Industry Insights – Tips on Planning a Corporate or Community Event

By Amy Riley

At Red Carpet Events and Design, we have a long list of corporate and community clients we work with year after year. From galas to fundraisers, grand openings and brand launches, to employee celebrations and company milestone events, these types of events often take on a very different planning tone than dealing directly with a bridal couple or an intimate family celebration.

We realize the pressure and time table that managers and committees are under when they come to us with an event, especially as these people are often stepping out of their corporate comfort zone and usual job role to assume the additional responsibilities of managing and executing a perfect event.

Below are some of the first questions we ask our clients to identify how our team can assist in meeting the goals and objectives of each corporate or community event client:

1) What is the goal of this event?
This question really brings an event into perspective – is this a major announcement? A reward for employees? A retreat to recharge and refocus? Or is this driven by a fundraising purpose or an awareness campaign for a non-profit beneficiary? By identifying the ultimate goal, our team is able to strategize key elements of an event including the key audience (a thank you to employees has a very different look and feel than appealing to major donors), appropriate venue and vendors (is an event photographer or specialty lighting and audio visual needed, etc), and begin to outline the program and flow of the event to meet those goals.

2) What is the budget?
Multiple elements factor into the financial return on an event including venue fees (and what items – like chairs, parking and bathrooms – each venue provides for guests), food and beverages (this will usually be a huge portion of the overall budget depending on the style of the event and those in attendance), general decor and production needs (including materials for any presentation or program, room embellishments, centerpieces and more), entertainment, and takeaways (ranging from photos of guests, to corporate swag or thank you gifts – and often these types of items are specialty orders).

3) What is the timeline?
This is often the most important question we can possibly ask. By working with a client to better understand their deadlines, our team can utilize our network of resources and talents. These needs can range from creating presentations, storyboards and layouts for event committees or key decision makers, ordering or creating custom or branded elements, to developing a program, hiring talent (a band, an emcee), creating group activities or writing a script for a presentation. We often develop a long-term and day-of timeline for clients very early in the process so that the stress of figuring out “when”, “how” and “who” is identified and achievable.

Our “job” is to make the planner or leadership of a corporate client or community event shine. Seeing and hearing THEIR success and accolades is our privilege as event planners (and it is so exciting seeing the finished product of a long process!). Helping each group meet objectives and exceed expectations, in addition to alleviating the stress and questions along the way, is our expertise and something we strive for with every client.