March 5, 2013

The Spark.

Top 5 Pointers for Planning a Successful Event.

Welcome to The Spark - a tidbit of wisdom to stimulate ideas and help you transform your student organization. The Spark is a bi-weekly resource provided as part of the Student Organization Training & Development program through the Center for Student Involvement. It is sent to all registered officers through PantherSync.

Considering planning an event for your student organization, the UWM campus, or the surrounding community? Don’t know where to start? Just in case you missed the Center for Student Involvement’s CODE Program workshop on event planning, we thought we would share a few proven tips on how you can ensure that your next event is a successful one!

1. Plan in advance. Throwing together a performance or speaker at the last minute is stressful and a complicated task that has a better chance of going wrong than right. Give yourself time to get everything together including a schedule, forms, equipment, reservations and etc. For larger scale events involving multiple offices or Universities, give yourself at least a full semester to a year to plan.

2. Use a production plan. A production plan is an intense schedule identifying the role of each helper, what time each task is taking place, and the location of where people and equipment should be. It is a good way to predict what might happen and develop plans for what could happen. A production plan is the key to being prepared.

3. Be creative in marketing your event! The simple secret behind successful marketing is knowing who your audience is and where they look for information. Create a campaign using a variety of marketing methods to advertise your event. Consider folding social media, websites, promotions, and basic word of mouth opportunities into your campaign. Union Marketing ( at UWM is a great resource to work with you on brainstorming and creating a successful marketing campaign for your event.

4. Gauge your audience. It isn’t easy to plan for attendance at an event. Depending on the type of event, you may have 20 or even up to 1,000 attendees. Set a target goal for attendance, but be flexible on the day of the event, if you can. As an emotional rule, reserve a location that will accommodate less people than your target audience. It is always easier to add chairs if more people show up. Using this method will make not only make the room look full and create positive energy in the room, but the audience and performers/speakers will feel like they picked the right event!

5. Debrief after your event. Get the planning committee together and discuss what you did right and what you did wrong, what went well and what needs to be adjusted if you do this event again. This is a great learning tool that will help you prepare for next time.

Liked these ideas? We've got more! Come learn best practices of Fundraising at our next workshop onTuesday, February 5, 2013 from 2-3 pm in Union 181! Get more details and RSVP.

This Issue of The Spark was written by Lauren Thomas and Danielle Croegaert, two graduate student employees in the Center for Student Involvement. The Center of Student Involvement offers training and workshops to help your organizations function better through our Coaching, Organization Development, and Engagement (CODE) Program. Need advice, training, or help? Request our service for your next meeting.