Sponsoring community events takes a lot of work. There are so many moving pieces to coordinate and get right for the event to run smoothly. If you pull everything off, though, hosting events is a fantastic opportunity to engage with the members of your community and to attract new faces. So let’s talk about some things to keep in mind so that your next event will be the best it can be.
Find the Right Event
Every kind of event will have more or less success, depending on the interests of your members. The best thing you can do is find something that is going to connect with your current members. Get everyone involved and find out what kind of event interests them.
Balancing interest with the cost of the event will help get you an idea of which event will have the best return. Unlike business, your ROI isn’t strictly financial, but the more people you can reach for the lowest cost, the more you can optimize your scheduling and engage with many more people for the same budget.
If it’s something that has a lot of interest, it will be easier to find enthusiastic volunteers, and build the kind of enthusiasm for the event that you want. Your members will encourage more friends and family to attend. You will be able to reach more minds and engage more hearts by starting with the right event.
Some ideas for events include:
- Family Movie Night
- Super Bowl Party
- Block Party
- Art show
- Lunch Event
- Parent’s Night Out
- Raise Money for Charity
- Talent Shows
- Yard Sales
- Car Wash
Try organizing one of these events, or get creative and use these ideas as a starting point.
Keep in touch with your members.
The importance of keeping everyone who cares about your church up to date on current events can’t be understated. Today, keeping in touch with people is expected.
Set up a monthly calendar so that your events can take priority for members. Encourage people to add your events to their Google calendar. They can see far in advance what they want to do with you and can schedule the chaos of daily life around those important events.
Keep your website and all the social networks that you are active in up to date. More and more, that is how you interact with people daily. How else are they going to know about your events?
Get the word out
It’s hard for someone to attend an event they don’t know about. Prayers aren't enough to get your message out there. As soon as you set the date, start letting everyone know about it. Reach out to your entire community. Tell them what’s happening in your newsletter, online, send them an automated phone call or text, make sure that they know what’s happening.
Used car dealers aren't the only ones that need to advertise. The whole point of advertising is to let as many people as possible know about what is going on and to try to target the people who will be most interested. Reaching out beyond your circle is how you are going to attract new people.
One person can’t do everything alone. A great event comes together with the effort of many different people giving a hand. You need people you trust. Get a few volunteers on board to help. Delegate tasks to your volunteers. If you are running multiple events, having someone else in charge of planning each event puts a lot of the burden off of your shoulders.
Assign job duties to everyone who wants to help so that it is clear who is responsible for what. They teach the same thing in first aid training. Shouting to a crowd for someone, anyone to call 911 to get help only results in a crowd of spectators. Singling people out and giving them specific tasks makes sure they get it done. You will get better results if everyone knows what they are supposed to do and when.
Organize for the even in accordance with the size of it. A simple luncheon might only need a few group emails to coordinate. A large festival with half a dozen activities might need a dedicated chart to keep everything clear and make sure no details get overlooked.
It’s tempting to live by the old mantra that, “If you want it done right, do it yourself,” but you aren't more productive. You are creating a bottleneck that everything has to come through. You will be able to get a lot more done without touching it yourself, and allowing other people to take over will allow them to add their touch. The result is almost always better when other people can work together.
Communicating is critical to pulling everything off. Make it easy to communicate with planners by setting up a consistent day of the week to discuss everything. They will know when they can reach you, and you will have an easier time fitting everything else you need to into your week.
Focus on the Experiences of those who attend
The events that you hold are a huge selling point for the value that you can offer someone for joining your community. It might be the first interaction they have with your church, or it might be what shows them what it will be like to be part of this community. Focus on what you can give them, not what they can give you.
Have a goal for your event. There should be something you are trying to get people to try or do with each event. Think about what the appeal for your event will be for existing members and new people just joining for the day. Think of a great theme to have the event act as one cohesive whole. Have fun dressing up the venue with creative decorations. Think about things you haven’t done before. If you spend money on decorations, try to make them as versatile as possible so that you can use them more often.
Don’t improvise the activities for the event. Have them planned out, and assigned with each detail taken care of. Think creatively about what you can do at each event. Make the activities something that you will want to participate in too.
Be creative with the food. It doesn’t need to be the same potluck at every event. The food is often the biggest attraction for the event. It pays to get it right.
If you can manage to get all your ducks in a row, you’re on your way to hosting events that the community will love while demonstrating your value to potential new members.