We recently finished producing a month-long festival that included more than 20 events. Yes, 20 events in 30 days.
20 events in 30 days does not happen successfully without a strong plan, a committed team and a clear strategy. We had all three of those and all indications are that the festival was a smashing success:
- Financially, the program exceeded goals.
- Due to strategic intent and careful follow-through, the program received a tremendous amount of press coverage, increasing community awareness and engagement.
- The festival was clearly viewed as a starting point, and not a culmination.
When we first started working on this program, we followed the same strategic process we do with every client, beginning with clearly identifying what people should know, do, and feel as a result of attending. The result of those strategic conversations was a clear plan that everyone supported.
This Is a Launching Pad
From the outset, our client was diligent about treating this event as a strategic business endeavor and a launching pad to other marketing and community initiatives. The event was not the final goal – it was an action designed deliberately to meet other goals. This is true about most every event we produce, but the other goals aren’t typically a part of planning conversations. That was different in this planning cycle, in that most every conversation involved references to other goals, to ensure that everyone on the team was crystal clear on the vision and purpose.
Be Strategic In Your Team
Sometimes volunteer resources are so scarce that any willing volunteer gets placed into any available position, and this can lead to less than desired results. That was not the case for this event, and we were thoroughly impressed with the process our client designed to create the various committees. They were very strategic in the selection process outlining the skill sets and experience that was needed on each committee first. Once that outline was complete, then they began to seek the volunteers that met those qualifications. No volunteer was placed into a role that was not suitable for his or her skills and experience, and it made a world of difference in the planning.
Engage Your Board
When working with boards, we sometimes encounter people who were selected more for honorary purposes or people who aren’t necessarily fully committed to the process and the goals. Our client knew that strong board engagement was critical to the success of this event (as an action) and ultimately to the other goals that this event supported. We had specific conversations and planning meetings about board engagement and how to ensure that every board member was committed to the process, and the engagement tactics we created were specific, easy for board members to implement, and most importantly, measurable. Our client was able to track the success of each tactic by board member, something we don’t see very often.
Although we pride ourselves on being results fanatics that "make it happen" for our clients, we also believe the proof is in the process. With the right strategies and the right people, any organization can grow exponentially and have a positive impact on their community.