- ENVISION the vibe, attendance, and accomplishments of the event with your team and partners. What information do you want people to walk away with? Is there a theme that can help emphasize this?
- BRAINSTORM LOGISTICS on speakers, entertainment, invitees, location, decor, etc. to reach that vision keeping in mind a realistic budget and/or fundraising goals. Use your partnerships to secure donated location, food and entertainment, and demonstrate commitment impact by making everything eco-friendly and local. Stay organized using a shared event planning document that tracks your logistics, budget and outreach.
- RECRUIT FABULOUS SPEAKERS to motivate and educate your audience. Big names in local government, philanthropy and business draw attendees, give credibility to your initiative and deepen partnerships with these leaders and entitites. Be sure these folks are not just well-known but can make a point about the importance of this effort in an engaging and entertaining way. Plan to speak first or second so the initiative has a face and you can thank partners and cover any points that your speakers aren't. Either you or one of your partners can be in charge of the welcome and thanking sponsors and attendees. A week prior to the event make sure you send proposed talking points to your speakers and ask them to respond with any other topics they plan to cover.
- ADVERTISE the event by creating an event webpage and flyerwith a catchy event title and brief advertising language that can be emailed to individuals, distributed through partners' mailing lists, and printed for strategic locations. Reaching out to established local print and online media is another important promotion effort that increases legitimacy as well as wider public attention: send a ______you've written around to local papers and websites __ weeks prior to the event, follow that with a press release the day before the event, and an article with catchy photos the day after. These efforts go a lot further if you've met with an editor, journalist or columnist at the publication a couple of weeks prior to the event.
- PREPARE in a detailed way the agenda, registration, speakers, physical setup, food delivery, a slideshow and other technical aspects. Have everything polished and printed for two days prior to the event so you can do a run through. The best event is a smooth one with no noticeable hiccups which will help foster a reputation for professionalism, organization and efficacy. You can get more bang for your buck by taking the extra steps to equip partners, speakers, volunteers and staff with talking points on the initiativea couple of days prior to the event and with printed handouts at the event. These will help increase the number of voices that can explain to guests the impact economy, other new terms, and some of the highlights uncovered in the research.
- ENJOY the event and talk to as many people as possible! Having the right number of staff and volunteers trained ahead of time will free you up from managing the event in order to be more effective at working the room. Bringing them onstage to present the charter can emphasize the impressiveness of collective impact and build confidence in your audience by demonstrating the trust these partners have in you. Don't forget to capture a celebratory photo of the steering committee to market the initiative to new partners and use on future media!
- FOLLOW UP with new and existing partners just a few days after the event while they are energized with the event's success to thank them and invite them to an upcoming committee meeting to discuss ideas on starting the Strategic Action Planning process. Don't forget to share the event's attendance, press and key talking points with any key funders or sponsors as well as on your own social media and website!
- PAT YOURSELF ON THE BACK - good job! We know that was a lot of work, but your community is really going to grow from it.
How To Throw A Launch Party ∇