This is a guest post from Ann Taylor, development coordinator, Children’s Nurturing Project. Taylor is the member of a multi-organizational team that is planning a running event, the Solano Turkey Trot, to raise awareness and funds for four non-profits.
Find a race course: check.
Get permissions from the city, county, and venue: check.
Certify the course, seek sponsorships, hire a race director, promote the event, create brochures, set up a booth, handle registration, order tee-shirts and attend meetings.
Are you still checking off that list? With so many steps in planning running events (or, any event), it’s easy to become overwhelmed with the duties we need to accomplish.
The best way to attack this to-do list is through collaboration. Here are four ways to collaborate, with a particular focus on non-profits, in order to get the job done.
Step 1: Share the Glory
Large events require more than a one-agency team.
Non-profit organizations are often eager to connect with like-minded organizations to share their cause. Seek out these agencies in your community.
We are planning a running event that benefits four non-profits. Children’s Nurturing Project provides programs and services to children; Heather House supports homeless families; Meals-on-Wheels of Solano County provides nutritious meals to the needy; and, Mission Solano provides shelter for homeless people.
As you can see, a common thread exists among the four agencies. With common goals, we can build a larger, stronger team, for a larger, stronger event.
Step 2: Divide and Conquer
Now that all of the agencies are on-board and ready to go, it’s time to assign major areas of responsibility.
The best approach is to appoint each agency with full responsibility for one or more areas that require constant gardening. Our major areas are Logistics, Registration and Website, P.R. and Promotions, and the Expo Area.
Our Executive Directors assign one or more point-persons to help with each process. Assigning staff to attend committee meetings provides insight and solutions that come from their own experiences or issues dealt with in their own agencies.
And don’t forget those volunteers! They are an important addition to any event and many organizations look forward to the opportunity to help.
Step 3: Meeting Time
Establish a schedule and format. Our race is in late-November, so we typically schedule our first meeting in the first part of the year. Once spring appears, it is sensible to start having two meetings per month.
Meetings don’t need to be long, but they definitely need to include minutes for the team to review and discuss. If it doesn’t get written down, you risk losing valuable information with little time to recover.
Step 4: Release and Re-group
The event is over. We have one day to celebrate, a week or two of rest and then it’s time to re-group!
It is important to have the post-event meeting shortly after the race. Not only do we get to pat ourselves on the back for a job well done, but we also recognize that we need to capture what went right, what went wrong, what we would like to change, and what our next steps will be going forward. Otherwise, this information gets lost in the shuffle.
Collaboration is a key factor for any event. I hope that by using these simple techniques, your event will run smoothly to the finish line!