Event Logistics to Check Off Your List

event planning logistics for your fundraising event

GFS Events gives us the inside scoop on essential event planning logistics and a great checklist for the week of your fundraiser.

Preparing for Success: The Art of Pre-event Logistics

Gazala Uradnik is an experienced fundraising professional who founded GFS Events, and she had some amazing insight to share about preparing for your upcoming event, advised on some common pitfalls to watch out for, and provided a great list of last-minute checks to ensure your fundraiser goes smoothly.

At the outset of your event planning process, Gazala suggested four important things to keep in mind:

  1. Your goals and objectives: Take a good look at why you’re holding this event, and center those goals in your planning process. Make sure holding this event is the right path toward achieving those goals.
  2. Event budget: How much are you trying to raise? If this is an established, repeat event, you should be seeing a 20% increase in revenue year over year.
    1. When making up your budget, remember that costs have gone up dramatically.
    2. Make a line item for contingencies and other unexpected expenses so you have backup money to spare for surprises and incidentals
  3. A timeline leading up to the event: Try to give yourself at least a 1-2 week cushion for each task. Start off high-level, then add specific dates as you get closer to your event, assigning tasks as they come up. Remember that your timeline isn’t set in stone, so allow yourself to be a little flexible.
  4. Permits and licenses. Make sure you know exactly which permits and licenses you need to run your event. Go to your state liquor board to find out the rules and what you might need, such as a special occasion license, in order to serve alcohol at your event.
  • Note that raffle rules differ from state to state, and you should know them before you hold one.

The Countdown Begins: Event Logistics in the Week Leading Up

Behind the Scenes: On-site Setup and Coordination

When choosing a venue, here are a few important things to keep in mind:

  • If you plan to hold a silent auction, is there plenty of space?
  • Is it accessible and ADA-compliant?
  • Can you negotiate discounts on hotel blocks, catering, corkage fees, or valet and parking?

Don’t be afraid to negotiate with your venue!

Delighting Taste Buds: Catering and Refreshment Logistics

Select a catering company that can provide a diversity of choices for people with allergies, sensitivities, and alternative diets.

Run Through Event Expectations with your Audio Visual Team

Make sure you set a healthy budget for AV, since you likely won’t know all of the costs associated up front. Before you speak to a vendor, think carefully about your program and what you’ll need.

Use Professional Photographers to Capture the Magical Moments

Getting high-quality photos of your event is a great way to promote future years’ events. Be sure to set up a shot list in advance so your photographer knows which attendees to photograph and where to find them. Consider assigning a volunteer to help the photographer locate VIPs.

Talk About Your Needs with Your Videographer

Decide on your video needs early and hire a professional to produce your video. Don’t wait until the day of the event! You can use teasers in advance to get people excited about your event.

Define the Entertainment Experience

Choose an act that everyone can enjoy. Make the experience memorable, so people are still talking about it after they leave.

Who Does What? Auctioneer or Emcee

Resist the urge for a board member or other member of the community to act as an emcee. Bringing on a professional means they know how to engage the entire room.

  • Have a meeting one month out from the event.
  • On the week of the event, do a run-of-show with your emcee or auctioneer.
  • Hold a rehearsal the day of the event.

Know Your Needs When Recruiting Volunteers

Before you recruit volunteers, create job descriptions for each position you need to fill and seek out individuals with those skills. Putting job descriptions on name tags helps everyone know what they’re supposed to be doing. And always thoroughly train your volunteers before the event on their tasks!

The Big Day Arrives: Executing Flawless Event Logistics

Are you ready for the big day? Here’s a quick list of things you need to do in the week leading up to your fundraising event.

  1. Meet with each of your vendors and establish when they need to arrive, and what expectations are.
  2. Provide a seating chart to caterers with seat totals for each table and a list of who ordered which meal. Be sure to include a run-of-show so they know when they need to leave the ballroom!
  3. Run through the event with your AV vendor a few hours before the event.
  4. Run through the event with your AV vendor a few hours before the event.

A Job Well Done: Wrapping Up and Reflecting on Event Logistics

The best thing you can do for yourself and your fundraising event is to give yourself and your team grace when things don’t work out exactly as expected. There will be hiccups along the way, so take it in stride and do what you can to make sure your donors are having fun and enjoying themselves. At the end of the day, it’s your mission and your cause that matter, and your donors will feel that passion in everything you do.

We would like to thank Gazala from GFS Events for attending this webinar and offering so many valuable insights. You can watch the full webinar on Event Logistics to Check Off Your List for more insights.

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