Creating a planning committee for your campus event will help to delegate and layout the important tasks to help your event run smoothly. The goal here is to get more students involved, go forth and multiply. Getting a team of 6 or more student leaders will help divide the workload. You will need a student leader to be responsible for each of the following: Speaker, Venue and Logistics, Budget, Campus Promotion, Community Promotion, and of course Social Media.
Create strict timelines, and stick to those timelines. The main function for the committee is to get the word out for your event! Promotion! This is the lifeblood of your event. Your job and the job of the committee is to generate word of mouth buzz! There is a lot that goes into creating that buzz. The committee should break down all the different jobs. You can’t advertise too much, but you could start advertising too early (you can start talking about your event at any time to get people excited and let them know that this event is happening, but as for campus promotion, 6 weeks is probably too early). CAVEAT! Each campus is different, so you will definitely want to ask around and see what has worked in the past. You want to build up your marketing campaign and create momentum. Your event has to have a presence on campus leading up to the actual event.
Breaking Down the Committee Leaders Responsibilities
Speaker – This student leader will be the point person for all communication with the speaker and/or the speaker’s team. The student leader also assists in executing the contract, securing the deposit (if needed). The leader must understand speaker’s schedule – what time will he be arriving in town, scheduling any marketing calls (some speakers will make themselves available to help you promote your event), when will they want to come to the venue, any interviews lined up? All these things should be arranged before hand, you don’t want to surprise the speaker with an unknown interview. We know that things come up…so if you are able to get an interview last minute – by all means ask, but be prepared to hear no, if they had no previous knowledge. This person will also be responsible for any communication after the event, send feedback, newspaper articles, pictures, etc.
Venue + Logistics – “The line between disorder and order is logistics.” – Sun Tzu.
If you can find a student who is majoring in event planning, this would be ideal but not necessary. This person will also be in communication with the student leader who is working closely with the speaker. You will have to figure out if you are getting money from multiple places, when are the checks cut, do you need an invoice, will you need a W-9, what type of contract is necessary, will the speaker’s contract be good enough or does the school have a specific one for outside vendors? You will handle the specific room set-up, any signage, ushers, and technical needs. You will want to have a person in charge of all that goes into the venue. Promoting access for people with disabilities is a must. Sign-language interpreter, assistive listening device, wheelchair access or parking are examples of what might be needed. The best way to accomplish this is to meet with the Disability Services department and get their input. What equipment is needed? Where do you get it? How long in advance do you need to submit a request form for the equipment? How long do you have the space? Secure ushers for seating – it is always better to have ushers and not need them than to not have ushers and need them. Make sure you ALWAYS leave the venue in better condition than how you found it. Tip: 10-14 days before event, check-in with the venue to confirm that everything is taken care of.
Budget – This person should be the one most responsible for the event. He/she should be in charge of the purse strings. You will work closely with the campus promotion and community promotion. You will allocate where you are going to spend your money. Will you have to pay to make copies of posters? How many? Will you do any out of the box ideas? What will the return on investment be? (Meaning how will it translate to getting people to your event.) The budget should be brought up at every meeting. Depending on where you get your money from, some of that money may come with stipulations. We will go into how to find the funding in another post!
For the following student leader positions, we will go in-depth in other posts – click on the link for more info!
Campus Promotion – Click here for our post on Campus Promotion!
Community Promotion – Click here for our post on Community Promotion!
Social Media – Click here for our post on Social Media!
“The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas. – Linus Pauling
This list is pretty comprehensive, but you don’t have to stop here. Brainstorm how you can make this even better, add more! When planning an event or promoting an event, the bottom line here is that you want to be creative and persistent. The event will come and go pretty fast, but the skills you build and the friendships you make can last a lifetime. Have fun!!
Rollin’ to a town near you!
P.S. Want to learn more about how Mike and Tim can share their story with YOUR group? Let’s Talk!