The further along the school year goes, there seems to be an event happening every time within the school grounds. Events are the social lifeblood in schools which bond everyone in the community and foster strong school spirit.
Whether you’re a veteran or a first-time organizer, school events seem daunting and even feel intimidating at first, yet with these helpful ideas, you’ll be running your events smoothly in no time at all.
Here are 5 headache-saving tips in running school events:
1. Be clear as to how your event should look like and how it’s supposed to be.
As an organizer or the teacher/adviser for a student-led and organized event, it is important, first and foremost, to state clearly what you and your leadership team’s objectives and expectations are, whether it’s a first time event, a tradition in school, a big school-wide event, or a small intimate one.
For example, a group of organizers wants to create opportunities to improve parent involvement while providing thoughtful topics. The organizers decide to host a brief talk by an outside speaker on the topic of using social media. By clearly knowing the event’s purpose, the organizers might decide to set aside a longer period for the Q & A section. After the formal talk, the organizers may also arrange to set up coffee and snacks for parents, guardians, and guests to mingle and interact with one another and with the speaker.
A great practice is to plan out the event’s logistics and outline the flow, such as what happens when the attendees arrive in school, navigate inside to the room venue, buy tickets, confirm attendance, etc. While it’s a good idea to stick to the plan, for the most part, an even better idea is to be flexible because, paraphrasing Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, things don’t usually go the way you think.
2. Build a strong team that meets and communicates regularly.
Running successful events means having to work with a team of people whom everyone can get along with and count on to accomplish their assigned tasks effectively and efficiently. Everyone has different strengths that each can contribute and bring to the table. When working as a team, communication is key and meeting regularly, either in person or in virtual mode (Facetime, Skype), and then keeping the team informed (taking down minutes and drafting action items) if a member can’t attend.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask for more volunteers.
This is especially true for events that are expected to have a large number of participants such as 3K/5K fun races for charity. As event organizers, you and your team never really knows exactly how many volunteers you’d need the day of the event and even days leading up to the event so it’s always good to have more volunteers. Also, ask for more volunteers ahead of time because for one reason or another, he/she may not show up at the last minute. There’s a chance of about 10-15% of people not showing up (volunteers and attendees alike).
4. Get the school’s Facilities/Security managers or assigned point person involved early.
We can’t stress enough how important it is to bring onboard the school’s point person in charge of facilities and security early in the event’s planning preparations. Even better, if you can bring him/her (or both if they are two people in charge) as part of the event’s team lead organizers. Among the things these managers can help with are ensuring that the venue is safe, providing access to third-party providers (caterers, DJs, party suppliers – tables, chairs, etc.) into school grounds and buildings, providing access to cafeteria for caterers prepping meals, ensuring enough restrooms are open, ensuring enough parking and directing flow of vehicle and foot traffic, and ensuring enough staff to clean and close the school after the event. Also during the day of the event, there’s always something that’s needed from facilities like more tables and chairs for those help check-in attendees or turning lights on or off, for example.
5. Run a dress rehearsal prior to event.
Lastly, having a practice run or a dress rehearsal is important in order to guarantee a successful event. During this practice run, you, your team, and your group of volunteers set up and test all the equipment that will be used throughout the course of the event. Check and recheck the barcode scanners, laptop, ticketing software to see if everything works, and to ensure that the volunteers know how to use the equipment. This is also a good time to review attendee list to avoid potential unpleasantness from those not permitted to attend. Take a walk through with the facilities and security point persons to check the venue, whether there are minor repairs or modifications to be done, where to position buffet tables or food stations and double-check venue exits. Another reason for the dress rehearsal is to safeguard the flow of people (what you and your team envisioned) going through the venue is happening according to plan and, if not, adjust accordingly. Finally, after the dress rehearsal and just before the start of the event, it’s a good idea to review procedures with volunteers such as who to go to for questions, what to do if this or that happens, as well as give a positive cheer, enjoy, and have a good time.
Running a successful event can be summed up in two essential things: preparation and communication. You can’t have one without the other. While you and your team can’t plan for all the scenarios, you are better equipped to make sound decisions doing problem-solving on the fly.
So, consider these tips for your next school event and your success will be guaranteed.
Based in Orange County, CA, Software 4 Schools was founded in 2008 by Ben Star and Michael Buss who were teaching at that time and who wanted to make the school dance’s ticketing run efficiently and record sales and attendance accurately. They developed their own software and hardware and have since branched out to address other tasks that their fellow teachers and school administrators find tedious and take the most time out of their days. Click here for more information.