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Event Planning Goodness

Updated on January 6, 2017

How To Plan An Event With No Money

Not having money to do what you want sucks, but you should never let a lack of capital get in the way of a good time! And if you want to plan an event with no money, things can easily get dicey but with some know-how and elbow grease (nasty), you can easily throw a successful event. And even if you haven't had to deal with a lack of funds to plan an event, you'll find that these tips can help you better sculpt your budget!

We've all been there

1. Get Sponsorships and Donations
Let's face it, it's pretty difficult to plan even a tea party without spending even a couple dollars. And if you're looking to do a bigger event, you're going to inevitably have to spend money somewhere. That's where sponsorships and donations come in handy! If you're wanting to be doing a bigger event, sponsorships are a very viable option. Think of your event and the type of crowd going to it, and then think of the kind of products that might appeal to them or the companies that may want to target them, and then contact those same groups for sponsorship opportunities. If you're doing a smaller event, perhaps look into getting donations from friends or family.

2. Volunteers
Free volunteering may sound tricky to you, but if you're going to be doing an event that requires volunteers, you'll need to think of some alternative way to compensate them. Alcohol sponsorships can make this a lot easier for you, but of course you'll need your event to be 21+ and also have it be appropriate for your event.

3. Venues
Venues cost money, but does your house? Does the local community center? Perhaps a friend's place? Look closer to your home, both literally and figuratively. I know of multiple events that have taken place at a local community center and friend's or relative's homes and they've done extremely well.

4. Marketing
Thanks to the internet, you can do marketing for next to nothing. In a lot of cases, the only true investment will be your time! Social sites like Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Pinterest are all ideal for talking about and marketing your event. If you'd like to know more about how to market your event for specific niches, check out my event marketing post here. Do some target audience planning beforehand as well to make the most out of your time.

5. Event Websites
Creating a normal website costs money unless you're doing a free trial (only 2 weeks) on Squarespace or Wix, but putting your event on a website such as Ticketbud costs absolutely nothing to you. Plus you can sell tickets, do RSVPs, and post your sponsorships (if you have them).

6. Team Communication and Accounting
If your team consists of more than one person, you'll want to have an easy way to communicate with them as well as a way to print out fliers or do spreadsheets to see what you need to do the event. My best recommendation is to use Google Drive. Not only can you do documents and spreadsheets, but your entire group can collaborate on event items. You can even chat inside each document which will further allow you all to stay up-to-date.

7 Habits of Highly Successful Event Planners

Are you interested in finding out what it takes to become a successful event planner? I messaged event designers and did some research of my own to figure out what makes some event planners stand out more than others. I also took the time to look at the top event planners and designers and I discovered some common links between them. The trend that I found (and that you’ll see here) is that they are ambitious and willing to go the extra mile. They’re also not afraid of critique nor are they scared of what other people think.

1.Never Stops Learning

Did you know that most people only read one book a year, and that this number is declining? Talk with most people, and they’ll tell you that after they graduated from college or they received their event planning certification that they’re done with learning. To be successful, you need to keep advancing your knowledge. And this isn’t just about reading books, it’s also about getting experience and practical tips to know how to run a successful event. So whether it’s reading blogs of other event planners, buying books on event marketing, or helping out your friend with her bridal shower, you need to keep honing your skill set. If you don’t, you can and will fall behind.

2.Works Well With Others

You might be the only event planner for the event, but that doesn’t grant you omnipotence. For most events you’re also going to have to work with caterers, speakers, ticketing, vendors, and a lot more. Even the most basic events will require you to coordinate with others. A valuable tip, and also the Golden Rule: “people treat you how you treat them”.

3.Uses Technology (When Appropriate)

There’s a whole slew of event technology nowadays, so much it seems overdone. There’s iBeacon, RFID, conference apps, event management software, and so much more. To make matters worse, some blogs seem to say that if there aren’t drones flying overhead snapping photos for your instagram and pinterest blogs then you might as well just pack it in.

Here’s the only litmus test I have for event technology is this: does it make something more fluid? Asked in another way: does it remove some sort of friction from the event and make it more enjoyable for attendees?

For example, I find registration software to be helpful because it removes the chore of excel spreadsheets. Check-in apps and RFID are much cleaner than just checking names off a list and can notify you of VIPs. Conference apps, too, can help measure engagement. They can also help attendees schedule their days more efficiently.

I say appropriate use of technology because you can’t be using technology just for the sake of using it. I’ve seen Tweet Walls used to great effect and I’ve also seen them gone unused because they’re in an inappropriate setting.

4.Asks for and Implements Critique

Athletes have coaches, employees have managers, students have teachers. But when you’re an event planner, you’re normally in a situation where there is no critique or feedback towards what you are doing. To be successful at what you’re doing, you need to have someone – like a mentor – to help you improve. People have different personalities and different viewpoints that can make you even better at being an event planner and/or designer. After you receive critique or feedback, you should consider what you have learned. If it’s just negative and provides no learning experience, it’s best to ignore it. But if it’s something that critiques your event in such a way like “you need more ways for attendees to interact with the speaker” then it warrants further thought.

5. They Don’t “Go With the Flow”

“I find out what will be trending and available to the public around the time of my event—and then I avoid it.” —Billy Butchkavitz

One thing I’ve consistently noticed that most of the top event planners is that they are not beholden to the trends that are currently going on. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use a popular trend if it works well for an event. It means that you do your best to make your event stand out from all the other events out there. The best way to make people care about what you’re doing is to have a unique proposition for your event. As the saying goes, the purple puppy is the one that stands out.

6.Wide Range of Knowledge (marketing)

The best event planners are also bloggers and marketers. They are a “Renaissance man” or woman of the event space. Mindy Weiss, for example, knows how to market herself with a blog that talks about events she plans for (and has already designed and done).

7. They let their personality shine

Building off of #5, one of the easiest ways to be successful is to let your personality and creativity shine through in every project you work on. In my experience, most people are too timid and afraid of opinions to achieve peak creativity. Even worse, people can be scared that their designs will put people off. Now here’s the thing: your style could put people off, but that’s okay. Are you curious to know why?

It’s because some other people might find your design style to be whimsical or cutting edge or something else positive. I see articles about companies that love using certain designers because of the aesthetic they bring to the table. Some of these designers are now hailed as the best in the business.

To conclude, I think that a lot of these habits are basic habits that happen to be tuned to an event planning mindset. The best thing about a lot of these habits is that while some of them may be tough to achieve, having them puts you a step above all your competition.


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