When you’re planning an event, are you the kind who likes to roll up your sleeves, set wheels in motion, and plunge headlong into details (logistics)? Or are you more of a visionary, a big-picture thinker who likes to paint with broad strokes (strategic)?
Whether you prefer event planning logistics or strategies, or dabbling in a bit of both, these nine milestones and list of pro tips that go along with them are not to be overlooked. We’ve categorized the to do’s as logistic and strategic items, so you can delegate them out to your team members according to their strengths. Note that the milestones may vary for the type of event you’re hosting, but the general rule of thumb is, the earlier you can do them, the better.
12 months out
Some organizations create separate event pages dedicated to planning for their upcoming fundraisers.
For Delta Gamma Phoenix Alumnae Chapter, this lets administers get a head start for their “Tables that Bloom” annual fundraiser that benefits the Delta Gamma Foundation and its philanthropic endeavors.
Tony Marmo, president of the Ulster County Italian-American Foundation, dedicated to advancing and preserving Italian heritage in the Kingston, NY, area, hosts 130-plate dinners each month to raise money for scholarships, cancer treatments, and charities. Each dinner raises as much as $5,000.
“You have to create buzz,” Marmo said. “You need an interesting topic or speaker – something to draw a crowd.”
Six months out from your event date might seem like a long time, but remember, you can’t move forward in other areas until after you’ve made many of your creative decisions.
2) Invitation (include a calendar attachment and set a reminder/alert).
3) Reminder message.
On your calendar invitation, don’t forget to set an event reminder. Include directions and link to a map if that’s not already on your dedicated event site.
On memberplanet, you have a ton of email features at your fingertips, from templates, to targeted distribution lists, to tracking reports. Use them to optimize every email send.
In publicity, reminders are essential. Digital Marketing Ramblings reports the average office worker receives 121 emails every day. Because emails are so disposable and we’re all easily distracted due to multitasking, everyone needs multiple reminders.
Marmo agreed: “One email sent one time just isn’t going to do it. You’ve got to promote the event and sometimes do it in more than one way.”
The logistics of strategy
We’ve just taken a look at strategy and logistics tasks in planning your event. By understanding which types of planners you and your team members are, you can up your game in any of the areas that need work.
Log in and get started with your next event.
Updated and Refreshed since original publication on 12/1/2017
With the school year up and running, the stress of getting the kids back to school begins to dissipate. Books have been bought, lunches have been packed, and you may have even gotten used to the 6 a.m. alarm (hey, we said maybe!). Now that the summer is long gone, PTA efforts are in full swing. It’s time to focus on the fun stuff, like planning for a PTA fundraising event! We’ve put together the three best ways to organize your fall fundraiser. Learning your 1, 2, 3’s has never been so easy.
1. PTA member with a plan: plan ahead
Organization is your golden ticket to running an event smoothly, and you not pulling your hair out. Create a checklist with basic items (budget, timeline, materials, etc.). Your fellow PTA members will look to your leadership to steer the planning process and keep them in the loop of what their roles are. Using online surveys to gather feedback, consolidate detailed information that’s pertinent to your event, and ask for volunteer signups can help cut down time on the back-and-forth correspondence between you and your members.
2. Keep it inviting: send event invites
The sooner you get the word out about your event the more likely it is you’ll see a high turnout. We suggest sending invitations six to eight weeks before the event so attendees can mark their calendars. Our event module allows you to create an event page and send invitations. (You can even add your own PTA logos and images!) We recommend using our Smart List feature when sending events. Smart Lists let you generate email lists for a specific set of people based on the information they’ve submitted. For example, if you sent out an invite to get RSVPs, your next email can target those who replied “yes.” Once you’ve sent the invitations, you can use our event module to post updates and answer any questions guests have. Increasing your engagement efforts beforehand is a great way to build anticipation so everyone is as excited about the event as you are!
3. Sharing is caring
Social media is one of the best marketing tools around, and best of all, it's free! After you've created your event page, use the social sharing icons available to share your event directly from the platform. Ask your PTA members to share on their social pages as well. Each member has a vast and varied network that will increase awareness of the event, and likely boost attendance. The more people share, the more free publicity you get for your event, and your PTA efforts. Along with social media, make sure to ramp up your marketing efforts and spread the word via email flyers, posting information around your community, and publishing announcements on your school or group's website.
Remember to make a plan, send your invites, and spread the word. Most importantly, have fun. The hallmark of a successful event is being able to enjoy yourself alongside your guests.
Our event functionality, donation and email campaign features, and online payment options make it easy to plan for your entire year. So, what are you waiting for? Happy planning!
PTA Simplified is a series of tips for PTA and PTO leaders to get the most out of managing their volunteer members and growing their membership all year long.
Originally published: 10/12/17
Effective PTA leaders have many duties. They have endless parenting obligations, and must commit to becoming a resource to other parents in the community. PTA leaders focus on fundraising because they firmly believe their altruism will help not just their children, but all the children of that school community. As a PTA leader, you might find it challenging to balance these responsibilities. Take the time to understand the online tools at your disposal, and you’ll reap many exciting and lucrative benefits.
Social media reaches more people
The number of social media users is growing exponentially. According to TrackMaven, by 2018, the population of social media users is projected to reach 2.44 billion, or 33 percent of the world population.
It makes perfect sense for PTA leaders to consider how using social media can boost fundraising by targeting specific audiences. For example, the 2016 Global NGO Online Technology Report claims that millennials prefer to give online and they are most often inspired to give by social media. Utilize and mobilize your social media presence to spread the word about fundraising events.
Mobile and online payments simplify the process
A philanthropy study conducted by Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis projected the vast majority of giving would come from individuals and households, contributing 71% of total giving in 2017. And giving to support education at all levels is projected to rise 6.3 percent in 2017. No matter how much these number grow, it won’t benefit your PTA unless you have an easy and convenient way to collect payments and donations.
Offering online and/or mobile payment and donation options do more than just help you broaden your reach. They remove the need for donors to have cash and checks on hand. Accepting online payments leverages today’s tech with potential donors: where it’s only a few clicks from decision to completion of payment. That’s why online donation campaigns see more overall dollars collected. It’s not just easy, it’s a familiar process that donors feel innately comfortable with. According to a Cone Communications study, 48 percent of American adults are likely to use an app to make a donation. What are you waiting for? You can broaden your reach (and increase your donations) by using mobile and online payment methods.
Photos improve engagement
Email drives donations
Email is a powerful tool for driving PTA social media presence and donations. Just ask the people behind the M&R Benchmarks Study who found that for every 1,000 fundraising emails delivered, a nonprofit organization raises $44. When you make emails engaging and fun, you might even pick up some email subscribers.
Keeping your email contacts organized in an online platform makes it seamless to communicate with your whole audience and track their responses. You can test and target your messages to specific recipients, and optimize your fundraising efforts to meet your goals every time.
Beyond emails, organizing your contacts on the platform into customized distribution lists drives engagement in a specific way most suited to your needs. Set them up to send thank-you messages anytime someone donates, or send donation campaign details to any new contacts. Your options aren’t limitless, they’re better: They’re specifics built exactly for you and your group.
By making the most of online tools such as social media, electronic payment options, photo sharing, and email, you can be more successful in your fundraising efforts. These online tools offer PTA units an edge that will make managing fundraising events more effective, and better yet, more engaging.
Learn more about fundraising.
PTA Simplified is a series of tips for PTA and PTO leaders to get the most out of managing their volunteer members and growing their membership all year long.
Originally published: 9/22/2017
Hosting a successful social function is never without its challenges. Lucky for you, we’re here to help you pull it off without breaking a sweat. Whether you’re thanking members, gathering the community, or recruiting new members, use an event as a time to showcase your club at its best. Event planning doesn’t have to be stressful. Following a few key steps (and taking a few deep breaths) can make the whole process more enjoyable.
1. Commit to a committee
Organizing club programs and activities will be much easier if you have a group of event planners. If your club doesn’t already have an event committee, consider asking for volunteers. Ask spouses, family members, and any authorized guests to join in the process. This will allow you to delegate tasks, save time, and benefit from the input and expertise of others. Establish a committee in the early stages of planning your social function. This way, your servicemen and volunteers can be on the same page from day one.
2. Plan ahead
Depending on the type of event your club is hosting, start planning at least four to six months in advance for big gatherings like Airman Leadership School graduations and dinner galas. Make sure to put all recurring annual events on your committee’s calendar. This will give you time to prepare the venue, a caterer, a keynote speaker, or any details that are critical for your event. Give yourself and your team an adequate buffer between planning and execution. Don’t be afraid to multitask, but anticipate event overlap, so separate committees can work in tandem.
3. Create a game plan
Set a goal for each of your events and clarify your intentions. Are you looking to recruit new club members? Are you organizing a membership drive? Or maybe the Cinco De Mayo party? Use each gathering as a publicity opportunity to elevate the exposure of your club if your goal is to attract new servicemen. Share your RSVP with other servicemen to generate buzz and entice them to attend. Knowing exactly what you want the event to achieve will help you plan the necessary details to attain your goals.
4. Make a checklist
Organization is crucial to making sure the event runs smoothly, so create and distribute a checklist before carrying out your plan, and make sure you stick with it. Once you’ve outlined your goal for an event, program, class, or drive, you can start planning everything else. A discussion board can be a valuable tool because it will keep your event committee on track and informed of how plans are progressing.
Here are some basic items to help you start your list:
5. Send invitations
It's important to get the word out to club members and their guests early, within six to eight weeks of the big event, so invitees can save the day and make any necessary arrangements. People are more likely to decline last-minute invitations if they don't have enough notice to set aside the time. This may also make the event seem unorganized.
Creating a web page for the event allows you to post updates and pictures as well as answer questions that invitees may have. Increasing communication and member interaction is a great way to build anticipation to boost attendance. Your event page can include: images, branding, ticketing, and a location map.
6. Stay organized
This is extremely important to avoid mistakes and limit the stress of your event planning. Keeping track of RSVPs, their guests, meal selections, food allergies, and add-ons like raffle tickets, prizes, and more can be a daunting task. Our member management platform streamlines this by allowing guests to RSVP and purchase tickets online using the events module. Event committees benefit when all the necessary information is organized in one location that they can access from virtually anywhere. A month before your event, schedule weekly check-ins with your team. Increase it to daily check-ins the week before the event ensure that everyone is ready-to-go and on the same page.
7. Have fun!
You and your team have worked hard to create the perfect function and now it’s time to profit from a job well done. Remember, in order, to make a game plan, set a goal, and stay organized. And most importantly, have fun! The hallmark of your successful event is being able to enjoy yourself alongside your servicemen.
Our event functionality, donation and email campaign features, discussion boards, and online payment forms within the event module make it easy to plan for your entire year. Let’s get going!
You don’t need a big budget or a celebrity cameo to have a successful event.
Without an impeccable marketing strategy, your beautiful decorations, attractive venue, and well-known guest speaker may go unnoticed. In today’s connection economy, it’s as important to organize a well executed marketing campaign as it is to organize a stellar event. Below are some suggestions you may want to consider for your next big event.
Reach out to your supporters specifically and directly with engaging content. Taking advantage of pay-per-click advertising on Facebook and LinkedIn is an affordable way to reach your target audience, and you will only pay when they take action. This is where quotes from your speaker interviews and videos can be repurposed. The more people share, the more people will see it and want to know what they’re missing out on.
Your local radio and TV stations and newspapers can be a great asset in promoting your next event. In exchange for promoting your local media on your flyers and social media, you should find yourself with substantial free press. Perhaps even offer them free press passes to your event.
Whatever avenue you choose, timing is key. Make sure to start advertising your event at least one month in advance. Use original artwork and be quick and to the point. Regardless of your budget, your marketing efforts can only go in one direction: up!
Email marketing is your most efficient and cost-effective channel to reach your target audience. Contact the members on your email list and send them newsletters. If you don’t have a list, reach out to people within your network to circulate your emails. Be sure your subject line is attention grabbing, your email is going out at an optimum time, you include testimonials, and most importantly, you track what is working and what isn’t. This can all be done on the right email marketing system.
It can be difficult to manage your event and your marketing efforts simultaneously. But, you’re in luck! memberplanet will keep you focused on successfully planning and promoting your event.
Get started with memberplanet now and take the first step toward incorporating your events with your membership.
How the Epsilon Rho Zeta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Uses memberplanet’s Events Features to Boost Revenue by 247%
Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. is one of the nation's largest African American women's organizations. The sorority is predicated on the ideals of scholarship, service, sisterly love, and finer womanhood. The Epsilon Rho Zeta chapter of Zeta Phi Beta is the Northern Delaware Graduate Chapter, and has served the New Castle County area since 1955. Despite the chapter’s support of Zeta Phi Beta’s work on prominent community initiatives, Epsilon Rho Zeta struggled to raise the funds needed to efficiently plan its own events. Its administrators spent too much time chasing after bounced checks and outstanding dues. Since partnering with memberplanet, the chapter has streamlined processes, improved fundraising transparency, and increased online revenue for its top three events by 247%.
Epsilon Rho Zeta was actively involved in prominent initiatives on headquarters’ level, including March of Dimes and American Cancer Society. However, chapter administrators found it challenging to raise the funds needed to support their own operational functions. “It was difficult to plan events and fundraisers as we never knew exactly what resources we would have available — only what we expected to have,” Michelle Mack-Williams, the chapter’s First Vice President, said. New and existing members paid their dues by check or cash, which created a number of hurdles. “We’d have to keep manual records of who paid and who hadn’t, so we could follow up on outstanding dues.” Time that could be spent fundraising or planning events went to chasing down members with an outstanding balance. Bounced checks led to uncomfortable conversations and funding delays, Mack-Williams admitted.
Members and donors expect line-item transparency for financial transactions, and Greek organizations that have fallen behind on technology often struggle to help members and supporters understand how and where their dues and donations are being used. Not only does this impact people’s willingness to give, it also affects an organization’s ability to understand the effectiveness of its initiatives, making it difficult to determine what events are most successful in raising funds.
Once the chapter teamed up with memberplanet, the ability and convenience of making donations and paying dues electronically, rather than only accepting checks or cash payments, drastically boosted event revenue. Chapter administrators could easily promote and manage events online with mass emailing and tracking tools, online RSVPs, and the mobile app. In fact, revenue for its three most significant annual events has increased a combined total of more than 247% since 2014.
Increase of Efficiency Leads to Reduction of Cost
Mack-Williams and the executive board of Epsilon Rho Zeta originally chose memberplanet to streamline fundraising for its youth and chapter activities.
“I am always looking for new ways to stay organized, and when I first found memberplanet, that was the driver,” Mack-Williams said. “We have been able to streamline our processes, and this has yielded time savings in both manpower and efficiencies. Having the ability to track payments for individual youth activities and to export those reports for reconciliation was a huge bonus. We recently implemented online registration packets, like our youth application and debutante application, which are completely electronic. This has allowed us to get everything completed in one shot.”
Promoting the chapter’s up to 11 annual fundraising events online has improved the chapter’s reach and member engagement, resulting in both increased collections and reduced costs for the chapter. And memberplanet has allowed the chapter to go completely green for dues, event tickets, and applications.
Improvements in Transparency and Reporting
As Epsilon Rho Zeta’s fundraising initiatives have increased, so has its reporting requirements. At first, the sorority only used the platform for a few events. As it ramped up on activities, administrators also increased their use of memberplanet. Mack-Williams lauds memberplanet for its scalability and credits the support team for getting to know the chapter’s unique needs.
“I believe improved transparency and reporting accuracy have allowed us to track our data more efficiently,” Mack-Williams said. “We are a more agile chapter because of the technology that is at our fingertips at any given moment, and that is satisfaction that you cannot measure in dollars and cents.”
A Closer Look at Epsilon Rho Zeta’s Online Results
An All-in-one, Scalable Fundraising and Membership Solution
The Epsilon Rho Zeta chapter of Zeta Phi Beta implemented memberplanet at the end of December 2013. Since then, the platform has helped the chapter to increase revenues, cut costs, and has provided transparency into its fundraising efforts. The platform’s regular tech upgrades and enhancements have aided the chapter in meeting its increasing needs – and Mack-Williams sees the platform as a toolkit that’s integral to Epsilon Rho Zeta’s continued success and growth.
Contact memberplanet today if you would like to see how the platform can help your organization succeed.
Summer is upon us and so are the great parties and events that come with it! Family reunions, church picnics, and summer camp are all on the horizon. Are you ready for the fun?
If you’re one of the lucky people who’s organizing a big gathering this summer, you know that managing an event can be overwhelming. Even a smaller event like a swim team BBQ can take over your life, but it doesn’t have to. Summer is meant to be relaxing. Let’s keep it that way.
Membership management and event planning can be easy when you make a plan and keep it simple. Here are some tips to help you stay sane, so you can enjoy friends and family this season.
• Create task lists: You can create one large list, or even several small ones, depending on the event. For example, create one list for preparations, one for during the event, and one for after. Or, be really detailed and make a list for communications, on-site management, follow up, etc. Then, assign people to each task and actually let them do it!
• Automate: Set up email reminders, text messages, and social media posts ahead of time. This is an easy way to keep your members involved and interested, but still give you breathing room to handle other more pressing details. Learn more about automating your membership.
• Make it easy to share the experience: Setting up social media pages or accounts for the event is a great way to share the experience in real time and connect with those who can’t be there. Make it easy for members/guests to upload photos to one central place as well. offers event photo sharing, as well as other group management tools.
Save Time on Décor
No one ever said things needed to be complicated to be fun. In fact, the most memorable experiences come from the people there, not the party favors, décor, or even the food! Inexpensive, basic décor can make any gathering festive—no theme required!
• Use balloons: They’re are a low-cost and fun way to spruce things up. Use the colors from your group or cause’s logo to make them more specific or choose random colors for a festive vibe. Kids love them too! Send them home as a party favor.
• Choose white lights: You can use white lights any time of day to dress up your venue. You can create an intimate feel by filling clear vases with them and running them along the table. You could also set a more cheerful tone by stringing numerous stands from the ceiling—instant dance party.
• Add clear vases: They’re probably the most versatile and inexpensive party décor available. Fill them with anything from fresh fruit and local flowers to ribbons won at this year’s swim meets—the possibilities are endless.
You can literally spend days trying to manage the details, décor, and plans for a large summer gathering. But it’s summer! Enjoy yourself, keep it simple, and save your sanity.
Organizing a successful event is never without its challenges. Lucky for you, part of being a group leader means pulling it off without breaking a sweat. Whether you’re thanking existing members, recruiting new ones, or updating your agenda, use an event as a time to showcase your group at its best. Event planning doesn’t have to be stressful. Following a few key steps (and taking a few deep breaths) can make the whole process more enjoyable.
1. Commit to a Committee
Planning an event is much easier if you have a team to support you. If your group doesn’t already have an event committee, consider asking at least one or two people to volunteer. It will allow you to delegate tasks and benefit from the input and expertise of others. Establish a committee in the early stages of planning your event. This way, everyone can be on the same page from day one.
2. Plan Ahead
Depending on the type of event you’re hosting, start planning at least four to six months in advance. If you already know you’ll be doing an annual event, put it on your event committee’s calendar. This will give you time to lock down a venue, a caterer, a keynote speaker, or any details that are critical for your event. Give yourself an adequate buffer between planning and execution. Don’t be afraid to multitask, but anticipate event overlap, so separate committees can work in tandem.
4. Make a Checklist
Once you know why you’re hosting an event, you can start planning everything else. Organization is crucial to making sure the event runs smoothly, so create a checklist before carrying out your plan, and make sure you stick with it. A discussion board can be a valuable tool because it will keep your event committee on track and informed of how plans are progressing.
Here are some basic items to help you start your list:
Creating an event page allows you to post updates and pictures as well as answer questions that guests may have. Increasing communication and member interaction is a great way to build anticipation and boost attendance.
6. Stay Organized
This is the most important thing you can do to avoid mistakes and limit the stress of event planning. Keeping track of RSVPs, their plus-ones, meal selections, food allergies, and add-ons like raffle tickets and more can be a daunting task. Member management software streamlines this by allowing guests to RSVP and purchase tickets online. Event organizers benefit by having all of the necessary information in one location that they can access from virtually anywhere. A month before your event, plan a weekly check-in with your event committee. Increase it to daily check-ins the week before the event ensure that everyone is on the same page.
7. Have Fun!
You’ve worked hard to create the perfect event, and now it’s time to profit from a job well done. Remember to make a plan, set a goal, and stay organized. Most importantly, have fun! The hallmark of a successful event is being able to enjoy yourself alongside your guests.
Our event functionality, donation and email campaign features, discussion boards, and online payment forms make it easy to plan for your entire year. Ready to get going?
The holidays are here! It’s hard to believe that we’re wrapping up 2016. This season is a great time to celebrate with friends and family. Planning celebrations can be overwhelming, but good news is we’re here to help! memberplanet has the tools you need to plan your New Year’s Eve party, or any festivity you choose to celebrate. Let the countdown begin to your next great event.
Less time making an event will result in more fun for you and your guests. We hope you have a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year. Cheers!
Boo! Halloween is just around the corner. memberplanet has everything you need to organize and host a spooktacular event! With memberplanet’s easy-to-use features you can stress less about organizing, and focus on having a ghoulishly good time.
Wickedly Easy RSVPs
Photo Sharing on the World Wide (Spider) Web
Creepy Crawly Travel
Deviously Delicious Potluck Signup
Frightfully Boo-tiful Templates