Looking to plan an event? More importantly, how will you make it a success? If this isn't your first rodeo as an event planner then you'll know the key is to have a robust checklist in place. It will provide huge value when you can manage it successfully, but like many things, our greatest assets can often become our achilles heel. How event planner's have inherited superhuman multi-tasking powers is already a mystery to most, however, it's important to note that all superhero's have a weakness. Avoiding or overcoming it is the important part. If you don't want your checklist to end up becoming your kryptonite, make sure you're tackling all of the pain points that could potentially harm your event's image.
One area that must be addressed in your planning phase is the initial notification you must send out to residents and businesses that your event will effect. To ensure the alert you’re sending out is reaching the right people, it is important to have several communication methods in place. Providing that you're targeting the right areas you will also need to know the scale of your event, as this will help identify the type of impact it will have on the town/city. Completing the following tasks will not only give you more control, but it can also solve other common event issues that arise outside of the grounds.
Traffic congestion, noise, vandalism, and property damage are just some of the problems that can occur so nullifying any will definitely provide a happier and safer community. Some instances might be hard to avoid but as the event manager, you won’t suffer the possible backlash if you’ve done your homework and notified the appropriate residents and businesses. In most cases the local community will be encouraging such events but it only takes one, like Joan from across the road who has decided the noise is too loud for her cat or that her daily routine has been rudely disrupted.
To help prevent these issues, here is a list of communication tools that you can use to notify local residents and businesses about your event:
Letters - Make sure your creative when sending out a bulk number of letters. Disguise them, make sure they don’t look like spam (tip - make them look like a postcard, everyone wants to read a postcard)
Facebook Groups - Low-cost option, easy and fast way to create awareness. Could be local community groups, sports groups, festival groups etc.
Magazines/Newspapers - Low-cost, great way to reach out to a mature audience that might not be on Facebook or other social media platforms
Electric traffic signs (Appropriate for large scale events)
You may require all of the following tools, but to save you time and money it’s important to also recognize the size and type of impact it will have on the city/town, as this can determine what resources you will need to notify the locals.
To help you identify where you sit on the event scale here’s a guideline from Tauranga city council
Low impact event
- No road closures or disruption to public transport
- Low numbers of registered food vendors
- Low numbers of amusement devices (e.g. bouncy castle)
- Multiple items of simple infrastructure (e.g. ezi-ups, portable toilets, small stage)
Examples include community days, fundraising events or park-based fun runs/walks.
Medium impact event
- Minor road closures and potential disruption to public transport
- Multiple food vendors (approximately more than five) and/or liquor-licensed areas
- Amusement devices (e.g. bouncy castle)
- Multiple items of infrastructure and/or an infrastructure build requiring building consent e.g. marquees etc.
- Multiple contractors
Examples include triathlons, large-scale sporting events, music events with stages.
High impact event
- Significant number of people expected to attend
- Road closures, disruption to public transport and high impact to traffic expected
- Multiple food vendors and/or liquor licensed areas
- Significant infrastructure builds- Multiple event sites and/or days
- Resource consent required
Examples include major sporting events or music festivals.
Once you’ve identified your place in the pecking order you should now have an idea for who your event is going to affect and how you will notify them. Along with notifying the locals, don't forget to measure the scale of your event, as this will give you an indication if an event permit is required.
Putting these steps in place may seem complex at first, but If you’re wanting your event to run smoothly with no hiccups along the way, then a robust plan/checklist must be in place. Notifying the right people is only one of the creases that need to be ironed out when planning your event, however if you triumph, that's one less disruption and one less disruption means you're one step closer to a successful event.
If you’re wanting to see the full list, check out Blerter’s in-depth guide to event planning.