Property event ideas for your community can be as simple as a barbecue.If you’ve been tasked with planning property event ideas for your community or condo association, have no fear. We’re here to help! While the task may seem daunting - after all, event planning can entail a lot - it can also be fun. First things first, make sure your association’s governing documents permit expenditures for social events. If they do, follow these simple steps and you’ll be well on your way to planning a successful event for your community.

1. Start with the basics.

To start, you’ll want to name your event and secure a date and time. Oftentimes, the time of year you chose to have your event can help you decide on a theme. In October, for example, everyone is gearing up for Halloween, so you may want to consider having a murder mystery themed dinner. Once you’ve selected a date, time and name for your event, you need to determine your budget and the number of expected guests. If you have a limited budget, you may be able to find a vendor who is willing to sponsor the event. In exchange, you would simply provide them with the opportunity to speak to their residents about their service or product. Give some thought to how you will promote the event to your community association members - flyers, social media, word of mouth, etc. Once you’ve established these basics, you can work through the following steps of planning your property event ideas.

2. Ask for help.

Solicit the help of association members who would like to volunteer their time and talents to the event. Volunteers are the heart and soul of any event, so don’t be afraid to ask for their help. Start rounding them up early in the planning process, and assign them specific tasks both before and during the event. That way if anyone has any questions or concerns about their specific duties, they have plenty of time to ask for clarification before the big day.

3. Line up your vendors.

Secure the vendors you will need to make the event happen and make sure contracts are signed and expectations are clearly outlined. Be sure to involve your attorney in preparing or reviewing any contracts and your insurance agent to ensure you have the necessary coverage. Before committing to a vendor, you will want to confirm their availability on the day of your event and their fee to ensure that they are within your budget. A week before the event, make sure to re-confirm their responsibilities and arrival times so that you do not have any surprises on event day. It is also a good idea to include a map that lays out where the event will take place, and where each vendor will be. This will significantly reduce last minute questions the day of the event, when things tend to get more hectic.Having these details ironed out is essential for any property event ideas.Once you have vendor stations lined up, you can also assign volunteers to each station.

4. Make a list of set-up needs.

You may find that there are items that need handling that are not covered by your vendors or volunteers. Creating a list of all of your needs - and who is responsible for what - will help you uncover gaps in your delegated tasks and allow you to plan accordingly.

5. Do as much as you can ahead of time.

Unless absolutely necessary, you want to avoid having to set-up your entire event the day of. Scan your set-up list and determine what can be done ahead of time. This will make event day set up a lot less stressful.

6. Do your last-minute shopping.

As with any event, some items will have to be purchased right before the event, such as perishable food. Determine what those items are beforehand, and set up a schedule so that your shopping is done as efficiently as possible. If you’re feeling a little stressed at this point, it is normal. Many professional party planners say it is perfectly natural to feel stressed during the last-minute rush, but it can also be exhilarating.

7. Arrive early.

It is almost a given that issues will arise on event day. As the person spearheading the event, you will want to arrive early to not only organize your troops, but also to allow yourself plenty of time to address any unexpected issues.

8. Have fun!

 Make time to mix and mingle with your guests, ask them what they think about the event, and try to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

9. Follow-up after the event.

Following the event, send a short survey to guests and vendors asking them what they thought. This will help you gather valuable information that will inform and enhance your future events. You also want to have a wrap-up meeting with your staff and volunteers to ask for feedback on what worked and what didn’t. Vendors and sponsors can also be a great source of feedback.

10. Send thank-you notes.

While handwritten thank-you notes are quickly becoming a lost art, they are still seen as the most genuine way to express gratitude to your vendors and donors. The key is to remember that an event is not about the single experience, but about fostering an ongoing relationship. Sending thank you notes is one way to do so. And for the technologically savvy residents, post pictures of the event on Facebook or other social media sites. Your residents will love it!

Planning even the most modest get-together can cause its fair share of stress, but if you follow these 10 steps, you can minimize your anxiety while maximizing your fun. After all, the point of any event is to have a good time, and that goes for you as much as it does for your guests. For more information on planning a successful property event ideas for your community, contact FirstService Residential, Florida’s leading association management company.
Monday December 19, 2016