12 Apr 2020 Are Professional Event Planning Services What Your Next Association Event Needs?
If your association has been struggling to put together its annual conference or other events, you’re not the only one. Many organizations find event planning to be an arduous task.
You don’t have to go it alone. There are professional event planners who can shepherd your group through the process from your first brainstorming sessions to the final moments of the event.
What do professional event planners do?
Some event planners cover a wide range of event types, while others focus on business conferences. Some work within certain professional niches, such as government or medical events. The scope of their duties is broad:
- Meet with clients initially
- Plan a timetable
- Create a checklist
- Check venues and sample caterers
- Solicit bids and prices for services
- Purchase or order supplies
- Coordinate extras, like security and transportation
- Work with risk management
- Order name badges
- Create an event website and publicity
- Meet with clients during planning
- Oversee the event on the day
- Ensure attendee satisfaction, dealing with issues
- Handle event aftermath
- Manage event budget and pay invoices
Many event planners go through certification programs. A large number of event planners have college degrees in hospitality or business administration.
Why might your association need professional event planning assistance?
Event planning, for most pros, is a full-time job. Does your association have staff devoted solely to planning your events? If not, you may be asking them to work overtime or taxing volunteers who could better serve your organization in other ways. Professional event planners understand that long hours under pressure are part of the job.
Speaking of volunteers, what happens if something goes wrong at one of your events? With volunteers, there is little you can do. However, with a pro, you’ll have accountability built in. They’ll check in with you along the way during the event planning stages, which allows you to course correct as needed.
Event planners have connections that most associations do not. They can secure venues that might otherwise be unavailable, and they have access to dozens of caterers and suppliers at their fingertips. Often, those connections come with discounts and perks, of which your association can avail itself.
Attention to Detail
Unless you have vast breadth of experience, your association may not even know what goes into planning an event. You could accidentally omit vital audio-visual components, for example, or forget to order barware for the welcome reception. Professional event planners maintain a meticulous checklist, so you won’t miss anything.
Eye for Aesthetics
Without a professional touch, your event might come off looking amateurish. Think of it like arranging flowers from your backyard versus buying a bouquet from a commercial florist. Professional event planners know how to create a visual theme and carry it through the event. They can wow attendees with beautiful tents, stunning tables, and all those little elements that set the scene, like music and lighting.
Knowledge of Trends
Because event planning is the professional’s full-time job, it’s their business to keep up with industry trends. They can present options for your event that you might not have on your radar, like using high-tech visuals or harnessing the power of 5G technology.
What are some options for your association?
If the idea of hiring a professional event planner sounds more appealing after reading the list above, there are some choices for you.
Perhaps it’s time to take your association events up a notch. In that case, hiring an event planner for soup-to-nuts services fits the bill. You can monitor both qualitative feedback and financials to determine if the model is worth repeating.
Many event planners are happy to work with your staff and volunteers, doing some but not all of the tasks, so you can take advantage of inhouse brain power and labor without overburdening them. In that case, look for planners who have experience serving charities and nonprofits, as those groups will be structured similar to your association.
For associations that host a large number of events, having an in-house event planner might make sense.
You can also outsource some of your event and meeting planning to an association management company, like Jaffe Management. We offer a wealth of services for associations that includes planning internal meetings, conference marketing, and membership administration. Reach out today if we can help your association with its next big event, as well as all your other day-to-day tasks that keep your organization competitive and running smoothly.