5 Ideas to Motivate Your Event Planning Committee

Behind a great event stands a team of hardworking volunteers, board members, and staff.

Event committees work a long game and teams are susceptible to fundraising – and planning – fatigue. Leaders are wise to add a few team motivators to their master calendar. For inspiration, here are 5 ideas to motivate your event planning committee:

1) Throw a party

Engage your committee right out of the gate with a “kick-off” party to commence event activities. This dedicated, non-ask function doubles as team energizer and learning opportunity. Use this time to showcase the mission and vision of the organization behind the event: a strong sense of purpose will help drive committee members forward.

Keep the party light and fun (90 minutes in length, tops). Open houses are ideal but not always possible, in which case get creative and work within your network to find a venue. Restaurants, park pavilions, local landmarks and private homes all provide wonderful settings. But don’t allow your party to become a budget line item – plan far enough in advance to leverage in-kind food and beverages.

2) Write a thank you note

In the daily grind leading to event day, it can be hard to find time to give credit where credit is due. Sometimes the smallest gesture can make an impact; specifically, the thank you note. Social science research has shown that notes of gratitude promote a wide range of positive interpersonal outcomes. Though it takes only a moment, a sincere note with a personalized message is sure to delight and galvanize committee members. Aim for hand-written notes – this extra bit effort distinguishes it from an everyday email.

3) Use social media

The event space has become increasingly digital and a multitude of channels are available for committees to interact with each other and the public. Take your team digital by creating an online venue for committee members to interact and share ideas. The result? Team connectedness. Social media is also a place to publicly recognize, encourage and praise your team members. Close-knit teams tend to be motivated teams.

4) Assign a buddy

Appealing to the social nature of people, a skilled facilitator forms groups when he/she wants to develop team spirit and enhance cooperation among the group members. Your event committee is most likely already divided into tasked sub-groups, however, you may find some team members are less engaged than others. Perhaps they are new to the committee or are simply a less assertive than others in the group.

The idea to “assign a buddy” is suited for those individuals in the group who could use a motivational boost. Matchup team members according to strengths and interests and assign projects accordingly. Tackling a job in pairs enables team members to mentor and learn from each other (plus it is usually a lot more fun). Note that a subtle, fluid approach to the buddy system is likely to function best within your event committee.

5) Ask what they need

Sometimes, volunteers will pull back from working on a project upon encountering a roadblock (real or perceived). What might appear as low interest or motivation may, in fact, be an individual’s uncertainty about the job at hand. Maybe a team member feels sheepish about asking for further guidance on a task, so instead puts forth less effort. Or maybe he/she needs something to move forward but is waiting for the next meeting to get it squared away (therefore losing valuable time). This can be resolved by reaching out to your team members on an individual basis – or put a standing process in place – to ask what they need in order to fulfill their roles. Sometimes the best motivator is the knowledge (or tool) needed to get the job done.

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