Successful events don’t just happen – they’re the result of planning. The bigger the event, the bigger the plan. Just because Christian events are usually run by volunteers doesn’t mean you can get away with less planning. The more effort you put in beforehand, the more successful your event will be.

Here are the key issues you need to think about when planning your event.

1. Choose an event people want to come to

You don’t want people coming to your event just because they’re supporting their church. You want them to come because they want to be there, because the event is so compelling they can’t afford to miss it. Whether it’s a concert or teaching event, a visiting speaker or a drama production, make sure the content will appeal to the people you expect to be there.

2. Know who your event is aimed at

A Christian music festival will attract a very difference audience from a book launch event or a charity fund-raiser.

The way you plan your event will be heavily influenced by the sort of people you expect to attend. Will they be mainly people from your church? Are you expecting lots of non-Christians? What will the typical age be? For children’s events the expected age-group will be obvious. But for others it won’t be – so you need to think about it.

3. Choose the right date

Spend time with your calendar when you plan the event. Make sure you know how it will fit in with school holidays, public holidays and other local happening. You don’t want to schedule a major youth event to discover it clashes with something similar elsewhere. Booking a training day on a bank holiday weekend will probably reduce the number of people able to attend. Plan your dates to maximise the availability of your target audience.

4. Estimate the numbers attending

How many people do you expect to come to your event? Don’t get over-ambitious. If you hope a hundred will come, plan for fifty. It would be better to have your event over-subscribed, and even to turn people away, than to run something with lots of empty seats. If you need to repeat it to meet demand, it’s a success.

5. Choose the right venue

There are plenty of issues involved in finding the right place for your event. Does the venue have the right atmosphere? Can you make the changes necessary for your event – staging, lighting and the like. Is the venue easy to get to by public transport and is there enough car parking available? What impact will your event have on the venue neighbours?

6. Finance

Every event involves some costs, even Christian events run in church buildings by volunteers. You need to make a list of all these costs – refreshments, equipment hire, travel expenses, printing of publicity materials and more. How will the expenses be covered? Will you be charging an entrance fee or expecting donations, or is the church paying all the bills? If you expect to raise money from tickets or gifts, what happens if you don’t get enough?

7. Marketing

You need to use marketing methods that will be picked up by your target audience. For a concert aimed at teenages, for example, use Facebook and text messages as well as more traditional methods. Make sure your marketing material gives people all the information they need – where, when, how much and most importantly – why they need to be there! The quality of your marketing material will set an expectation for the quality of the event.

8. Build a Great Team

Unless you’re organising a very small event, you’re going to need help. You’ll need people to work on the planning, the preparation, on the day and with clearing up. You also want people to pray and perhaps support financially. Put together a team as soon as possible. Don’t just ask your church for volunteers – identify who you think the right people are and ask them directly. People respond much more positively to a direct personal request.

Yadah Christian Events Network
http://www.ycen.co.uk

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