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How To Create Epic Community Events

There are countless types of community events you can host and countless reasons for hosting them. Whether it’s an oyster-shucking festival benefitting a local charity or a micro-brew festival with proceeds going to an animal shelter, community events provide invaluable face-to-face interaction with local consumers. The organizer raises funds and awareness for the cause, and sponsors get a chance to interact one-on-one with customers in their own backyard.

Here are some tips from event-planning professionals on how to plan an epic community event from start to finish.

Sell your vision.
“It’s crucial to have buy-in from all of the participating vendors and sponsors to understand the vision, theme, flow, and purpose of the event,” says Stephanie Erb of Neighbormaker Events. “If the participating businesses understand that you have their best interest in mind, you will be amazed at the excitement and willingness to jump on board with whatever way you choose to showcase your event.”

Get organized.
“Create a timeline and use it. Sit down and map out when things need to be completed by and set reminders to get them done. This will make the last week before your event a lot less chaotic,” says Sharon McRill, Owner and President of Betty Brigade. “Also, make a checklist of the things you’ll need and check them off once they’re bought, booked or confirmed. This way you can go through the list to look for anything you may have missed and get it done in time for your next event.”

Build in extra time.
“Things often take longer than expected, especially when you’re working with a committee,” says Simon Tam, author of How to Get Sponsorships and Endorsements. “Wording or artwork can change, so you want time to deal with these things. Also, work in extra time for proofing text and artwork.”

Look for partners – not sponsors.
“You’ll get so much more from local organizations if they donate to your cause as well as have their employees participate as volunteers,” Tam says. “They’ll get a nice team-building experience as well as face-time in the community, and you’ll get extra help. Everybody wins.”

Select the right partners.
“After you draft a sponsorship letter, target large organizations that share similar goals, objectives, and target audience to that of the event,” says Tiffany Gillespie, Owner of To the “T” Events and Catering.

Choose quality promotional products.
“Focus on the kinds of things you’d actually want yourself,” advises Tam. “Quality matters. If you want constituents to wear your t-shirt, make sure it looks great and is comfortable. If things feel cheap, they’ll be treated as such and end up in the waste bin.”

Be prepared on site.
Gillespie says: “During the event, make sure that you have enough staff for the event and that everyone is on schedule and working efficiently. For post-event duties, make sure that you have a clean-up crew and have arranged pick up/return of all rented equipment.”

Wrap up the event properly.
“After the event, it’s important to send thank-you letters and e-mails to supporters,” notes Amore Leighton Black, Creative Director for Apples & Oranges Public Relations. “You should also publish a press release about your event.”

Exceptional community events don’t just happen – they’re made. Follow the experts’ advice to have a solid strategy for your event. Start early, be mindful of all the details during the event, and don’t forget the follow-up. ePromos’ Brand Consultants are here with their creative expertise to help you build a community event that leaves a lasting impression.

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