10 Steps to Plan a Successful Community Event

How to plan an event

You’re planning an event for your homeowner (HOA) or community association. Congratulations! After the initial excitement comes growing panic, right? Well, not necessarily. Bringing your community together for a holiday party or BBQ can be fun in every way – including the planning.

These simple steps will help you achieve success in your association event planning. Before getting started, check your association’s governing documents to ensure expenditures for social events are permitted: 

  1. Start with the basics. Name your event and secure the date and time. Identify and plan the proper budget and the total number of expected guests. Think about how you’ll market your event (social media, flyers, eBlasts, or word of mouth) within your HOA or community association. This information will help you work through the following steps. 

  2. Get your vendors going. Secure contracts with the service providers who will make it happen. Confirm that they are available on the day of your event and confirm costs to ensure you stay within budget. Re-confirm their arrival times and responsibilities a week before your event so you’re not surprised by something unexpected. 

  3. Ask for help. Volunteers are the soul of a successful event, so don’t be afraid to ask. Start rounding them up early, and assign them specific tasks before the event itself. That way if they have questions or concerns about their duties you can address them beforehand. 

  4. Make a list of set-up needs. You may find there are items that aren’t covered by your vendors or volunteers. This step will help you uncover gaps in your delegated tasks and plan accordingly.

  5. Do what you can ahead of time. Many of your set-up responsibilities can be handled beforehand. The last thing you want to do is to try to set up the entire event the day of. There just aren’t enough hours in the day!

  6. Do your last-minute shopping. Some items need to be purchased right before the event, particularly perishable food. Again, determine what these items are, and schedule shopping so that it’s efficient and comprehensive. After all, it’s perfectly natural to feel a little stress here – some professional party planners find the last-minute rush to actually be exhilarating. 

  7. Get there early. You’re the person who’s spearheading the entire affair, so getting there early will help you organize the troops in case something unexpected arises. 

  8. Have fun! Too many times, the person who plans the event enjoys it the least. Remember to mix, mingle and interact with your guests. This is your chance to enjoy the fruits of all your hard work. 

  9. Follow-up. Sending a survey afterward to guests and vendors can help you gather valuable feedback that will inform – and enhance – your next HOA or community association event. 

  10. Send thank-you notes. This is almost a lost art, but a handwritten thank-you note (mailed, please) is still the most genuine way of expressing gratitude to your vendors and donors. Remember, an event isn’t about the singular experience; it’s about fostering ongoing relationships.

While planning even a modest get-together can cause stress, following these steps should minimize your anxiety – and maximize your fun. After all, the most essential part of any event is enjoyment, and that goes for you as much as it does your guests. For more helpful information, contact FirstService Residential