When it comes to running a successful church event, often preparation and planning is as important, if not more so, than advertising it. If you do not plan and manage your event effectively you may find that you struggle to find an appropriate venue, spend too much money, lose money due to cancellation, have very few attendees or, in extreme cases, risk the health and safety of all those involved. This guide covers six of the most important tips to keep in mind when planning a church event to help you make it as successful and enjoyable as possible for everyone.
Establish SMART Goals
At the outset you need to establish why you are running the event and what you hope to achieve. These goals should be SMART, i.e. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely so you can measure the event’s level of success at the end. These goals will enable you, and your team, to prioritise certain aspects of the event and to streamline the planning process. For example, the event may be intended to raise money for a specific project within the church or to provide the local community with a family fun day which will encourage people to engage with the church.
Create a Risk Assessment
A risk assessment enables you to identify aspects of your event which may pose a risk to the church, the community, volunteers and attendees so you can take the necessary steps to minimise those risks. For example, a risk assessment should be carried out on your chosen venue to ensure that any potential safety hazards are removed.
Get the Right Insurance
While your risk assessment should highlight any key areas which require careful planning, there are some circumstances and incidents which are not predictable. This is why it’s essential that you have the correct level of church insurance which includes Public Liability cover and will insure against specific risks your event may include. Some policies will also cover you against money lost should the event need to be cancelled for reasons beyond your control.
Build a Committee
It is far easier, and often much more effective, when an event is planned and managed by a team of people rather than an individual. By bringing an event committee together you will benefit from a wide range of skillsets and more people to support the coordination of the event. They will also have their own personal and professional network to call on to increase the reach of the event. Ideally, there should be one person on the committee who has the final decision on decisions and each meeting should be documented.
Planning and running event can become costly very quickly if you do not have a budget in place, so it’s best to have at least one person maintaining control of incoming and outgoing money. A budgeting spreadsheet is a great way to keep an ongoing record and keep plans from going over budget.
Most church events are run by a dedicated team of volunteers but, as the event organiser, you have a responsibility to ensure that each volunteer is properly trained and capable of fulfilling their role safely and effectively. They may require personal protective clothing or equipment and if they will be working with children you should carry out a criminal background check. Consider using a volunteer application form when recruiting a team so you can identify any relevant skills and experience they have which might be of help during the event, or any health issues which may impact the duties you assign them.
Consider Hiring Contractors
Depending on the nature of your event, you may choose to hire third party contractors and reputable event suppliers to provide services or entertainment for your attendees. This could include portable toilet facilities, food and drink vendors, rides for children, fireworks, live music etc. It’s crucial that you ensure any contractors have the required health and safety accreditations and that they have their own public liability insurance and experience.