Associations: An Event Planner's Timeline

associationsHere at Cvent, we know events. We've helped clients coordinate over 500,000 events of all different sizes and types - everything from small board meetings to huge international trade shows. While many of our clients are professionally trained meeting planners, most of our association clients, on the other hand, are completely volunteer run.

When you take control of your chapter's events, it makes sense that you might not be as familiar with the timing necessary for planning, marketing, and opening registration for an event - so we thought it might be helpful to offer some tips so you don't get into a stressful time crunch.

  • First, work backwards NOT from your event date, but from when you want to open registration. Make the gap between the day registration opens and the day of the event a feasible one. When you give people three days to register for something, you're just shooting yourself in the foot and ensuring lackluster attendance.
  • Plan your marketing strategy while you're planning the event details. If you want to send out a save the date, or three reminder emails - work this into your calendar.
  • Budget time to train up on your association's registration system. Whether it's a manual process with sign up forms and Excel sheets or a robust online system like Cvent's event registration software , you need time to learn the ropes. Every once in awhile, we have a brand new client who expects to have a complex conference site open the day after getting their account - not impossible, but especially for volunteers, not very reasonable.
  • Along the same lines, if you're processing fees through your registration system for the first time, make sure to allow time for setup and transaction testing. Sometimes, getting pertinent information from your bank can take longer than you may think, and depending on your setup parameters, you may need to wait for them to coordinate efforts on their side.
  • Plan more time than you think you need. We know things come up - your real job, families, projects - and often by necessity, association business falls by the wayside. Budget for these incidentals in the schedule.

What scheduling tips do you have? Have you had one of those nightmare last-minute planning experiences?

 

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