I’ve said it many times – the Event Coordinator is the key to a perfectly planned and executed fundraiser. (Note: For the purposes of this article, I’m describing the person in charge of the event the Event Coordinator. This person may be a trained professional, a staff member or a volunteer.)
With that clarification, I’m happy to reveal my list of 4 Do’s & Don’ts for Event Coordinators on the night of the event.
One of the mistakes they make is not getting ready for the event in a timely fashion.
Chances are, on the day of the event, the Event Coordinator has been at the venue since early to mid-morning. And, the closer time gets to the doors opening, the more the Event Coordinator becomes increasingly nervous.
So, here’s my first helpful suggestion.
1. DO get ready for the event in a timely fashion.
If the event begins at 6 p.m. the Event Coordinator should have eaten and gotten dressed by 4:30pm and re-arrived at the venue between 60 to 90 minutes ahead of the doors opening. That should give him or her plenty of time to relax prior to the event and then to deal with any loose ends once (s)he returns to the venue.
Too often the Event Coordinator delays getting themselves ready until the last minute and by the time (s)he arrives, panic sets in because of all the final details which still need to be addressed. This creates too much stress on the Coordinator, as well as the staff and volunteers. You do not want your guests arriving to a panic-filled room.
2. Don’t assign yourself duties the night of the fundraiser.
Most people know the line of thinking, “It’s just easier to do everything myself.” Well, that might be true, but it’s not the best use of the Event Coordinator’s time.
Far in advance of the event, the Event Coordinator should have delegated duties to another committee member or volunteer. Running around looking for a replacement silent auction bid sheet is not good use of the Event Coordinator’s time. Delegate that responsibility. This will give the Event Coordinator time to focus on the bigger issues that may be looming on the horizon.
Here’s a great tip. The Event Coordinator should be given a designated area within the venue during the final hour or so before the doors open. This will give the staff and volunteers a specific location to go to in an effort to get their questions answered quickly. When the doors open, the Event Coordinator should remain in this area for the same reasons.
3. Don’t sit down for dinner.
As I mentioned in my first mistake – Event Coordinators should have had something to eat by 4:30pm if the fundraiser starts at 6. When I see an Event Coordinator take a seat at a table I think to myself, “This is not good!”
Chances are they don’t have time to sit down and eat. There are little things that will come up and they’ll have to attend to them. Besides, the guests sitting at the same table should not have to put up with constant interruptions – during friendly conversation – or while eating.
There’s another good reason they should not be seated at a table – they can’t scan the room.
I highly recommend the Event Coordinator remain standing throughout the fundraiser so they can easily spot a problem and be spotted should a problem arise. In other words, they should think of themselves as a park ranger – high in a fire tower – observing closely what’s happening below them.
Due to the fact this position requires a lot of standing, a comfortable pair of shoes, at least for this portion of the evening, is highly recommended.
And finally, the Event Coordinator should never consume alcohol until after the event.
4. Do remain sober.
Drinking effects our decision-making process and the coordinator needs to have 100% of his or her faculties at all times during the fundraiser.
So, if you’re an Event Coordinator for an upcoming event – remember these simple do’s and don’ts. People look to you as their leader. It will take some sacrifices on your part to live up to the job, but the increased results in revenue and a smooth flowing fundraising event are worth the strategic effort.
If you need a benefit auctioneer for your upcoming fundraiser, I offer consultations and I’m happy to lend my 20+ years of experience. Simply email me the date and time of the event and how I can help.