Ideas for making your next community group event an awesome success

Read on when you find yourself asking the question, what more could be done to make our community events more awesome.

As part of a thriving community group, we can make a big difference with helping to get things going by guiding formative discussions, always listening and looking for opportunities to involve people.

In the workshop we share ideas and discuss the importance of getting the team involved early, sharing ideas for collaborative planning and the importance of an approach that ensures that everyone is always smiling.

Read on for workshop transcript, ideas, example planner and comments - share a comment and help make an awesome list of inspiring ideas for us to all learn from.


Have you ever been there?

The guest speakers, pizza and drinks are all ready. In the next 15-minutes everyone that has RSVPed should be flooding in the door. The event is about to start. But right now you are looking at an empty room ...

In that 15-minutes before the event starts and you find yourself asking - what more could I have done. Well, when that happens it is best to rephrase the question and ask - what more could we all have done.

🧐  TAKEAWAY - change the "I" to a "WE".

Ideas about starting with the team

Be prepared to be flexible, because it is about listening to and involving people.
  1. Have a rough idea about why - you should have an idea about how the purpose of your event and how you are going to make it happen.
  2. Start with a very high level plan - don’t overthink what others are thinking.
  3. Share your thoughts and ideas, and then move on - ask for feedback, adjust and be prepared to bring people’s ideas into the plan because this will encourage involvement.

🧐  TAKEAWAY - you are not going to want any surprises, so make sure people are onboard.

Ideas about together making a difference

Remember that as more people become involved they start owning the project and this is good because their early involvement will inspire others.
  1. When getting started a shared purpose is important - don’t rush it, get collaborative input from everyone.
  2. Be ready for a couple of false starts - to help with this initial discussion ask people to share what they want and don’t get put off with a couple of false starts.

🧐  TAKEAWAY - make sure everyone is committed to the same outcome.

Ideas about always be ready to share

Promoting is about involving others.
  1. Promoting is how people get involved - promoting is how the event is going to be shared and through a word of mouth campaign gives an opportunity for more people to become involved.
  2. Personal one-on-one make a difference - ask everyone to reach out to their networks and make personalised one-on-one contacts for the event.
  3. Look for influencing opportunities - be an influencer and look for every opportunity to encourage the team to be asking others to become involved to help share the event.

🧐  TAKEAWAY - always be looking for opportunities to ask people to opt-in to this and other similar events that you are hosting.

Ideas about always smiling

About smiling, it is obvious about how you feel when you are smiling.

Don’t go through the entire process worried about something going wrong because most likely something will. Having a well thought out plan that is going to minimise surprises gives you the time to work through things as they arise. If you are unable to smile throughout the process then it will show and you will find that nobody wants to be associated with something that is obviously unpleasant and painful.

  1. Be ready to try new things - remember that nothing great will happen overnight, and that trying new things is about how you find your way to success.

🧐  TAKEAWAY - smile because opportunities are just waiting to happen.

Ideas about sharing the plan

When people are involved, then the event will a success.
  1. Get everyone involved - there is always something in the event planner that everyone can help with including organising content, promoting, venue/refreshment sponsors, co-ordination of agendas, audio-visuals, financials, RSVP management and all the other stuff that needs to be done to make the event work.
  2. Have an agenda or run sheet - make sure that everyone knows what they need to do.
  3. Don't try and do it all yourself - have someone MCing, another person organised to ensure that people are greeted/seated, someone else watching the online recording and managing online realtime chat and social shares as required, etc.

🧐  TAKEAWAY -  delegation can only happen when you have people on the event project team that are interested and invested in the outcome, if you are finding that you cannot delegate involvement then revisit the purpose and make sure everyone is on the same page.

Example event planner

As a guide ensure that your event planner covers the following opportunities for engagement.
  1. Shares purpose - e.g. the purpose of the event is to ... .
  2. Defines audience - e.g. the audience of the event planner is everyone responsible for making the event a success.
  3. Shares contact details - make it easy for people to email and phone each other.
  4. Social media sharing - instructions and suggestions for how to share the event via email, using messenger apps, with social media and on the phone.
  5. Event organisation plan - following is a high level example of tasks required in the online event plan.
Item Task Responsible Required Status
1 Availability of venue or online video meeting app
2 Suitable a suitable date and time
3 Presentation of awesome and interesting content
4 Event agenda or run sheet organised
5 Event MC
6 Instructions for sharing the event on-on-one
7 Instructions for sharing the event on social media
8 Event sponsorship
9 Emails list for future events

🧐  IMPORTANT - these tasks are only the high level items on an event plan and as you work through the process of organising an event you will find much more happens with preparation beforehand.


For your next in-person or online event - what is your rough idea about why the event is awesome and interesting and how are you going to make it happen?

Comment and share in as few as words as possible.