During my time as an events intern for The Castle Group, I was fortunate to be able to learn from some of the best event professionals in the business. I am now able to apply what I have learned to other aspects of my life. I, along with the other captains of the Bentley Women’s Soccer team, Jenny Lewis, Ana Tantum and Haley Story, have been tasked with planning our team’s annual cancer awareness game. In the past we have kept it simple and sold T-Shirts, donating the profits to the charity of our choice. This year, to amplify our event, we decided to set our goals a little higher and partner with a wonderful charity called Family Reach. With the help of Family Reach and the experts at Castle, we have developed a truly exciting event. I have learned many lessons along the way and have decided to share five tips to planning a non-profit university event.
1. Always be aware of, and follow the procedures of the university – Universities often have a series of procedures that need to be followed when planning an event on campus. It can be easy to get caught up in the smaller details and forget about the big picture. I worked with my head coach, Lauren Lukis, and Bentley’s NCAA Compliance Director, Cindy Scott, to make sure that everything we were doing and the money we raised for Family Reach wouldn’t jeopardize the eligibility of the soccer program or my teammates in any way.
2. Focus Your Efforts – Brainstorming is a great way to get ideas, but don’t try to do too much. Focus your efforts and don’t overwhelm your audience with too many different initiatives. Place your energy on ideas that will make the biggest impact.
3. Enlist help to recruit student attendance – It can be tough to get a significant number of students to attend a non-major sporting event such as a women’s soccer game. I reached out to Courtney Finn, who is in charge of the Bentley University Athletics Marketing team, and asked for her help in spreading the word about the event. Never be afraid to reach out and ask for help from the faculty and staff at the university. They are there to help and are always happy to assist in any way they can. Students may not have the discretionary income to make an impact through monetary donations but don’t underestimate the power of awareness. Once a student develops a loyalty towards the charity, they can spread the mission to their friends and family.
4. Delegate – There are a lot of steps necessary to execute a successful event; don’t be afraid to ask for help from your peers. My fellow captains have been a huge help in the planning process. Together we can make better decisions and cover more ground than I would be able to on my own. Remember to delegate the tasks that need to be completed and trust your friends and colleagues to follow through. By getting more people involved, not only can you can brainstorm more ideas and bounce concepts off each other, you will also have a higher quality event in the end.
5. Don’t Forget the Mission – While planning an event, it can be easy to get caught up in the logistics and forget about the cause you are trying to support. Always remember to set achievable goals and establish how your success will be measured. This can be a specific audience number or a monetary goal you would like to reach. When deciding how ambitious your goals should be, aim for things that are realistic to attain given your circumstances. Always remember that you are planning the event to help a charity, so don’t overwhelm their message with games, T-shirts and giveaways. Make sure that the focus is always on the charity; your initiatives are meant to support their mission, not overshadow it.
I am so thankful to The Castle Group for everything they have done to support my efforts in planning my first event. Family Reach is a great cause, and my team is beyond excited to be able to make a difference in our community. I encourage anyone and everyone to get involved in our event, which will be hosted at 11:00a.m on October 1st, 2016 at the Bentley University Soccer Field.