5 Event Planning Tips!

Posted on: April 17, 2019

The five years I spent event planning for a nonprofit came with a WHOLE lot of lessons along the way. I quickly learned what worked, and what didn’t! From estimating how much volunteer help I’d need, to how early I should send invitations, to what we could do to save money… I learned lesson after valuable lesson during those years, and began to refine successful strategies for an organized event. 

So, straight from the event planning trenches, here are five tips to help your event run smoothly! 

Tip #1: Duplicate & Delegate!

Duplicate yourself! Delegate as much as possible so you are free to provide direction. Choose a co-captain that knows your plan and is equipped to make decisions alongside you! Resist the urge to micromanage. This is one of the most valuable lessons I learned when planning and executing events! 

Tip #2: Have Extra.

Have extra copies of your attendee list (even if you’re using Live Attendance!) extra seats for those unexpected guests, extra set-up volunteers (especially if you are working against a tight deadline!), etc. 

Tip # 3: Build in Margin.

Intentionally build in margin or cushion time around your timeline. Arrive early, and whenever possible allow for MORE time than you think it will take in case something goes wrong, malfunctions or takes longer than you think. Because something always goes wrong! Prevent a disaster by planning for the unexpected. 

Tip #4: Rehearse!

Have a dress rehearsal in advance if possible! Schedule it for the week prior, the night before, or the day of the event if you have enough time built into your schedule to comfortably allow it. Spend time walking through the order of events. Consider if it will look awkward for the speaker to exit off the right stage or left… think through and document every detail with your team!

Tip #5: Make a “Master” Plan.

Have a master plan. Create an outline and/or spreadsheet (I created both!) of every single vendor, volunteer, task, etc. Document what your volunteers will be doing, when they will be doing it, and their contact information! Include details like how many tables will be set up, what time the rental services will be dropping them off, what time they need to be set up by, etc. Structure and start this master plan way in advance, so that the day of the event you are not relying just on your fabulous memory! It’s all recorded somewhere – either in the laptop/ iPad/ or clipboard you’ll be working from or just print it out. Organize it in a way that would make sense to your mind. This helped me immensely. Give copies to your co-captain so they are armed with all the details, too! This master plan will serve as a valuable reference and starting point when planning your future events as well. 

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We’d love to hear from you! What did you incorporate or learn over the years of planning events? If you could pass on one piece of advice – comment below and let us know! If you have any further questions or comments feel free to contact us @MinistrySync on Instagram or Facebook or email us at sales@ministrysync.com.  


Amanda Rappe 

Photo by Emma Matthews on Unsplash

This article was inspired by our customers and written to encourage your fundraising efforts. Although we work with ministries and events daily, our team members are not Event Consultants. We encourage you to consult with your event consultant, executive team, and/or affiliate organization before making any major changes to your events. 

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