From a location to hold the event to activities, there are a lot of choices that need to be made. This badge program focuses on determining your needs and creating a very loose event – basically the planning, not the doing.
For more information on the next steps, see the Enrichment Project badge program –” Event Planning”.
NOTE: This badge features event preplanning where volunteers do the work and the costs are kept to a minimum.
Before you start anything, decide if you’re going to be in charge and how much help you’ll need. For a small troop event, you might just need a couple volunteers to run activities. Creating a committee will bring in other’s viewpoints, ideas and experiences. Decide if you want to work as a committee or by yourself.
2. Determine your event.
Decide what kind of event you want. Your event will dictate the work, cost and help you will need. If you’re stumped, try the Enrichment Project badge program “Event Possibilities” for some event choices to get your creative juices started.
3. Identify your audience.
After deciding what you want to do, decide who will be participating in your event. Physical abilities, mental abilities, maturity and more will shape your objectives and activities. In addition, you may want to limit it to only Girl Scout Brownies, adult members, families, etc. Do you need to put a cap on the number of attendees? Is there a maximum number of people who can attend before the event becomes a free-for-all?
Decide how to deal with those who do not fit your criteria and attempt to attend anyway.
4. Identify your objectives.
What do you want your participants to get out of your event? Fun, obviously, but do you want them to do more than that? You might be running the event to give your volunteers the experience of running an event. Create a list of objectives you’d like to achieve.
5. Historical reference.
Before you reinvent the wheel, so to speak, find out if an event similar to what you’re thinking has been done before. Check youth groups, church groups and community groups. Also see if there are any event planners in your area who have stories to share. If so, find out what they did, what challenges were encountered and how the event went. This will help you plan your own event and increase the chance of success.
6. Rules and regulations.
If you’re planning an event for a special interest group, check to see if there are any rules, regulations, procedures, etc. you need to keep in mind.
For example, for a Girl Scout audience, you’d need to follow the Girl Scout Leadership Experience model as well as the Safety Activity Checklist and Volunteer Essentials.
7. Select a theme.
It’s easier to plan an event if it has a theme. It makes your activities flow together and creates a cohesion for your participants. You can adjust many popular activities to a theme. For example, add broomsticks to a game of tag to follow a Harry Potter theme.
8. Brainstorm activities.
Even if you have a committee, brainstorm some ideas before you get together. You may even ask others to brainstorm themselves before you meet. By having some ideas to start, you’ll prompt others into action. Keep a list of all the activities mentioned as you may find some that you’d like to do at future events.
9. Resources available.
What do you have available to you? How about members of your committee, friends or family? You might find you can get items donate, additional volunteers, support or even a free venue. This might be someone who can design flyers for you, make physical props for the event or something else that you would need to waste time and resources doing yourself.
For example, for a cook out you could get yard games from friends and family to provide additional activities for no additional cost.
10. Determine finances.
You can do anything if you throw enough money at it, but that’s not the focus of this badge program. We want to host events that cost as little as possible. Decide how much you can charge, what you want to offer and use the finances as the structure of your event.
11. Tentative dates.
Ask everyone involved in planning to bring their personal calendars. Also, if you have a calendar for the location you’d like to use, include that as well. Pick out two or three dates for your event so you have some wiggle room for planning.
When you select a location, you need to have an area that offers space for your activities and your participants. Pay attention to the availability of tables, chairs, outlets, parking and other on-site items you will need. Find out if your chosen location has rules and restrictions you need to follow. Do they charge for amenities or are they included in the rental fees?
13. Photographer or videographer.
Do you want photos or videos of the event? Do you want to rely on participants to send in photos? These decisions will be based on how you plan to use the photos. If you plan on putting out a newsletter and it goes out two weeks after the event, will you be able to get enough pictures for it? Or if you want to share the fun on Facebook, is it a problem not getting images for a month or two?
NOTE: If you plan on being featured in a local newspaper / web site, contact them to find out what you need to do.
Email. Newspapers. Newsletters. Flyers. There are many ways to promote your event. Some are free and some will cost you a bit of money. How can you reach your ideal participant?
NOTE: Most people need to see notice of an event three times before they take action. Sending out a single flyer will not do a lot of good while adding a reminder email two days before registration ends may get more participation.
15. Registration and reservations.
How will you take registrations / reservations? If you’re asking for money, who will collect it? Do you have a process to check in participants and keep the crashers out? Will you accept people who come that didn’t RSVP?
16. Is it a go?
Sometimes after preplanning, you may find that your event is not feasible. If this is the case, save this work so you can refer to it in the future when you might be able to run your event.
NOTE: If you can overcome the objections / issues that arise and you are very motivated to host the event, continue your work with the “Event Planning” badge program.
Sites to Explore