The Twelve Days of Holiday Short Cuts!

Does the idea of holiday party planning leave you frost bitten instead of holly and jolly?  Here are a few simple tips for making your holidays a little less stressful!

On the first day of planning:

Define your event and audience.  Is it a family gathering, a client appreciation, or an open house?  Your event purpose will direct everything that follows.

On the second day of planning:

Decide on your venue or destination.  You have many options available to you – restaurant, hotel, your home, or even a grange hall. This decision will allow you to coordinate all your available resources such as catering options, rentals needs, or how much labor you will need.

On the third day of planning:

Keep it simple!  If your event is a casual event, there is no need for an extravagant menu – just a delicious one!  So make sure you have 2-3 dishes that are perfected and let the rest go!  Décor is just to set the mood; pick one vignette and make it memorable. Don’t waste precious time and energy trying to dress up the whole space!  People remember the event – not the details (as long as nothing terrible happens!)

On the fourth day of planning:

Make it personal to you and yours!  This idea shouldn’t mean more work for you – in fact it should be a natural conclusion.  Perhaps it is personalized place cards or guest gift, lit candles, or the smell of spices on the oven.  Think about what would make you feel “special” and do that for your guests.

On the fifth day of planning:

Delegate whenever possible.  Whether it is asking friends and family to bring dishes or hiring a professional to handle the details, you don’t have to do it all yourself.  Read and repeat!

On the sixth day of planning:

A rule of thumb is that 1/3 of your invited guests will regretfully decline (or not RSVP at all)….that being said…..

On the seventh day of planning:

Always err on the side of excess.  Plan on a minimum of 5% more than expected – this goes for beverages, food, or even tokens of appreciations.

On the eighth day of planning:

Create an agenda – even if you never use it.  It is a great tool to plan for contingencies or keep things moving along smoothly if they stall or become awkward.

On the ninth day of planning:

Do a dry run!  This small practice can make all the difference and save you some heartache!  Make sure your team members/labor know what your expectations are and are prepared to handle any emergencies should they occur.

On the tenth day of planning:

Be flexible.  Know that nothing ever goes as planned so be prepared to think on your feet.  Your guests can feel your tension so quickly acknowledge the issue, make the necessary changes or decisions and move on.  Nothing about an event is life or death (normally!)

On the eleventh day of planning:

Enjoy!  Remember a party is supposed to be fun! – For you too!!

On the twelfth day of planning:

Follow up!  Send a personal thank you or phone call to your guests – be memorable!

Event planners save your most valuable resources… time, money and people.

  • We save your organization time because we provide a one-stop shopping experience for all or your event needs.
  • We save your organization money because we have the resources on an larger scale to get the job done on time and within your budget.
  • Because we are looking after your needs and doing what we do best, it allows people within your organization to do what they do best.

We believe that hiring an event planner is not a luxury; it is a practical approach to your event.  Hiring an event planner makes sense for people who:

  • are unable to spend unlimited hours planning their event
  • need help staying organized and on schedule
  • need referrals when selecting vendors
  • need creative ideas to personalize their event
  • need assistance staying within their budget
  • would like the input of an experienced professional

A successfully orchestrated event benefits from an individual or team of individuals with professional management experience, accurate and timely attention to detail, and access to a wide array of resources.  A professional event manager has the experience and resources that could save you time, money, and frustration. An event manager will execute your creative ideas while providing additional inspiration—and opportunities.

Building stronger boards for better events!

Anyone who has ever had to plan an event knows that there are so many variables and your Board is one of the most important!

This post will cover some of the prevailing myths about board members, expectations, and understanding your events through their eyes.Let’s start with some…COMMON MYTHS ABOUT IMPROVING BOARD EFFECTIVENESS…

Anyone who has ever had to plan an event knows that there are so many variables and your Board is one of the most important!

This post will cover some of the prevailing myths about board members, expectations, and understanding your events through their eyes.

Let’s start with some…COMMON MYTHS ABOUT IMPROVING BOARD EFFECTIVENESS

Bigger is better.
Belief: Adding new members will improve board giving power and effectiveness.
Reality: New members quickly acclimate to the existing board culture and the sense of accountability is diluted even further. New board members will become demoralized and frustrated and the original board problem is now a larger one.

Once on the board, a wealthy person will soon make big gifts.
Belief: People with great giving capacity will make big gifts if they are on the board.
Reality: Wealthy people give in response to compelling factors and an appropriate ask just like everyone else. They do not make large contributions just because they are wealthy, or asked to serve on a board. Don’t expect a new board member to make a large gift unless they are committed to the vision for the organization, and everyone else is giving at the most generous level they can afford.

We are a working board, not a giving board.
Belief: Board members don’t have to give financially to the organization, nor help to raise money.
Reality: If they don’t give to your organization, they can’t ask others for contributions effectively or in good faith. If they do not belief enough in the mission of the organization to support it financially, do you really want them on your board? Organizations need board leaders to solicit support from community and business peers.

Board service is an honorary privilege.
Belief: An invitation to serve on a board is a confirmation of status and achievement by community leaders.
Reality: This person has not had a proper orientation by the board with clearly outlined expectations of performance and responsibility. Tolerating or condoning this behavior sends the message that this position is acceptable. When some are excused from work, others question why they should carry the load. Soon there will be no critical mass present to inspire and secure much needed charitable funding.

CRITICAL STEPS IN IMPROVING BOARD EFFECTIVENESS

It is never to late or to early to begin planning for reform. Below are some basic, yet fundamental steps, to strengthen your board:

  • Establish clearly, what is or will be the board’s mandate. The primary focus of the board should be centered on leading the organization and securing financial support. Any other activities should be viewed as secondary and perhaps the domain of non-board volunteers. A sober assessment of the needs ahead will help board leaders to identify and articulate a clear and compelling vision for the board.
  • Determine the composition of the board before any recruiting begins. This is the next logical step to building a strong and effective board. Considerations of expertise, personal and professional networks, ability to provide and secure financial support, and commitment to the well-being and future growth of the organization should be emphasized.
  • Provide a detailed job description to every prospective board member (and current member if necessary). Describe everything you would want to know. What will be expected of me? How much time is necessary? How long is the term? Is there a probationary period? Work with the prospective volunteer to identify and tap into their talents and strengths. Everything should be clear before the volunteer attends his or her first board meeting.
  • Point to the job description to make sure the prospective board members understands that annual financial support is expected of each board member. A minimal giving level should be established and observed.
  • Adjust active board size to around 12 members. One effective method to reduce board size is to discuss a new job description with each member. Are they willing to do what is necessary or would they prefer to gracefully resign so a more motivated community leader can fill the position (or wait for their term to expire). Every board should have or institute volunteer term limits to systematically address problem of uncommitted board members.
  • Another option is to create an honorary board or advisory board for volunteers who you would like to move off the board of directors, yet wish to maintain their affiliation with your organization.

SUMMARY

There is never a better time to start addressing the weakness on your board than the present. Tomorrow will place additional demands on your organization—some new, some familiar. Will your board be up to the challenge? Take a moment to make an honest and objective assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of your board. Work with your most committed leaders to identify long-term and short-term objectives and what needs to be done to achieve your goals. Approach the recruiting of a new board member with the same care you would use in hiring a new employee. Stick to the fundamentals and you will not only have a more effective board, you will have more enthusiastic board members. And you and your organization’s staff will be all the more happy for it.