSA Chapter is up to.
- If alcohol is involved, be sure to get a copy of the venue’s liquor license and liability insurance for good measure.
- Create a committee! Share the responsibilities with others seeking event planning experience.
- If your attendees will be driving to the event, make sure parking is available and give proper directions to the attendees.
What extra tips do you have to add to our list? Share in the comments below.
Parties + Press Releases is a brand dedicated to the success of young public relations professionals, providing news about the industry and serving as a place for young public relations pros to bring their public relations problems. Follow Parties + Press Releases @PartiesandPR.
Co-Founder Emily Langford is a senior public relations major and PRSSA Chapter president at Arkansas Tech University. Follow her @emmy_knows_best. Co-Founder Rebecca Potzner is immediate past president of her PRSSA Chapter and a graduate of Northern Kentucky University. You can follow her @BeckuhBeck.