As a community manager, you might have to plan and run a low budget event either in the beginning or midway your role.
If it is your first time this might be a daunting task but we have put together these few steps to guide you on how to organize your very first event with limited funds.
1. Set clear goals and objectives.
Plan and identify the targets you want to achieve with the event, you expected outcomes will help you define metrics which in turn can be used to measure the impact of your event and the return on investment.
2. Set a target audience.
Understanding your audience and the number you wish to attend your event is critical knowledge that you will factor in when drawing a budget.
3. Put together a small team.
More hands-on deck is better than going in solo. An active dedicated team that understands the event’s goals will crunch through tasks at a much quicker pace with incredible quality.
4. Come up with a catchy name and tag line.
Sometimes the name and catch phrase sell before a person reads the details of the event so pick a short and catchy name if possible. Add some humour to the tag line and you will have sold out tickets because guests will expect to have fun at the event.
5. Draft a budget for the event.
Draw an expense plan for the funds you have available, try as much as possible to include everything that you might need to pay for before, during and after the event. You can go 20% over the normal price so as to cover for fluctuations, unforeseen expenses or emergencies.
6. Event schedule.
Do you know how the event will run? What activities are to be done in the beginning and towards the end? An updated rotter for the speakers, visuals, meals, the people responsible for different activities on the team, an agenda? All these are important things that need to be in order for your event to be organized.
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7. Implement a digital marketing strategy and creative graphics.
Social media marketing both organic and paid will get you a wider interested audience and several prospective guests.
The use of online event networks and tools like Eventbrite will also help target people who are specifically looking out for events like yours – better yet it links to your social media accounts, tracks sign ups and even generates a Facebook event page for you.
All this of course won’t get you much if the description is considered boring or unclear and the brand designs are dull or unattractive.
8. Make strategic partnerships.
Partner with organisations that share the same objectives or are into creating the same impact as you. Pitch to them contributing money, certain resources, marketing or helping in the event organization in exchange for being included as official partners on the creative designs or being given time to speak at the event.
This can help you especially offset costs like the venue, food, Internet, marketing and branding.
9. Start early and keep time.
“The earliest bird catches the worm” – Organise the venue and what you can the evening before so that in the morning, you are working on getting other items like breakfast to the venue if the event is all day.
Getting early to the venue also gives you time to correct anything you missed ahead of time before people get there and it is also a very satisfying feeling to meet another soul at the venue when you make it early for an event. So be there before everyone else and interact with the guests before your event starts.
After a good event, it is great practice for us to take out the team that we worked with and some of our partners for a light beer or pizza to thank them for the good work done and appreciate their efforts.
You may, or may not do this; but reward and appreciation motivates people to work harder next time and to volunteer to help you again because they feel part of something amazing and their efforts are recognized.
Based on 6 years of experience running several low budget events especially for nonprofits, we have found these are the most important tips that helped us achieve our goals.
However, these may change depending on the type of event, time frame, target audience and even country so make the necessary adaptations and please share with us the ones that worked for you.
Credit: Some of the images used in this article are from Pixabay
Lawk is a mozillian, writes for Spur, Newslibre and consults part time for Every1Mobile and Innovware.
He loves open source, the open web, writing, reading and developing literacy tools that can teach the youth around the world especially in East Africa.