On this week’s #whatworkedwednesday, I have events on my mind. It is that time of year when you cannot look at your inbox without seeing an invitation to something. Having planned and implemented many events of all shapes and sizes over my years of non-profit work, I have a few favorite tips/lessons learned to share with you.

you-are-invitedIn no particular order:

1. Never Dine Alone: When an event has food, especially when it is a buffet/unassigned seating, I ask that my team take their food last and be sure to find that one (or more) guests who are dining alone and sit with them. It is a great way to make someone feel welcome at your event, and also showcase the amazing talent in your organization.

2. Branding in the Bathroom?: This is not my tip, but one I recently heard that the Birthright Israel Foundation did at their gala, and I WISH I had thought of it. Using window decals, like the ones that stores use to temporarily advertise a sale or your alma mater has you place in your car window, create and hang them on the bathroom mirrors of an event venue to share your social media coordinates. Vistaprint makes high-quality, custom clings for a great price.

3. Less is More: I once had a gala, where the number one compliment from guests on the way out of the door was, “This event was amazing; so short and powerful.” Sure enough, rather than trying to pacfullsizeoutput_2627k into one evening more than a week’s worth of entertainment, honors, food, and glam, we went with simplicity. There were heavy hors d’oeuvres over an extended cocktail hour and then seated dessert. The program was short but powerful and guests were in out and in record time and seemed to really appreciate our respect for their time.

4. Save Their Place: I recently did an event where the gift for the guests was a book. In the past, I had done branded bookplates detailing the occasion and the mission of the client.  This time, my client had a great idea; branded bookmarks. I love what we ended up ordering! It felt high quality and would surely be re-used by our attendees.

5. Never Skip Dessert: At this same event, we had the most delicious buffet, centered around “build your own grain bowls.” It was healthy and filling and met the many dietary needs of the attendees. After that meal, we had a savory afternoon snack on a break in the programming. Somehow, in the menu planning stage, I had forgotten to add something sweet. Sure enough, during the last session of the conference, the complaint came in. “Where are the sweets? Is there chocolate?” The event had top notch speakers, a great venue, meaningful content, but it did not have sweets, and that would likely be something that the guests remembered, hopefully not the only thing! #sweettooth #lessonlearned

That’s all for this week. Hope these were helpful.  As always, please let me know #whatworkedwednesday topics you are thinking about and we can all share your experiences.