As the President of the Kent Palestinian Solidarity Group and as someone who is involved in a number of different campaigns, sometimes planning events can seem a bit overwhelming. It is especially terrifying when you are representing a society or an organization – so many last minute ‘what if’s’ begin to plague your mind.
Firstly, it is always good to remember that events are never as complicated as they seem. Don’t get me wrong – there is a lot to organise, but a step-by-step process is easy and allows you to tackle everything efficiently.
For any event, the first things to decide are the theme, the date, venue and the agenda for the day. So for example, if you are organizing a social, you might want the theme to be ‘Christmas-y’, and you would have to pick a day before the end of term, one that is usually not busy lectures-wise, commonly Wednesday, Friday or Saturday.
Once that is decided, the next step is deciding on a venue. Although sometimes it is good to look at new and different options, and then do a comparative analysis, this is not a perfect world and you may not have the time to do that. If that is the case – do not panic! In my experience, the best events are the ones held at venues that did not take too much consideration – but that might just be my luck. Therefore, for example, for this type of dinner I would consider the restaurants I have really enjoyed in Canterbury and those would be ones that have good food and a large space. Once I’ve narrowed it down to about three preferences, I begin calling them up to see what kind of offers they might have for my target number of people and I would then book the venue based on that.
Once the venue, theme, and date have been sorted – you are about halfway there. Each event is different; some will require ticketing, perhaps more high-end advertising, and other more event-specific tasks. Generally though, the next step is to advertise on social media – you always need to make sure you have enough time to create an event on Facebook and that you have added every relevant person possible. The other key thing is that the rest of your team members advertise it with you – don’t be afraid to push this and ask other close friends to share it on their pages. Sometimes it can seem as though sharing it on your profile is not doing anything because you might not necessarily be getting the likes, but it does make people more aware of the event and the greater the publicity, the better the turnout.
Lastly, it is important to have an agenda in mind – event organisers always need to be flexible in that you need to consider what would happen both if people arrived as earlier or if they stayed later than expected. The ideal situation is that in both scenarios, there are no problems with the venue. If this means overbooking a room or restaurant for a while extra, definitely do it. Chances are this will happen and it’s a lot easier to feel calm if you have a backup.
Mostly though socials and event organizing needs a good support system, and so if you are feeling overwhelmed, choose a few people you can rely on and ask for a second opinion. It never hurts.
Best of luck to all aspiring events coordinators,