Guide To Planning A Stress-Free Event: Association Edition

The event planner life isn’t easy. Working within your budget to create an event that will further your association’s mission and inspire members to renew membership is stressful. After hour 139 on site, when you can no longer ignore the pain in your feet and the badges won’t print, the stress can be enough to force you to shut down – not that you can. So what measures are you taking to decrease some of this stress and enjoy your work? We have a few suggestions.

Control Reactions to Unreasonable Member Requests

A board member wants a special speaker who is internationally-recognised though no longer alive to speak at the next event? An important member wants to know why Gary Mehigan can’t cook the next intimate lunch event? Some members have unrealistic expectations, but you need to control your reaction. Take a minute, find the humour in the ask, then respond with a cool head. 

Don’t Spend Hours Deduping Data

Spreadsheets and cells and pivot tables – oh my! When you got into the event planning industry, did you expect to spend so much time on Excel? Make a pledge to spend less time deduping and cross-checking endless spreadsheets. It’s 2019, there’s better tech out there! Try out Cvent’s Event Management Platform and decrease your Excel pain. If you could get out of Excel, wouldn’t you?

Force Members to Hold on to Badges

Why can’t members hold on to one badge for the year? Why do printing costs need to increase because new badges have to be printed at each event? Try to make one badge for the year and print the rest as needed. Your members can remember to give back their badges or bring them with them.

Keep the Mission at Heart

Never forget that the purpose of the association guides everything you do. Let the mission show in every event. 

Stop Dreaming About Having More Resources

Depending on what association you work for, it’s unlikely that you have a huge budget, or your budget varies year-to-year. Come to terms with bargain shopping and cost-effective planning to make your small budget work overtime for you. 

Don’t Forget to Eat and Hydrate Onsite

On days when your steps tracker crosses 50k and you’re answering every text, don’t forget about the little things. Taking the time to eat and hydrate will keep your energy up and prevent you from crashing at the eleventh hour.

Prove Your Worth

Your clients don’t understand the value of events. They expect you to put on impactful events that change lives but slash your budget. There’s no reason to beat your head against the wall and hope that unsolicited rave reviews from attendees will find their way to the client. Track everything, from check-in, to speaker attendance, and more with integrated tech platforms.

Take a Moment

Don’t let your event pass you by without taking a moment to stop and take it in. It’s easy to get lost in the details and the problems, but take time to recognise the incredible result of your efforts. Schedule 5-10 minutes per event to disconnect, walk around, and take in the moment.

Being an event planner can be an incredibly rewarding career. You’re working to further the mission of an association that is working towards something great. You create experiences that individuals will remember for their entire lives. Focus on the experiences and use the above tips to help you decrease unnecessary stress. Enjoy your work, love your life.

Written by Amrutha Sarayu