Organizing events at sektor5 for almost 5 years (we have a birthday coming up in September) we learned a thing or two about what makes a good one. In no order of importance:
We keep our event calendar very much up-to-date. When planning your event do check if the date you’re going for is still available. Hosting a workshop on an evening another meetup is planned – and absolutely set on the date and time? Check with firstname.lastname@example.org what the possibilities are.
Depending on the size of your event you might have a one-pager on your website, a Facebook event, a page on Eventbrite, or you might use a different service. In our experience, working with a ticketing service of some sort trumps using Facebook. People tend to casually click on ‘join’ on Facebook while registering via Eventbrite requires a little more time and conscience.
In any case make sure you send us the link to the event details. We’d be happy to put it up on our event calendar and share it via our social channels and in our internal messaging channel when we think the content is interesting for our community.
Tying into the event page, even if you want to keep your event free for attendees, you might want to consider asking for a deposit. With Eventbrite for instance, you could ask for 5 to 10 euro (plus fees) which people pay using Paypal, bank transfer or credit card. At the event you keep a check list of who shows up and you either refund them via Eventbrite on the spot or at a later point in time. For our Rice Steamer the other day we asked the attendees if they would instead donate their spend, for us to put in future events.
Found a sponsor for your event? Great! Sponsoring usually means taking over rent for our space or covering a set amount of drinks for your attendees. Make sure you send us their billing details and the amount they’re looking to sponsor. Having worked with a lot of companies in the past we’re also able to say if a company is trustworthy or not – we’ve burned our hands a couple of times…
Is no-one backing up your event just yet? We often can help you out finding the right sponsor for your event, so don’t hesitate to ask.
Make sure you mention our address (Siebenbrunnengasse 44, 1050 Vienna) to your attendees. Then: navigational signs. Typically you’d need two pointing left and two pointing right. We’d be happy to print those out at the space and help you put them up on strategic points, guiding your attendees to the 1st floor.
When your groups exceeds the 30-people range, you need a special setting or a certain light (or lack thereof), we’re happy to rearrange the space to your needs (within reason). Make sure you’re in an hour early to help one of our team members carry some of the heavier tables.
Our cafe-area hosts up to 40 people depending on the format, our conference room about 20 and the back of our space from 15 up to a 100 comfortably, with some major rearranging up to 200. Our balcony is very much open for your attendees but please help us make sure that no more than 20 people at once go outside. At 10pm we close the terrace and people who’d like to smoke can do so in our staircase or downstairs in the courtyard.
We have three projectors, in our conference room, the cafe area and in the back. Adapters for most laptops we can provide as well as microphones, a mixpanel and network or audio cables. Clickers and the likes you’ll have to bring yourself.
We have two big (!) white boards in our conference room and two flipcharts that are mobile. A1-sized paper is available for brainstorming, as well as markers and post-its.
Think about who in your group of organizers will take on moderating the event. Who’s the main point of communication with your speakers or workshop leader? Who will make sure the Q&A won’t derail? Make sure she’s got some questions prepared if your audience falls shy – it happens!
Print out the registration list so you can keep track at the event who showed up and who didn’t. Ask your attendees if you can use their email address to keep them updated on future events.
And get some name stickers. Potentially with the assignment to put something on there that might spark conversation, like a twitter handle or some ‘tags’ an attendee defines herself by. Free network tip!
… these our some of our lessons learned. Good luck with setting up your next event!