07 Sep 12 Steps to Planning a Successful Church Event
Need a little help thinking through an upcoming event? No worries. We’ve got you covered.
Here are 12 surefire steps to ensuring that your next big event is an even bigger success.
1.) Start planning early.
When possible, start planning at least six months ahead of time. Families are busy, and venues are in high demand. Presenters, entertainers, and volunteers often book way out.
So get your planning team together and set up a kick-off meeting. The earlier, the better.
2.) Define your church event goals.
You may think that an event like a concert has no goals except entertainment and fellowship. But that isn’t true, as even entertainment events need attendance and sometimes revenue to cover costs. You might also have more specific goals, such as reaching more young families or better connecting older members.
So, make sure you define the purposes of your event. Is it to simply bring as many members of the community together as possible? If so, what is a realistic but still fairly aggressive attendance goal given the size of your congregation and community?
Or maybe you’re putting on an event to fundraise. If so, what is your donations goal? $500? $5,000? $50,000?
Make sure that your goals are measurable. If you can’t accurately measure the results of your goals, then you won’t be able to see what needs improvement the next time around.
3.) Make a budget for your church event.
Creating a budget and sticking to it can be a challenging task, especially for a larger event.
However, creating a budget is a MUST early on in the planning process.
This is especially true if you’re trying to fundraise. You can’t spend more than you bring in!
Allocate budget categories based on importance to your goals. If a certain entertainer or speaker will be the centerpiece of the event, for example, build that into your budget first. Plan to spend less money on less-critical items. Creating a budget will help you focus on bringing the right attractions and features to your event while whittling down or cutting out the unnecessary stuff.
Unless you’re seasoned event planners, your planning team probably won’t be able to estimate every cost accurately. That’s OK—just put down your best-educated guesses. Then assign team members action items to look into and refine each cost.
4.) Pick a date for your church event.
While you might have the perfect date in mind—perhaps a certain Saturday afternoon or a Friday evening— come up with some alternate dates as well because the venues and leaders you’re considering may already be booked for your first-choice date.
5.) Choose a venue.
Make sure that the venue is large enough. Don’t book a site based on how many people you think will show up. Instead, consider how many people you’re inviting or will hear about the event. That way, you won’t run the risk of overcrowding if more people show up than originally expected.
Photos of venues online can be deceiving, so while looking for the perfect spot to host your event, go check it out in person before you pay for it. Read reviews, too. This will give you an idea of how well a specific venue might work for you.
Always be hesitant to book a location if you feel like the managers are being dishonest or not sharing everything, or if you notice bad reviews.
6.) Book your church event speakers or entertainers ASAP.
The most coveted presenters have busy schedules that may extend months out (if not an entire year or more). So, if there’s a speaker or entertainer you want to feature at your event, make sure you contact them far in advance.
The same goes for other types of entertainment. If you want to hold a church carnival and carnival booths will be a centerpiece of the event, for example, secure a vendor right away. If it’s a dance and you’ll need a DJ, find and book the DJ now.
7.) Look for church event sponsors.
Maybe you planned on having your church be the sole sponsor for the event. But it wouldn’t hurt to think about finding other sponsors or seeing if someone would like to donate catering or equipment for your event, especially if it’s for a good cause.
The best way to find a potential sponsor is to research events that were similar to yours and find out if they had any sponsors. Your members may also own or work for businesses that would be willing to donate goods or services. Make sure that you compile a list of potential sponsors just in case your first few options don’t work out.
8.) Build a website, webpage, or app for your church event.
For large events, creating a website—and even an app—is something you should consider.
A website or webpage will store all the event details in one easy-to-find place online. People can share the link with one another, and you can feature the link on all your social-media promotions.
Not only is an event app a great way to promote your event, but you can also use the app to communicate with people who plan to attend (about the schedule, parking, any changes in plans, etc.) and disseminate and keep track of e-tickets. Your volunteers can then use the app to scan tickets at the entry point.
9.) Promote your church event.
Start promoting your event as soon as possible.
Social media is a great place to drum up some excitement and gain momentum leading up to your event. In addition to posting organically on your social accounts, you can also try paid posts to reach a broader audience. For more information on promoting your event on social media, check out this helpful resource.
If you have an email list of church members, create a series of emails to send at regular intervals. Using Google Ads to find potential event attendees online is another good idea.
And don’t forget to hang physical banners announcing the event. Go big and bold!
10.) For fundraising events, make sure you’re providing opportunities to maximize donations.
If you’re holding a fundraiser, it’s essential to create ways to acquire as many donations as possible. While you could simply place a donation box by the entrance and hope that people will take the time to drop in cash, there is a much more effective way to fundraise at an event.
Here at mobileAxept, we’ve transformed the way churches fundraise. Our GiveNow software allows event attendees to give via text or by scanning a barcode you display prominently. For information on how these solutions can help you reach your event’s fundraising goal, contact us today by calling 888-500-1997!
11.) Push your remarketing strategy one week before your church event.
To complement your initial promotions strategy for your event, you should also put in place a remarketing strategy. The goal here is to drum up some last-minute interest or sell those final tickets, as well as remind those who maybe forgot.
Your remarketing can take many forms, ranging from sending out another email to more social posts and ads. Or, if the event is small, just reminding people through your weekly church newsletters and services might suffice.
12.) Set up for the event the day before.
Get your event venue set up a day early. That way, while you’re arranging everything from your A/V equipment to tables and chairs, you’ll see if there are any quick changes you need to make.
For example, if you realize you don’t have enough chairs, you’ll still have ample time to get some before the next day. Or, if you’re doing a mic check and notice that one of them isn’t functioning properly, you can find a replacement mic in time.
When the event day rolls around, you’ll finally get to enjoy all the hard work you and your team have put into preparing for it! Don’t forget to have fun. You definitely deserve it!