Planning and executing successful community events help to develop communities. This is because local gatherings can build relationships, stimulate local businesses, and promote a neighborhood. They can also help a community work towards common goals to improve the area.
However, there are several steps to take when planning a gathering. Planners must ensure that the event relates to the needs and goals of the community while ensuring everyone’s safety.
How to Plan Community Events
The first step in planning successful community events is to create goals. What are you trying to achieve with this gathering?
Community improvement should always be a goal for any local event. Reasons to have a creative community event include:
- Business Development
Community events, from fairs to fundraisers, are powerful tools to help boost local small businesses.
- Educational Events
Educational topics, such as sustainability or inclusion, can develop the community.
- Tourism Promotion
Tourism events, such as town birthdays or new building dedications, can grow and improve the neighborhood.
- Local Issues
Local concerns, such as crime rates or youth opportunities, can unite locals for the good of all.
Keep apprised of news and events impacting your community, such as:
- building a new development
- an area enrichment program
- local green living initiatives
Brainstorming will help you discover the community’s needs and target your event.
Event Planning Basics
Once your goals are in place, you can organize your community event. Let’s look at some of the basics to do so.
Setting Your Budget
All community events will require a budget for venue fees, permits, entertainment, security, staffing, and food. You may also need to rent tents, festival rides, and equipment such as lighting and sound systems.
You will also need to determine how many attendees the event will have so you can be sure that your venue, catering, and activities can accommodate everyone.
Selecting a Venue
Be sure that your venue can support the activities you want to host, whether it’s indoors or outdoors. You should also make sure that your location fits in your budget requirements. Researching necessary permits, regulations, and licensing requirements can help you make this decision.
Outdoor venues give you room for live concerts, fireworks, and carnival rides. Food trucks work best for food. A BBQ party is a great idea for a local event because it’s casual and easily hosted at any local park facility with grills. An outdoor event provides enough space for an unexpected turnout. However, you’ll also need to provide public restroom facilities or portable toilets. Outdoor events also require inclement weather plans.
Indoor events can be held in any weather, making them more convenient. It also makes incorporating activities that require electrical equipment much easier. In some cases, they may also be more accessible than outdoor venues. You can help make an event like this more appealing to the public by having a fun theme, such as a chili-making contest or a dip party. You can also choose a venue with a kitchen area to accommodate any catering needs.
Staffing and Decorating the Venue
Once you have your venue selected, it’s time to start getting ready for the event itself. Some items you will need to rent and set up include tables, chairs, and electrical equipment. Pre-plan and test any audio-visual elements, including lighting, entertainment rehearsals, and the like. Don’t forget to have a budget for decorations if you so choose.
Of course, the most important part of getting your event ready is ensuring that it is properly staffed, with paid employees or volunteers. You also must ensure that any interactive events, entertainment, or guest speakers are booked in advance.
Promoting Your Event
Social media is one of the best ways to share about your community events with little cost. You may want to spread the word in local community groups on Facebook and other venues. You can also post flyers around town or advertise in the local press.
However, word of mouth is a simple way to spread the word. If you are a member of a local chamber of commerce or networking groups, share your event there too.
Safety and Accessibility for Your Event
Regardless of where you host your event, it’s important to assess safety risks and accessibility requirements for your event. Beyond protecting your data and equipment, you’ll need to have solutions for each of the following:
- Crowd Management
Create a plan to manage the event attendees, including protocols if someone gets aggressive or an emergency strikes. It’s best to run through different scenarios with your team to assess your needs.
- Food Safety
Be sure your food vendors are fully licensed and have proper permits, especially regarding safe cooking protocols. Inspect their processes to make sure they meet regulations.
- Medical Support
Have a plan to help attendees with injuries, illness, or other medical issues, such as food poisoning or bee stings. Bring in local medical professionals to provide on-site medical care and emergency transportation.
- Fire Hazards
Have a fire safety plan, including evacuation routes and fire extinguisher placement. Assess your event for potential fire hazards, such as electronic equipment or fireworks.
- Child Safety
Be sure to childproof your space before the event. You want to make sure that children do not have any access to hazardous chemicals, like cleaning supplies. You can also install child safety covers on outlets and secure any electrical wiring.
- Accessibility Planning
Ensure the indoor public space is accessible, including wheelchair access and a disability bathroom. Walk through the plan with community members to ensure everything is inclusive.
Safety and accessibility planning ensure that everyone can attend your event without worry. Community event planning is an excellent tool to bring people together to help the neighborhood. With creative planning that covers every contingency, your event will be memorable and repeatable. That helps the community achieve its goals and builds your reputation as well.
About the Writer: Miles is an independent writer with a background in business and passion for tech, psychology, news, and simply helping people live happy and fulfilled lives. He has lived and traveled all over the United States and continues to expand his awareness and experiences. When he is not writing, he is most likely mountain biking or kicking back with a cup of tea.